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Coronavirus: Toronto realtor shows home with tenants inside who have COVID-19

Click to play video 'Agent shows Toronto home with COVID-19-positive residents inside' Agent shows Toronto home with COVID-19-positive residents inside
WATCH ABOVE: A real estate agent showed a Toronto home to about 20 potential buyers even though there three people inside were in self-quarantine for COVID-19. Sean O’Shea reports. – Jan 22, 2021

The East York bungalow had barely hit the real estate market when as many as 20 potential buyers showed up for a walk-through, but what they likely didn’t know is that three occupants renting the lower floor were in quarantine for COVID-19.

“It’s disgusting and it’s unbelievable,” said Ward 19 Beaches-East York Coun. Brad Bradford in an interview with Global News.

According to neighbours, three family members renting the basement apartment have been in self-isolation for almost two weeks.

The Govin family, who live across the street, were helping the quarantining trio by delivering groceries because, by law, those in isolation can’t go outside.

READ MORE: Real estate market in Ontario’s cottage country experiencing boom

But to the Govins’ surprise, the homeowner listed the house for sale and a real estate agent spent Thursday showing the property to several small groups who were interested.

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“Some had to be in their 70s or 80s, it was terrible,” said Rick Govin.

Govin said he approached the real estate agent in his car and made sure he knew residents inside were in isolation.

“He didn’t seem to care,” Govin said, adding he later called the City of Toronto’s 311 number to complain.

The home was listed by Arifur Shohel, a sales representative with HomeLife Miracle Realty Ltd.

Several calls and messages to Shohel were not returned at the time of publication. Shortly after calls from Global News, the home was taken off the market.

“If the realtor knows and he’s not telling anyone going into the house (about COVID-19 residents), those people are going in thinking they’re safe,” said Amanda Govin.

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Amanda said she was told by the tenants that they were advised to remain together in a single room when clients were allowed into the home.

Read more: Hamilton-Burlington real estate remains active during coronavirus lockdown

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board told Global News “showings by appointment is permitted under provincial rules to remain functional” during the state of emergency, lockdown and stay-at-home order. But there are strict rules governing how brokers and agents must conduct business.

“One thing is certain, if realtors, their clients, or any consumer is displaying symptoms related to COVID-19, they cannot proceed in a way that may endanger others. They are obligated to refuse showings to clients,” the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board said.

The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), which regulates the province’s real estate industry, said salespersons and brokerages are advised to follow safety guidelines set out by public health departments.

“These allegations are concerning and RECO would like to be provided with the names of the brokerages and salespersons,” said Jennifer McCrindle, the council’s senior communications officer.

READ MORE: Ontario realtors offer tips on how to get your house ready for sale

Dr. Vinita Dubey, the associate medical officer of health for Toronto, said in an email to Global News that occupants of a home with confirmed cases of COVID-19 should not leave unless they need medical attention.

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“They should not have visitors,” she wrote in an email.

That fact should be common knowledge at this point, said Bradford.

“The sheer stupidity is actually beyond belief,” he said.

— With files from Caryn Lieberman

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