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 In Lifestyle, Lifestyle Property Management

Property Management
FAQs for Stage 4

As all Marshall White Offices are currently closed amid Stage 4 restrictions, we have collated a selection of frequently asked questions for our tenants and landlords.

Our property management team will continue to be readily available remotely by email, phone or via the ManagedApp.

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1. Where can I read about changes and restrictions?

Renting rules and support during the moratorium – Consumer Affairs Victoria

We have reviewed these changes and included some frequently asked questions (and other things we think you might want to know) so you are up to date with the very latest information.

2. How will I know if my tenant is in arrears?

The tenant receives daily reminders through Managed App as soon as they fall into arrears. Your Property Manager will discuss with you the process and strategy and keep you informed along the way.
If you are concerned, we suggest you ask your Property Manager for a full report of financial transactions that are happening at your property.
Our MW Managed App provides live, daily updates to you on rental payments, rather than waiting until the end of the month.
This information is available to your property manager, so it is definitely worth asking if you are uncertain of your rental position.

3. How many tenants are currently struggling to meet their rental obligation?

Approximately 12% of tenants are facing financial hardship across our 5 offices. Some areas are reporting numbers around 15%-20%, which is having a big impact to landlords.
If a tenant advises they cannot pay their rent, we request evidence they are suffering hardship as a direct result of COVID-19
Items we can ask for to demonstrate hardship include: Employer Separation Certificate, Evidence they have applied for Job Seeker, Confirmation of Job Keeper eligibility, a letter from their Accountant if a business owner etc.

Download our Tenant Financial Hardship Application here.

4. Do you think this number will go up or down?

With Job Keeper and Job Seeker payments the number of tenants unable to pay their rent declined when we came out of our first lockdown. Now in Stage 4 restrictions we have seen an increase in tenants who are suffering hardship and can no longer pay rent.

5. What if my tenant doesn’t pay rent, will landlord insurance cover me?

We have been in touch with a number of landlord insurance providers, and from our discussions, this is based on the policy taken out. Many insurance companies have said they will cover loss of rent for the entire period, others have said for a certain number of weeks.
One of the major providers in the industry, Terri Scheer Insurance, has put together some FAQs which may be helpful at this time. View them here.
If you have any specific concerns or questions about your policy, we suggest giving your provider a call to ensure you are confident about what you are covered for over this time.
It’s worth noting that most providers are not taking on any new policies at this time. Check with your Property Manager if you require insurance cover.

6. Do I still need to pay my mortgage over this time?

Many banks are offering relief to landlords over this time. Please see below links to a range of banks and their assistance packages:
ANZ
NAB
Westpac
CBA

7. Is it possible to still do routine inspections over this time?

Absolutely, just in a different format. Routine Inspections are conducted virtually, either a FaceTime or zoom call with the tenant with follow up photos provided by the tenant. The photos are viewed and inserted into the Routine Inspection Report and sent to owners as normal.

8. My property is vacant, what is happening with open homes during this time?

Stage 4 restrictions means we are not permitted to do any face to face inspections, that means no open for inspections or private inspections. Our team arranged walk through videos of most of our vacant properties prior to lockdown.
If your property becomes vacant during lockdown we are not permitted to get professional photography, however we may have the opportunity to do a walk through video when conducting the final inspection.

9. My tenant has just given notice to vacate, are they permitted to vacate during lockdown?

Yes, a tenant can move in or out during Stage 4 by providing the required notice period in line with the end of their fixed term.

If the tenant is on a monthly tenancy, they need only to provide 28 days notice to vacate.

10. Can my scheduled rent increase go ahead?

Simply, no rent increases from 30 March 2020 for six months, or until the COVID-19 pandemic is declared over.

If a rent increase was agreed prior to 30 March 2020, and it was due to take place in the next 6 months, it now cannot take effect until the emergency period is over.

Rent increases are based on market value, so it may not be appropriate to increase the rent at this time.

11. What are the changes to maintenance at my property?

Unfortunately, maintenance work is not allowed, other than works deemed as urgent. Urgent repairs under the Residential Tenancies Act are as follows:

  • Burst water service
  • Blocked or broken toilet system
  • Serious roof leak
  • Gas leak
  • Dangerous electrical fault
  • Flooding or serious flood damage
  • Serious storm or fire damage
  • Failure or breakdown of any essential service or appliance provided by a landlord or agent for hot water, water, cooking, heating, or laundering
  • Failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply
  • Any fault or damage in the premises that makes the premises unsafe or insecure
  • An appliance, fitting or fixture that is not working properly and causes a substantial amount of water to be wasted
  • A serious fault in a lift or staircase
Read more here.

12. Can I meet my tenant at the property to check over things prior to them vacating or assess maintenance?

No, you cannot attend a property unless it’s vacant and only for urgent repairs. Vacating inspections must be contactless. The property owner cannot attend with the Property Manager.

13. Will there be more changes?

Following the introduction of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act we believe it would be unlikely that any major changes would be coming however it is unclear. We are staying up to date and should any further changes be announced we will provide this information to the community as soon as possible.

We are here to help navigate you and your property through this time. We will continue to keep you updated but if you have any questions between now and then, please do not hesitate to contact Zara Singh our General Manager, or your Property Manager here.

Find out more on our COVID-19 information page, or contact our property management team here.

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