Renters urged to speak to their agent if times get tough

Samara Thorn 3 April 2020 1
Grace Hooper

Head of Property Management Growth at Independent, Grace Hooper, shares the top questions asked by renters in response to COVID-19. Photos: Supplied.

The current health crisis has created a significant amount of anxiety for tenants across the country as they grapple with financial uncertainty, as well as concerns about their own health and safety.

The Federal Government has acknowledged these concerns and indicated that they’re planning some relief for commercial and residential tenants; however, details have yet to be released.

Grace Hooper, from Independent Property Management, talks through some of the frequently asked questions that can be answered at this time.

What if I can’t make my rental payment?

There are several different options for tenants here depending on their circumstances and the government is due to release more over the coming days.

In the meantime, the most important thing to remember is that your property manager is here to help you. Should you be worried about missing a payment, communicate this with your property manager and they can speak to the owner of the property and point you in the right direction of bodies who may be able to assist you if needed.

Will routine inspections continue over this time?

Routine inspections are an important part of managing properties; however, our tenants’ safety is always our number one priority. Different agencies are addressing this differently, but for the most part these are being conducted over Facetime or Zoom. Your property manager will be able to talk you through this and will work to complete the inspection with you.

Tenants

If tenants are having trouble making ends meet, they should speak to their property manager immediately.

My agency wants to conduct sales and rental exhibitions but I do not feel comfortable. What do I do?

The government has banned open houses and, again, agencies are trying to look after their tenants over this time and ensure you feel as comfortable as possible in your home. They may ask to bring a potential tenant or buyer through the property but this will be on a one-on-one basis.

You will be given plenty of notice and they will ensure any visitors comply with the recommended safety measures. Your property manager will be actively working to ensure there is minimal physical contact with objects within the home.

I have given notice to my property manager and can no longer vacate my property, what do I do?

First and foremost, speak to your property manager. Your owner may be happy to extend your vacate date if the property does not have replacement tenants. In the event that your property has new tenants moving in, there are still plenty of properties on the Canberra rental market.

Leasing methods have changed slightly, but you are still able to view properties via private inspections or through video open homes. Your property manager will work with you to help place you in a new property.

How do I visit my property manager/where are they?

Most agencies are now closed or have limited hours, but the good news it that the majority of property managers in the ACT are working remotely so you can contact them as you normally would.

Should you need to go into the office to collect something, your property manager will make a time to meet you there.

Can I be evicted during this health crisis?

On Sunday 29th March, the government announced a 6-month moratorium on evictions due to non-payment of rent related to Covid-19. Details about this have yet to be released and we will update this article as soon as we have more information. The wording of the government announcement suggests that tenants may still be evicted for non-financial reasons, such as if the landlord needs to move into the property.

The government has requested that tenants and landlords negotiate rent payments privately if the tenant is having difficulty meeting their obligations. If you are struggling to pay your rent, please get in contact with your property manager as soon as possible.

If you have any more questions, or would like to find more information, head to Independent or get in touch with Grace Hooper today.

This is a sponsored article, though all opinions are the author’s own. For more information on paid content, see our sponsored content policy.


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One Response to Renters urged to speak to their agent if times get tough
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PlasticScene PlasticScene 10:53 am 01 Apr 20

Another important question is people whose leases are coming up for renewal. Are landlords going to be asked by the government to renew leases so tenants are not forced to move during the pandemic?

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