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COVID-19

**Above all else, please follow the guidance of health authorities**

AIC Statement on Vaccines and Ongoing Pandemic

This page is updated frequently, please check back regularly.

Communiqués

FAQCOVID-19

1. COVID-19 National, Provincial and Municipal Government Information

For the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic and the latest Public Health Advisories (PHAs) check:

First and foremost, adhere to national, provincial, regional, and municipal Public Health Advisories (PHAs) to protect your and your family’s health.  Your personal circumstances will dictate the level of risk of potential exposure to COVID-19 you are willing or able to assume.  This will protect you, your family and your clients, owners and the occupants.

 

Also see Link to General FAQ 3.

2. My Provincial Government is changing some restrictions. What does this mean for me and my business?

Above all else, follow national, provincial, regional, and municipal Public Health Advisories (PHA) about protecting yourself and your family from contracting or spreading COVID-19, keeping in mind your personal circumstances. 

The Government of Canada’s webpage and your provincial, regional, and municipal webpages have the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic and provide the latest PHAs on physical distancing, Personal Protective Equipment, non-surgical mask use, hand hygiene, cleaning of surfaces, etc. 

The receptiveness to personal interior inspections will vary from region to region depending on restrictions in place.  Contact both your client (lender, broker, AMC, etc.) and the occupants of the property to determine their comfort level for personal interior inspection before deciding on the extent of your inspection.  

If, for whatever reason, a personal interior inspection is not possible or appropriate, you may need to explain alternatives to a personal interior inspection to your client.

A full appraisal, with a personal interior inspection completed by an AIC Member, will always be the most accurate method for recording the characteristics of a property to complete an appraisal assignment.

AIC Members are reminded that the AIC Professional Liability Insurance Program does not cover claims related to the transmission or contraction of COVID-19 in the performance of a professional service.

 

3. What message about Value do I communicate to Clients during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The AIC recommends communicating to your Clients that there may be valuation (Market Value/Market Rent, etc.) uncertainty in the market related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected local and global markets.  Some areas of the real estate industry have experienced fluctuations and have recovered to a degree while others continue to face uncertainty.  It is prudent to make your clients aware of any lingering market uncertainty.

  • For current market value assignments, Members must use available current, market-specific information as a basis for value opinions unless current data is not available. 
  • For pre-COVID retrospective appraisals, Members typically would not use current market information or include messaging around uncertainty. The identified effective date will determine both the market data as well as the messaging required in completing the point-in-time appraisal assignment.
  • For relocation, prospective appraisals, and income-producing properties that use discounting of future income; Members should explain the choice of information and value uncertainty fully in a report.

Estimates of value and opinions should be reported along with full disclosure of any uncertainty present in your market sector and geographical region.  

The AIC recommends advising clients:

  • that both less certainty and a higher degree of caution may need to be applied to a valuation during a crisis like the COVID pandemic than in stable market conditions.    
  • that values can change quickly and more often during a crisis like the COVID pandemic than under more typical market conditions.   
  • to revisit property values more often if they need to better understand the impact of changing markets

Some clients may be comfortable taking greater risks during times of crisis/uncertainty – your expertise will be valuable to them by providing:

  • discussions of different scenarios
  • modelling of outcomes
  • identification of potential future risks and opportunities

If the situation requires, you may consider including the text for a letter of transmittal and the text for Extraordinary Limiting Conditions and Extraordinary Assumptions found in the General Reporting FAQs.

4. COVID-19 and Fraud

During a national crisis like the COVID pandemic, fraudsters will be looking for opportunities to profit from consumers’ and business’ fears, uncertainties and misinformation.  Others may simply be driven to act in a fraudulent manner out of financial desperation.  Regardless of the motivation, members should be on guard to avoid being drawn into a scam.

A personal interior inspection is one way that an AIC member can help to protect themselves, clients and the public from fraudulent activities.  An exterior inspection can confirm the property actually exists, but it cannot reveal the condition of the interior of the property. When using owner or occupant-supplied photos, a best practice is to ensure photos are time-stamped and geo-tagged.

Taking steps to safeguard appraisals from fraud by protecting your reports and your digital signature is another way to guard against fraud.  See Digital Signature and Fraud for information.

If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud or that fraudulent activities are occurring, you may wish to contact Professional Practice and the appropriate authorities:

Canada Anti-Fraud Centre (RCMP): https://antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/

Government of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/finance/fraud.html

Competition Bureau: https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04339.html

The Canada Anti-Fraud Centre provides these examples of what to watch for:

https://antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/features-vedette/2020/covid-19-eng.htm

FINTRAC

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) is Canada’s financial intelligence unit. Its mandate is to facilitate the detection, prevention and deterrence of money laundering (including via real estate transactions) and the financing of terrorist activities, while ensuring the protection of personal information under its control.

Some real estate representatives are required to report suspicious transactions to the authorities.  If you have reasonable grounds to suspect a real estate transaction is being used to launder money, contact FINTRAC here: https://www.fintrac-canafe.gc.ca/contact-contactez/1-eng

FAQ – GENERAL REPORTING

Introduction

The pandemic has affected every AIC Member.  The greatest impact perhaps being felt by Members performing traditional residential appraisals with a personal interior inspection hosted by a property owner/occupant.   

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Members can find guidance on:

  • Extraordinary Limiting Conditions, Extraordinary Assumptions, and Communicating with your client:
  • onsite inspections, alternatives to onsite inspections, onsite inspections of vacant property
  • using technology to do your part to prevent the spread
1. What Limiting Conditions can I add to a report to address the COVID-19 pandemic?

When the situation warrants, you may wish to Insert this type of language on Letters of Transmittal, in Extraordinary Items, and wherever you enter a value

Members are cautioned to consider the situation surrounding each report carefully and on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the stability of market conditions in your area. 

The example clause below is meant only for those situations where the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to destabilize a market.  Where a market has rebounded or stabilized, this clause may not be appropriate.

Values and opinions contained in this report are based on market conditions as of the effective date of this report. This point-in-time valuation assignment does not provide a prediction of future values. In the event of market instability and/or disruption, values and opinions may change rapidly and as a result, potential future events have NOT been considered in this report. As this report does not and cannot consider any changes to the property or market conditions after the effective date; clients and intended users are cautioned in relying on the report after the effective date noted herein.

Remember that for relocation, prospective appraisals, and income-producing properties using discounting of future income, Members should consider market conditions which may include foreseeable future events.

2. What Limiting Conditions and Extraordinary Assumptions should I add to my reports to address reports where circumstances prevent a personal interior inspection?

When the situation warrants, you may wish to insert this language on Letters of Transmittal, in Extraordinary Items, and wherever you enter a value:

Extraordinary Limiting Condition :Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the [PROVINCIAL/LOCAL] health authorities have [ADVISED/MANDATED] limited exposure to or contact with other people.  Entering properties for personal inspection purposes is contrary to health authority advice and is not possible at this time.  This assignment was completed without physical access to the interior of this property.  Property details have been identified and collected through other means as noted [BELOW/IN THE SCOPE] this report.

Extraordinary Assumption Because of the inability to access and personally inspect the interior of this property, information and details concerning the interior finishing, quality and condition are taken from sources deemed reliable [AS DESCRIBED IN THE SCOPE SECTION OF THIS REPORT].  If any of these details are subsequently determined to be inaccurate, the appraiser reserves the right to amend the report and the value herein.

3. What are AIC protocols for inspections?

Inspection protocols vary by municipality, region, Province, property type, assignment, as well as your personal health circumstances and that of, the occupant of a property and your client.  As a result, a one-size-fits-all inspection protocol cannot be applied to all members and all properties across Canada. 

The Government of Canada, your provincial, regional and municipal webpages have the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic and provide the latest Public Health Advisories on physical distancing, Personal Protective Equipment, non-surgical mask use, hand hygiene, cleaning of surfaces, etc.

If you have determined that a personal interior inspection in addition to an exterior inspection is safe and appropriate, when entering the property, follow local Public Health Authorities’ directives related to:

  • use of Personal Protective Equipment
  • avoiding high touch areas
    • providing pre-inspection instructions to owners/occupants such as opening all interior doors and closets and panels, turning lights on upon your arrival to minimize surface transfer
  • physical distancing

Members are reminded that the AIC Professional Liability Insurance Program does not cover claims related to COVID-19 transmission while performing a professional service.

4. Can I complete a report without a personal interior inspection? What should I add to or change in a report?

Yes, but CUSPAP requires the inclusion of an Extraordinary Limiting Condition if a personal interior inspection of a subject property is not performed.

Before invoking an Extraordinary Limiting Condition, a Member must determine that the Scope of Work will result in analyses, opinions and conclusions that are credible and will not be misleading to the reader. 

When you have relied upon photographs supplied by an owner or occupant of the property, Extraordinary Assumption should be included in the Report. 

When using owner/occupant-supplied photos, ensure that they are both time-stamped and geo-tagged.

A member must include explanations and justifications for using Extraordinary Limiting Conditions and Extraordinary Assumptions in a Report.

Anywhere an opinion of value or an opinion on the completeness is stated in a report:

  • the Extraordinary Assumptions must be stated in their entirety, or
  • a reference to their exact location in the report must be provided. 

  • Providing a Range of Values in a Full Report

CUSPAP permits the provision of single point estimates of value, directions in value, or ranges of value for Real Property Appraisals as well as Machinery and Equipment Appraisals.  In a situation where a personal interior inspection is not possible and the member relies upon information provided by other sources to develop an estimate of value, the member is advised to consider the possibility of providing a range of values estimate. 

  • Letters of Transmittal:
  • It should be clearly stated in a Letter of Transmittal:
    • that the property was NOT personally inspected or
    • to what extent the property WAS inspected (e.g. only the exterior was inspected)
  • It should be clearly stated in the Letter of Transmittal and the Report:
    • why the property was not personally inspected, and
    • who directed the Member not to inspect the property, if applicable, and
    • the source of any photographs of the property (interior or exterior) used in the report

Scope of Work

  • The Scope of work must be clearly stated in the Report
  • AIC 0518 Full Residential Appraisal Form, Scope item #2 referencing a “site visit and observation…” must be addressed
5. During the COVID-19 pandemic, are there alternative ways to obtain information on a property if circumstances prevent the performance of a personal interior inspection?

Above all, members should follow the guidance and advisories of Public Health Authorities (PHAs) when considering the safety of conducting a personal interior inspection.   

Full/Modified Appraisal without a personal interior inspection:

While the most reliable report has an AIC Designated or Candidate Member complete a full personal interior inspection, if circumstances prevent this, you can discuss the following alternatives with your client:

  • A limited personal interior inspection (when occupants are home and physical distancing is not possible)
  • A personal exterior inspection and
    • a virtual interior inspection using remote technology
    • using interior photos provided by the owner/occupant
    • using recent, reliable MLS or other third-party photos when real time photos are not possible
    • appraisal software tools from a la mode, Bradford, ACI
    • AMC tools

Reach out to fellow members to learn about their experiences with technology and their opinions on the pros and cons of the different tools available.

Members must perform due diligence to confirm the reliability of the third-party information they are using to produce an estimate of value in a report.  

Always be mindful that photos and videos:

  • can be inaccurate and even falsified.
  • can omit/exclude problem areas, damage or detrimental conditions that your Clients need to be aware of (both accidentally or intentionally).
  • can be substituted for some or all of the subject property – can be a different property, a different time, or in a different condition

When using owner/occupant-supplied photos, ensure that they are both time-stamped and geo-tagged.

Remember your responsibility to adhere to CUSPAP standards, especially Scope of Work (CUSPAP 7.5.1) and to meet the Reasonable Appraiser test.

How to Organize a Virtual Inspection instead of a Personal Interior Inspection:

  1. Set up an appointment for a virtual interior inspection to be conducted by the occupant/owner
  2. Connect with occupant and confirm their identity
  3. Ask the occupant to perform a video tour of the entire interior of a property
  4. Direct occupant as to features to focus on in the video tour Virtual inspection; the contact details should be recorded and saved in your work-file
  • Remember your responsibility under CUSPAP (see COVID-19 FAQ 7)
  • Members should describe in the Scope of report the details of each inspection including:
    • the extent of any personal on-site component
    • the method or platform used for a virtual inspection
    • the date and time (see CUSPAP 7.5)

Other sources of Data to rely on to add to the credibility of your appraisal or when onsite data cannot be collected in-person include:

  • any client or owner information that describes the physical characteristics of the structure and the remainder of the property
  • municipal permits
  • assessment information
  • recent MLS data
6. I am using different technology to get interior photos or videos of properties. Do I still need permission from the occupant?

Yes, under PIPEDA and provincial privacy legislation, you must obtain meaningful consent to use photographs and videos.  The AIC has provided a Consent form HERE.  

Remember that you are required under CUSPAP, PIPEDA, privacy laws and your firm’s privacy policy to create a work-file which includes photographs, videos, and signed consent forms.

7. If I do not perform a personal interior inspection, will the report be covered by the AIC Professional Liability Insurance Program?

Insurance coverage is predicated on adherence to CUSPAP.  If a member follows CUSPAP in completing the assignment, the AIC professional liability policy is designed to protect the Member. 

If a personal interior inspection is not possible, then the member must invoke:

  1. an Extraordinary Limiting Condition in the report to explain why a personal interior inspection was not performed (see FAQs #1 and #2 under General Reporting for samples)

AND

  1. include the mandatory minimum assumptions and limiting conditions(see FAQs #1 and #2 under General Reporting for samples)

AND

  1. an Extraordinary Assumptionfor the assumptions made in the report (see FAQs #1 and #2 for samples)

AND

  1. Revise the Scope of Work in the Report

Remember to discuss your practices and any limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with your client and note what you did (or were unable to do) in your Letter of Transmittal.  

AIC 0518 Residential Appraisal Form, Residential Mortgage Finance Assignments, and Residential Progress Reports

1. How do I describe my inspection in the Scope section of a Full Appraisal 0518 Form?

Item #2 in the Scope section of the AIC 0518 Full Residential Appraisal Form makes reference to a “site visit and observation…”  as a result, you must describe the extent of your inspection if/when it varies from the norm of a personal interior (and exterior) inspection.

  • If you went to the property and:
    • performed an exterior inspection,
    • did not perform a personal interior inspection due to COVID-19 PHA restrictions, and
    • used alternative methods to document the characteristics of the property
  • In the Scope of the report:
    • explain what you did and did not do
    • clearly state the sources of information used within the Report
2. How do I describe my inspection in the Certification section of a Full Appraisal 0518 Form?

If you went to the property and:

  1. performed an exterior inspection, 
  2. did not perform a personal interior inspection due to COVID-19 PHA restrictions, and
  3. used alternative methods to document the characteristics of the property

In the Certification of the Report:

For the PERSONALLY INSPECTED THE SUBJECT PROPERTY statement:

  • tick the YES box
    • if the software you are using allows: add some explanatory text in the DATE OF INSPECTION field
    • if the software you are using does not allow: add some explanatory text to the Scope section (see FAQ #1)
  • clearly state the sources of information used in the Report

3. What if the AIC 0518 form provided by the AMC does not allow me to add a Range of Value?

The Full Appraisal Form is designed for entering a single estimate of value, however CUSPAP also permits the use of directions in value or ranges of value.

 

When you cannot perform a personal interior inspection and end up relying on information provided by other sources to develop an estimate of value in a Full Appraisal Form, you are advised to – ideally prior to accepting the assignment – suggest providing a range of values estimate instead of a single value estimate with your AMC and/or client.

Government resources

Important Insurance Information

Instructions and Consent Forms for Occupant