Many landlords around the country are currently facing financial uncertainty. Concerns about rent payments, eviction and legalities are running high, adding to an already frustrating situation. The government has announced measures to help both landlords and tenants through these hard times, including mortgage breaks, rent payments and JobKeeper payments.
COVID-19 has impacted people from all walks of life, with both health and economy taking a hard hit. Now is the time for stability and certainty for landlords affected by the coronavirus, and at Leased, we’re here to help. We know that information is key at such important times, so here are the steps to take and the assistance you can receive.
COVID-19 Landlord financial assistance
During the current climate, it’s more important than ever to keep your tenants on side and making rent payments. We’re able to help you work on a plan of action to ensure you aren’t left with an empty rental property by helping all parties come to a satisfactory solution.
- If your tenants are facing financial hardship, we can direct them to the right place to claim their $1,500 wage package or advise on using the Centrelink website. It’s important to remember that the above options are only available for Australian citizens. There are currently no assistance options for non-native citizens.
- If you have taken out landlord insurance, you may be eligible to receive an equivalent rent payment for a limited amount of time after 6 weeks have passed. Please refer to your insurer for advice.
- You have the ability to request a moratorium (mortgage holiday) on your monthly mortgage payments from your bank. This can help ease the financial burden for a period of several months while COVID-19 is being controlled with activity restrictions.
- If your tenant has failed to pay rent before the pandemic and is, or was, facing a tribunal hearing, they cannot be evicted. This is a new situation that will require careful planning and evaluation to find a way forward for all involved.
COVID-19 Tenant financial assistance
As a landlord, you’ll need to ensure that your tenants are aware of all of the options available to them. Failure to do so could see your revenue stream adversely affected. While you could do this yourself, rules and regulations are changing on an almost hourly basis. Providing the wrong information and trying to keep on top of things can cause undue stress during already stressful times.
This is where a property manager can step in and take control. Understanding the complexities of rental laws and recent changes can make all the difference between getting paid or going short. We can make arrangements directly with your tenants on your behalf, keeping them up-to-date with all of the latest financial assistance advice.
Available Options for Employees
- Employers who are eligible will receive a fortnightly JobKeeper payment of $1,500 for each eligible employee. This payment is then paid to the employee (before tax) and topped up by the employer if the usual amount exceeds this.
- If an employee has been stood down and they currently earn more than $1,500 a fortnight, they are entitled to a minimum fortnightly payment of $1,500 before tax.
- If an employee has been stood down and they currently earn less than $1,500 a fortnight, They will receive their regular income amount.
- Be aware that superannuation on additional wage payments is done so at the discretion of the employer. This is not mandatory.
- From April 27th 2020, those who are self-employed, a sole trader, a contract worker or a casual worker now earning less than $1,075 a fortnight due to the economic effects of COVID-19 can receive assistance.
- The partner income test has been increased to $79,000 from $48,000 a year. To be eligible, applicants need to apply before April 13th.
- Once an application has been made, tenants should keep on top of rent payments to the best of their ability. Your property manager should be able to mediate and provide a plan of action for those who are struggling until payments kick in.
Current Position on Eviction
While it can be frustrating when rent payments are missed, the current situation across the country has led to new laws being put into place. Communication is vital to ensure that any issues are dealt with swiftly.
Landlords should be aware of the following:
- Tenancy agreements across the board are now protected with a temporary moratorium of six months against eviction for non-payment of rent.
- Both tenant and landlord should try to come up with a mutual agreement. Your property manager can deal with this on your behalf.
- Tenants have the ability to terminate their lease or tenancy agreement if facing financial hardship. Preventing this from happening is and may require mediation to resolve.
- Those who are not impacted by COVID-19 are expected to honour the terms of their lease or tenancy agreement. This pertains to both landlord and tenant.
Short-term rental options
Airbnb has provided full refunds for stays booked in up until April 14th, 2020. This is likely to be extended, depending on the severity of travel restrictions and new temporary measures that make staying in short-term rentals illegal until further notice.
If you currently operate private short-term accommodation, protecting your investment can be achieved with a few short measures. If you choose to remain in the short-term rental market, you could be facing zero occupancies and income for the foreseeable future.
- Switch your rentals from short-term to long-term leases. With job uncertainty, reduced income and a potential financial crisis looming, vacations and leisure travel will likely take a hard hit over the coming months.
- Avoid listing any properties as ‘work away from home’ or ‘isolation vacation packages’. Doing so puts you at risk of a hefty fine or imprisonment. you can continue to advertise, but the property must remain empty until further notice.
- As experienced property managers, we are able to help you find suitable tenants, deal with legalities, arrange viewings and much more. As short-term rentals are typically furnished, you could achieve higher rental prices or put furniture in storage and rent as unfurnished.
- Once you have long-term tenants in place, you will be guaranteed of consistent income. This income will not be affected by seasonality, economic constraints or future travel restrictions.
How Leased can help
Our team of highly experienced property managers are ready to step up to the mark and help see landlords and tenants through this testing situation. With tensions running high, it’s important to use the right approach to avoid any confrontations and potential legal action at a later date.
We’re able to provide current and up-to-date help and assistance, ensuring landlords face as few issues as possible. At Leased, we take care of our customers, providing them with the certainty they need, now and we’ll into the future.