Thank you for your continued patience during these challenging times.
On Friday 24 April, The Minister for Housing and Public Works, Mick de Brenni published the Residential Tenancies Practice Guide, following the passing of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act in Parliament that week, which allows Government to enact emergency COVID-19 regulations.
There is range of measures detailed in the Guide which are outlined below:
- Tenants who are suffering or have suffered excessive hardship because of COVID-19 who cannot meet their rent commitments cannot be evicted or listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears.
- Fixed term agreements due to expire during the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended to 30 September 2020 unless the tenant requests a shorter term.
- Require property owners to only end COVID-19 impacted tenancies with approved reasons and required notice periods.
- Provide new approved reasons to allow property owners and tenants to end their tenancy agreement if they need to during the COVID-19 emergency period, including if they are experiencing domestic and family violence with protections in place to limit their liability for end of lease costs.
- Capping break lease fees for eligible tenants if their income has reduced by at least 75% and they have savings of less than $5,000.
- Owner obligations for routine repairs and inspections have been relaxed but regulatory obligations to ensure tenant safety in the rental property continue to apply.
- Tenants may refuse physical entry for non-essential reasons, including routine repairs and inspections, particularly if a member of the household is a vulnerable person. However, tenants must agree to virtual inspections if physical inspections cannot take place.
- Tenants and property owners should work together to reach agreement. If agreement cannot be reached, parties are required to undertake conciliation to resolve disputes and achieve conciliated agreements, which form part of the tenancy agreement.
Details regarding the impact of COVID-19 are also outlined on the RTA website.
COVID-19 Government Website
The Government has formulated a website which can be viewed here. This website has FAQ and details for both tenants, landlords and Property Managers.
For the tenants who have communicated with our office regarding their hardship circumstances, please complete our hardship application form. Please be patient with our Team as we assess each individual situation. Owners are also in similar financial positions so we need to achieve a mutual outcome for all parties.
You may also like to contact Centrelink and the RTA to explore your eligibility for other financial assistance.
We are finalising a process to conduct Routine Self-Inspection for you to complete and a full report with supporting photos will be provided to your owner. We hope to have this process finalised this week and will be rolling this out over the coming weeks.
Working as a Team
Our highest priority is the health and wellbeing of our communities. We look forward to continuing to work together to support you through this time.
Russell Peter | Principal