There is currently nothing that would prohibit a broker from asking these questions, however if you choose to implement such a questionnaire, please consider the following:
- Asking all prospective buyers the same questions to ensure Fair Housing laws are not violated.
- The purpose of the questionnaire. If the purpose of the questionnaire is for your client to rely on the answers to screen out anyone who might be contagious with COVID-19, you should be aware that such a questionnaire will likely miss a significant number of potentially contagious people who are not showing any signs or symptoms.
- Determining how you will handle showing rejections based on the answers to the questions and implement them consistently.
- Creating a policy for protecting and permanently disposing of the personal health and travel information you have gathered on individuals.
You may want to consider speaking with your legal counsel about the pros and cons of adopting such a questionnaire, especially since the CDC is cautioning that such questions could create stigma for certain groups of people resulting in denial of housing and other critical services.
Instead of posing these personal health/travel questions that might lead to discrimination or stigma, an alternative might be to: Utilize signage on the property asking anyone with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing or anyone in close contact with someone with symptoms to refrain from entering the property. The MDH has materials and resources that can be utilized by the general public, including signs.
Provide clients with accurate information about how the virus spreads and implement other measures to prevent transmission, such as wearing a cloth mouth covering, cleaning hands before and after entry, no touching anything in the property, limiting the number of people allowed in the property at any one time, no gathering in small areas, and frequent and thorough cleaning of surfaces after showings.