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Covid-19 FAQ for tenants

March 27, 2020

The current health crisis has created a significant amount of anxiety for tenants across the country as they grapple with financial uncertainty and concerns about their health and safety. The federal government has acknowledged these concerns and indicated that they are planning some relief for commercial and residential tenants, however as of today (Friday 04/04/2020) we have yet to hear details about these plans for residential tenancies with the exception of a moratorium on evictions (bee below). 

While we can’t supply you with this information, below are some of the frequently asked questions that we’ve been receiving.

We will continue to update this article as we notice new trends in the questions asked.

What if I cannot make my rental payment?

There are several different options for tenants here depending on their circumstance. The government are due to release more over the coming days. The most important thing is 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.

Can I be evicted during this health crisis?

On Sunday 29/03/20 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.

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.

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

The government have now imposed that all open homes may no longer be conducted. 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 should 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 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, however 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 make a time to meet you there.