Covid-19 Rental relief negotiations and agreements

COVID-19 RENTAL NEGOTIATIONS & AGREEMENTS PROCESS

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria has referenced information from CAV and recommended the following procedures in relation to rental negotiations.

 

EVIDENCE

All communications should be documented. Keep written notes and copies of documents provided to you and what you have provided to the tenant. CAV has provided a new process for negotiating a reduced rental agreement:

https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/resources-and-tools/advice-in-a-disaster/coronavirus-covid19-and-your-rights/rent-relief-tenants/work-out-how-much-rent-you-can-afford-to-pay-tenants

https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/resources-and-tools/advice-in-a-disaster/coronavirus-covid19-and-your-rights/rent-relief-landlords/what-do-i-do-if-my-tenant-cannot-afford-to-pay-rent

Property manager should seek information that is clear about:

·     The tenant’s changed circumstances

·     The amount they are able to pay in rent

·     Supporting evidence such as a termination letter or application for Centrelink payments

·     Payslips from a period prior to the effects of Covid-19 and for a relevant current period

Landlords should explore all avenues to determine what support is available to them, if they agree to reduce the rent for a period. This may include:

·     Insurance

·     Communications with mortgage holders / lenders

·     Government assistance i.e. land tax rebate and the eligibility of the tenant for rent relief grant – with the grant will be paid direct to landlord/property manager

 

AGREEMENTS

Agreements must be in writing and lodged with CAV. At minimum, they must:

·     Be in writing

·     Contain the name of the tenant

·     The name of the landlord

·     The property address

·     The existing rent agreement

·     The new rent agreement and the time period it will be in place

 

WHERE MUST AGREEMENTS BE LODGED?

All agreements must be lodged with CAV here.

https://online.justice.vic.gov.au/cav-forms/covidcomplaint.doj

 

CORONAVIRUS RENT RELIEF GRANT

 Rent relief payments of up to $2,000 are available to Victorians experiencing financial hardship.

·     Property managers may request payslips and bank statements (to show less than $5,000 savings)

·     The grant will NOT be given if the tenant has more than $5,000 savings and is paying less than 30% of their gross income in rent after the negotiated rent reduction

It is wise to seek this information from tenants prior to reaching a negotiated agreement, if that agreement would result in them paying more than 30% of their gross income in rent, because they will not be eligible for the grant if they have more than $5,000 in savings.

·     Total household income must be less than $100,000 per annum gross.

·     A tenant is deemed to be experiencing rental hardship if they are paying more than 30% of their gross income on rent. Is the aim of negotiations to get the situation to where the tenant is paying less than 30% of their gross income in rent?

·     Tenants paying less than 30% of their gross income in rent will not be eligible for the $2,000 rental relief grant

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