COVID-19 – TENANT FAQ

As always at Cobden & Hayson our priority is to support our valued clients and our community throughout challenging times. To help you understand the current state of play and make informed property decisions, we’ve put together a series of frequently asked questions for tenants and landlords.

Can I contact my Property Manager as normal?

It’s essentially business as usual in our office, with all of the necessary precautions in place of course, so you can contact your Property Manager as normal via email or mobile. They are still available to meet in person where absolutely necessary, adhering to the proper social distancing measures, however we encourage you to choose an alternative method of contact where possible.   

Does this situation change any of my rights as a tenant?

Despite the changing landscape your rights as a tenant remain the same. Tenants and landlords must continue to abide by the NSW Residential Tenancies Act. There are measures that the State and Federal Governments may put in place that may relate to your tenancy. The NSW Fair Trading website has some valuable current information on your rights as a tenant throughout the crisis.

What if I’m a prospective tenant wanting to view a new property?

Prospective tenants can book one-on-one inspections at times that suit them via our website and realestate.com.au and domain.com.au. Before a tenants’ inspection is confirmed they are asked a series of qualifying questions relating to COVID-19 to ensure the safety of all parties. Tenants that can’t physically inspect the property can request a video walk-through. All vacant properties are having one completed to ensure they are available upon request.

Will routine tenancy inspections be taking place?

Our offices have currently postponed any face-to-face routine inspections that were due to take place and will be in contact to arrange a time to inspect your property when social distancing measures have eased.  

What’s happening with open for inspections for prospective tenants if I’m in the process of moving out?

Public open for inspections are no longer going ahead and will now be run one-on-one with individual prospective tenants to comply with Government regulations. Anyone inspecting the property must obey the social distancing rules, including keeping at least 1.5m from another person. 

We have a hygiene protocol in place to mitigate any risk of the virus being spread and will advise attendees to avoid entering the property if they have:

– Tested positive to or have symptoms associated with Coronavirus

– Recently been in contact with someone diagnosed with Coronavirus

– Recently been overseas or agreed to any self-isolation conditions

We also require everyone to use the hand sanitiser provided before they enter, keep appointment times to a minimum and avoid touching surfaces and handles.

What happens if I require repairs or maintenance? 

If you require a repair or would like to request maintenance at your property, please contact your Property Manager and they can organise for the relevant tradesperson to attend your home. There are currently no restrictions on tradespeople entering properties, except for the number of tradespeople allowed in the same space at any one time in line with social distancing guidelines. All our tradespeople are actively practicing social distancing and appropriate hygiene measures.

Can I be evicted if I can’t pay my rent?

While tenants and landlords still need to abide by the NSW Residential Tenancies Act, the Government is encouraging landlords and agents to be compassionate and show goodwill during this pandemic. On 29March 2020 the Federal Government announced a six-month moratorium on at least some evictions. However, NSW has not yet implemented the announced Evictions Moratorium and rent relief but it is expected to be ratified soon. This will provide a measure of security for those who have been adversely affected and are concerned about the implications of being able to keep residing in their rental home.

What happens if I’ve lost my job and need to move out of a fixed-term lease?

Under the NSW Residential Tenancies Act, a tenant is obligated to fulfil a fixed-term lease. Should a tenant wish to vacate their property during a fixed term agreement, a Break Lease fee is applicable. We encourage anyone who cannot continue with their lease to email their Property Manager who will discuss your circumstances with the landlord.

Can I reduce or defer my rental payments?

If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, please ensure that you contact your Property Manager as soon as possible. They will guide you through the relevant steps to apply to reduce or defer rental payments, at the approval of the landlord. Please note that Cobden & Hayson cannot make a decision on the owners’ behalf and the landlord may need some time to consider their own personal situation before making their decision.

Even under these difficult circumstances rent is still due and payable and it is highly unlikely that you will come to an arrangement in which there is no rent payable at all.  

Should you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us via email or phone.

Posted in Uncategorized on 7th April, 2020