Being a Landlord During Covid-19 Stage 4 Restrictions - FAQs
It is our top priority to support our clients, team and community throughout this challenging time. In order to help you understand the current state of play and make informed property related decisions, we have sourced a series of frequently asked questions for your reference.
What do stage 4 restrictions mean for real estate?
During stage 4 restrictions we are unable to conduct any onsite work, which means our office is closed and our team is working from home. We can only conduct virtual buyer inspections during this time and tenants are invited to contact our team for more information and virtual inspections.
How can I contact my Property Manager or the office?
Although our real estate office is closed, the office number is still operating as normal. Alternatively, you can contact your Property Manager at any time by email, or calling their mobile number.
Does this situation change any of my rights as a Landlord?
Despite the changing landscape, your rights as a Landlord remain the same. Tenants and Landlords must continue to abide by the Residential Tenancies Act. There are measures that the State and Federal Governments may put in place that may relate to the tenancy. The following website will have the most up to date information about any tenancy changes during Covid-19: CAV - Coronavirus and Tenants Rights
Will routine inspections be taking place?
Face-to-face routine inspections that were due to take place have been replaced using the latest technology and are now done virtually. Feel free to contact your Property Manager for more details on this process should you have any queries.
Can I be protected in the event my tenant defaults on payments?
In most instances, a valid landlord's insurance policy will provide you with cover if the tenant defaults on their rent. These claims require the tenancy to come to an end before you can make a claim, and insurers won’t pay rent whilst the tenancy is still continuing. Any agreement that you reach with your tenant to reduce or defer rent won’t be claimable. We suggest reviewing your insurer's website and PDS for more information.
What happens if my tenant needs to vacate the property due to financial hardship?
If your tenant needs to vacate the property due to loss of employment or income, your Property Manager will speak with you in the first instance to see if an agreement can be made to end the lease earlier than the stated end date on the fixed-term lease.
What happens if my tenant cannot pay rent as a result of financial distress?
Whilst Tenants and Landlords still need to abide by the Act, the Government is encouraging Landlords and Agents to be compassionate and show goodwill during this pandemic.
The Federal Government announced that there should be a suspension on rental evictions for people who are facing financial distress as a result of the Coronavirus. This provides a measure of security for those who have been adversely affected and are concerned about the implications of being able to keep residing in their rental home.
If your tenant is experiencing financial hardship as a result of the Coronavirus, we have advised that they need to contact us as soon as possible. In the first instance they are guided to explore the available options in the various Government assistance packages. If these options are not enough, they may complete a Hardship Application, which provides specific details about their situation and the request to either reduce, or defer their rental payments.
The decision to agree with the request to reduce or defer rental payments lies with yourself as the Landlord, and should only be made once you have considered your own situation.
What is the Rental Relief Package and how does it work?
The Victorian Government has approved a rent relief package that provides funding for tenants who are under financial duress due to Coronavirus impacting their financial situation. This is a one-off grant specifically for tenants to ensure that they can maintain safe, secure and stable accommodation and is paid directly to the tenant’s agent to contribute to the tenant’s rental payments during this time of financial hardship. This grant will be administered to eligible tenants who have negotiated a rental reduction with their landlord or real estate agent and have lodged that agreement with CAV.