More than ever, we’re supporting our team, our clients and our community to work through the challenges that COVID-19 presents. As we continue to navigate a changed setting for residential tenancies over the next few weeks, our team’s priority is to continue to provide you with a level of service, adaptation and information that reflects the changing conditions. Below are our most frequently asked questions to help provide clarity and assistance during this time.
What does the Stage 4 lockdown mean for real estate?
All real estate offices (residential and commercial) in Melbourne Metro are closed under stage 4 restrictions. We are unable to conduct any onsite work, visit properties or conduct tenant inspections, including by private appointment.
The entire Brad Teal team continue to work remotely to support our clients. All office numbers, direct lines, mobiles and email addresses remain active and we’re available (virtually!) as normal.
My property has been leased, can my tenant sill move in?
The Victorian government have issued a directive to facilitate the commencement of a tenancy during the next six weeks, where:
- The tenancy was approved prior to Thursday 6 August, and
- The tenant has paid their first month’s rent, and
- The tenant has paid their bond.
My property is currently ‘for lease’, can you still secure a tenant?
Unless arrangements had been made before Thursday 6th August a new arrangement should not be put in place.
At this stage, the government direction is that we cannot continue to lease properties for the next 6 week period. For now, prospective tenants may be able to view properties via video link and sign a lease however tenants can’t move in until after the stage 4 restriction is lifted.
The following exception applies:
- You may commence a new lease if you need to for your safety such as fleeing violence or to avoid homelessness.
My tenant is due to vacate, will you conduct an end of tenancy inspection?
Services related to an end of lease are permitted. This includes vacate inspection, arrangement of cleaning & related services, locksmith services, collection of keys (with the appropriate permits in place). The property owner cannot attend with the Inspection Manager.
My tenant has reported a maintenance issue, will it be attended to?
Only emergency maintenance can be undertaken on rental properties during the restricted period.
What happens if my tenant asks for a rental reduction as a result of financial distress?
The team is fielding tenant requests for rental assistance on a case by case basis. Tenants must complete an extensive form to prove their hardship, in line with government formula which classifies hardship when a tenant is paying more than 30% of their income towards rent. This triggers a basis for negotiation of a temporary rent reduction or deferral between landlord and tenant, and a possible tenant application for state government rent relief of up to $3,000. Each circumstance is unique and the team has been working very diligently to pull together full information to assist in making recommendations of support to landlords and to provide advice to tenants to ensure rent continues to be paid.
Will routine inspections be taking place?
In-person routine inspections are currently not permitted. Our team will continue to conduct virtual routine inspections of your property. Please contact your Client Manager if you would like further information on this process.
What happens if my lease is up for renewal?
We are continuing to negotiate lease renewals where possible to ensure you have a secure and continuous tenancy and to minimise re-letting expenses. Note that current Victorian legislation prohibits us from imposing a lease renewal on the tenant after the initial lease expiry, and we continue to be conscious of this in our negotiations.
What is the Victorian Government COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020
The Victorian Government COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 provides temporary amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act and came into effect retrospectively on 29 March 2020, remaining in force until 31st March 2021. The Bill has put in place a range of measures including a moratorium on evictions, rent increases, notice to vacates and arrears. A link to the measures can be found here https://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/bills/covid-19-omnibus-emergency-measures-bill-2020 and our team continues to navigate the application of these changes to individual circumstances daily.
What land tax relief is available to landlords?
The Victorian Government has announced land tax relief for landlords as part of its Economic Survival Package in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Landlords who provide tenants impacted by coronavirus with rent relief may be eligible for up to a 50% reduction on the property’s 2020 land tax. This relief is also available to landowners who are unable to secure a tenant because of the coronavirus pandemic. Landlords can also defer the remainder of their 2020 land tax to 31 March 2021.
Please contact the Brad Teal team via phone or email should you require assistance. We’re here to help.