At P. Di Natale Real Estate, our priority is supporting our clients and the community throughout this challenging time. In recent conversations we have been asked a number of questions about the state of the rental market, the impact that Covid19 is having on Tenants and Landlords and how we are adapting to the changing landscape.
In order to help you understand the current state of play and make informed property related decisions, we have put together a series of frequently asked questions for Tenants and Landlords.
If you would like to discuss anything further, our team of local property professionals are here to support you. You can speak with them over the phone, on video call, via email or in person with the appropriate social distancing measures in place.
How can I contact my Property Manager or the Office?
The office number is still operating as normal and can direct your call, otherwise you can still contact your Property Manager at any time by calling their direct or mobile number or via email.
Does this situation change any of my rights as a Tenant?
Despite the changing landscape, your rights as a tenant remain the same. Tenants and Landlords must continue to abide by the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. There are measures that the State and Federal Governments may put in place that may relate to your tenancy. We will update this page as often as possible when any new arrangement has been made.
Will routine inspections be taking place?
We have currently postponed any face to face routine inspections until social distancing measures have eased. However our office is still conducting routine inspections where possible via an online process, using Zoom. Your Property Manager will be in touch if this is the case.
What is happening with open for inspections?
Traditional open for inspections are no longer going ahead and will now be run privately with individual prospective Tenants to comply with Government regulations. Anyone inspecting the property must obey the social distancing rules (including keeping at least 1.5m distance from another person). P Di Natale Real Estate has hygiene protocol in place to mitigate any risk of the virus being spread and will advise attendees to avoid entering the property if they have:
- Tested positive to, or have symptoms associated with Covid19
- Recently been in contact with someone diagnosed with Covid19
- Recently been overseas or agreed to any self-isolation conditions
We also advise all attendees to clean their hands thoroughly before attending, to maintain healthy social distancing from others (at least 1.5m from others), keeping appointment times to a minimum and to avoid touching surfaces and handles where possible.
Some inspections will be held online, via a short walk through video which will assist in avoiding unnecessary visits to the property.
What about open for inspections if my property is currently being sold?
The above mentioned process is also a requirement for all private sales inspections. Any auctions will be held online as per Government regulations.
What happens if I need maintenance completed at my house?
If you require any maintenance please contact your Property Manager and they can organise for the relevant trades person to attend your home. There are currently no restrictions on tradespeople entering properties, except for the number of tradespeople allowed in the same space at any one time in line with social distancing guidelines. We ask that all our trades contacts abide by our Covid19 hygiene protocols to ensure your safety.
Can I be evicted if I can’t pay my rent?
Whilst Tenants and Landlords still need to abide by the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (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 Covid19. This is yet to be ratified by the State Government but is expected soon.
This will provide 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.
What happens if I have lost my job and need to move out of a fixed term lease?
If you need to vacate the property due to loss of employment or income you should contact your Property Manager who will speak with the Landlord to see if an agreement can be made to end the lease early. If the Landlord does not agree to this, you may apply to VCAT based on severe hardship.
Can I reduce or defer my rental payments?
If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the Covid19 please ensure that you contact your Property Manager as soon as possible, and they can guide you through the relevant steps to apply to reduce or defer rental payments – at the approval of the Landlord.
What does this actually mean?
If you are experiencing genuine hardship as a result of the Covid19 circumstances, then we require you to contact your Property Manager as soon as possible.
You should also explore the available options announced by the Government on assistance packages that have been released. If these options are not enough, you will be asked to complete our Financial Hardship Application, providing more specific details regarding your situation.
Once this form and supported documents have been completed, the Landlord will be consulted and they will make the decision about a potential payment plan agreed to with the tenant.
Please note, that P Di Natale Real Estate cannot make a decision on the owners’ behalf, nor may you hear back immediately as the Landlord will need to consider their own personal situation before making their decision.
Even under these circumstances, rent is still due and payable, and it is highly unlikely that you will come to an arrangement in which there is no rent payable at all. As a result, it is advisable that you would want to avoid a large debt accumulating as this will affect your ability to rent in the future. It is imperative that if you have been genuinely impacted financially by the Covid19 that you contact your Property Manager.
What is the rent relief package legislated by the State Government?
The Victorian Government has approved a rent relief package that provides funding for tenants who are under financial duress due to Covid19 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, lessor or the Landlord to contribute to the Tenant’s rental payments during this time of financial hardship.
If you are suffering financial hardship, please speak with your property manager in the first instance, and they will ask you to complete the our Financial Hardship Form. Once this is completed, we can understand your situation further and contact your Landlord. We would also encourage you to investigate the rental relief package to assess if you qualify.
Where can I find more information?
As the information being provided by the Victorian Government is updated regularly, further information regarding these announcements can be found below:
Should you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact P Di Natale Real Estate via email or phone.