Below is information sent to our clients this week that we also post here, as it includes information that other Landlords out there may find useful.
And for tenants out there – please be aware that there have been NO changes to the RTRA Act – the laws about rent arrears have not changed. I have seen rumours online that ‘you don’t need to pay rent this month’. This is NOT true, so please do not put yourself at risk of creating a bad rental history by intentionally not paying your rent! If you are at risk of rent arrears then communicate with your property manager / landlord.
“I am sure this is not the first correspondence you have received from a business, regarding COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) and the impacts it is having in different scenarios across Australia and in fact the world. We are in unprecedented times, and in a situation where advise is changing on a daily basis.
We are taking a serious but measured and calm view of the situation. We have no immediate risk factors or symptoms in our business. We have discussed with staff measures that they can take to reduce their and our clients/tenants exposure to the virus. This includes social distancing and general hygiene measures, both in the office and when on-site at properties. Work from home is available for our team and we are taking a balanced approach to this, as much of our role is not in the office but on-site at properties.
As your Property Manager, we advise some potential impacts that some of our clients may face. Our key focus for clients is continuity of rental income – both in terms of rental arrears management and vacancy reduction.
- Rent arrears. The wider economic implications of Coronavirus could mean that casually employed tenants or those in industries most likely to suffer a downturn (travel, hospitality for example) fall prey to job loss and therefore rent arrears. Our office policy regarding rent arrears will not change at all. Strict legislative procedure will be followed – which is important for you in the event of a landlord insurance claim being required. We will be continuing to provide tenants with the support channels they should access to help them (Centrelink, charity organisations, RTA).
- Access to Tenanted Properties – Infected/high risk tenants or those that fall into high-risk categories for infection, will mean access to the property is restricted during times of self-isolation or high-risk to the tenant or our team member. This will restrict access for maintenance and routine inspections, as well as impacting viewings with prospective tenants if the home is being marketed. We are monitoring this daily to ensure that we fulfil our duties as much as we possibly can. Measures for possible virtual viewings are being explored – and are in fact something we’ve always offered prospective tenants.
- Function of our Roles – If team members are diagnosed with COVID-19, fall into high risk categories, or show symptoms of infection, they have been asked to advise us immediately. They will be self-quarantined and asked to seek medical treatment if appropriate. This could mean our team is asked to work from home, and may mean some or all tenanted properties cannot be entered.
- Landlord insurance – I email to you all quite regularly about the importance of Landlord Insurance and ensuring you have a quality policy. QUALITY landlord insurance is a CRITICAL component of your property investment success. The current pandemic gives cause for you all – if you are one of the minority of clients that don’t have cover in place – to take out a QUALITY landlord insurance policy. At this time I reiterate previous emails where I have urged clients to read and understand your policy and what you are (and are not) covered for. PLEASE do NOT choose landlord insurance based on price.Compare some policies to have a clear understanding of policy differences, and make an educated choice. Whether you are uninsured for Landlord Insurance or are currently insured I recommend a policy review.
These are challenging times indeed, and I trust you know we will always try and make balanced decisions taking into account all parties needs. Client service remains our highest priority, balanced with staff and the wider-community well-being.
At this point in time, I assure you that our service is continuing in full without interruption or change, however we are assessing our policies and procedures daily in light of new information.”