Covid -19

Corona Virus (COVID-19)

At Viridity Real Estate we are thinking of all of the people who have been affected by COVID-19, and we appreciate the healthcare workers, local communities, and governments around the world who are on the front line working to contain this coronavirus. Please know that we are vigilantly monitoring the COVID-19 situation around the clock and intend to keep you updated in every way we can.

Our office is still open for business however we are exercising precautions and limiting our face to face interactions.

Good news we can still assist you with your property needs via by private inspections, virtual property tours,  virtual property appraisals and online/digital auctions.

If you would like more information from the Australian Government please click here: https://www.health.gov.au/

COVID-19 Tenant FAQ’s

I’m currently in self-isolation. Should I let my property manager know?

Tenants should let their landlord know if they are self-isolating or sick with COVID-19, especially if the agent, landlord or tradesperson plans to visit or enter the rental. They should also make sure any other tenants, flatmates or visitors are aware of the situation and how it will work. See self-isolation guidelines

I have lost my job and I can’t cover the rent. What should I do?

If you are unable to meet your rent obligations, you should let us know immediately. There is support for tenants and landlords who are experiencing financial hardship. We anticipate this announcement will provide some much-needed guidance and framework around how to get both our Tenants & Landlords through this difficult time of job loss across the board.

Once we receive your request and evidence to support your lost income or job, such as Employment Separation Certificate, we will contact the landlord. Some landlords will be more willing and able to accommodate requests for paying a reduced or deferred rent for a short period, especially if their mortgage costs are low and allow them to do so. However, there is no provision within the Residential Tenancies Act to compel landlords to act with leniency in this situation and some landlords may not be in a financial position to offer this to you.

We encourage you to consider the following:

  • Have you had a discussion with your Employer as to whether your job is likely to be reinstated once the health crisis subsides?
  • Do you know that you can contact the Department of Workplace Relations for guidance around employment during this time? More information can be found here – Workplace Laws
  • Are you covered via an insurance policy for Income Protection Insurance?
  • Have you engaged with Centrelink with respect to an allowance that will likely also include rental assistance? More information can be found here – Centrelink
  • Have you checked with your Superannuation Fund as to whether you can access your super early? More information can be found here – Super
  • If you have any mortgages or personal loans, have you checked with your financier as to whether you can pause payments due to hardship?

If you feel you that you are no longer able to continue residing at the property, please contact your property manager to discuss the options available.

Can my landlord continue holding inspections for sale and for lease?

Landlords and their agents must ensure they do not breach the reasonable peace, comfort and privacy of their tenants. At the moment this may require taking steps to prevent the spread of disease by people visiting during an inspection of your property. They may need to consider:

  • Limit the number of people inside a property at any one time to maintain safe distances and adhere to the recent government announcement which prevents them from holding open homes for sale or lease. Please note that inspection by private appointment is still allowed
  • Asking every person intending to attend an inspection if they have returned to Australia from overseas in the past 14 days and also if they are currently experiencing fever, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath ( the current main symptoms assoc with Covid 19). If the answer is yes, then the landlord or agent should tell the person that they cannot enter the house until they have self-isolated for 14 days or they have had a Covid 19 test that has come back negative for the virus
  • Providing sanitiser/hand wash for people to use when attending an inspection and making sure they and the agent use it
  • Ensure no one touches anything fixtures or fittings while visiting the property

Can my landlord continue to conduct routine inspections?

Both property managers and tenants have ongoing legal and insurance obligations relating to routine inspections and COVID-19 does not remove these. Any tenant who is unwell or in self-isolation should inform us immediately by email so we can postpone your upcoming scheduled inspection. Rest assured that our team will be taking special precautions whilst onsite at your property to minimise any risk.

I have maintenance to report. Will it get fixed?

Your property manager will be prioritising any urgent repairs at this time. That said, should you have any general repairs, they will be attended to when possible assuming there are skilled tradespeople available to carry out the work.

My property manager wants to send a tradesperson into my property but I’m not comfortable with it. What can I do?

If the repair is urgent such as a smoke alarm or hot water system, the repair must proceed as it is deemed urgent according to the Residential Tenancy Agreement. If you have concerns, contact your Property Manager and ask them what precautions the tradesperson will be taking prior and during visiting the property.

Can my landlord evict me during this crisis?

You can attempt to negotiate with your landlord – if you are already in arrears, it’s better to be proactive.

I’m having trouble with other household bills, what can I do?

If you are having trouble paying other household bills like electricity, gas or water contact your provider/retailer to find out about their customer assistance program and its eligibility criteria. All electricity and gas retailers are required to have a customer assistance program. If you are eligible under the program you are protected from disconnection and your retailer should work with you to develop a suitable payment arrangement and offer other relevant relief or support.

Have a look also at the Australian Energy Regulator’s info for customers in hardship. Usefully they have their fact sheets in a range of languages other than English.

You can apply to have a phone hearing. Ensure you inform the Tribunal if you are in a higher risk category, for example, if you are immune suppressed or a carer for elderly relatives, so they can consider this when assessing and prioritising your request. While you are able to do a phone hearing on a mobile, in general landlines are preferred because of the reliability of the line.

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/healthdirect-coronavirus-covid-19-symptom-checker

Which bank is offering the lowest home loan interest rates right now?

Which bank is offering the lowest home loan interest rates right now?

It’s a mad, mad world out there, with record low interest rates and another cut to the RBA’s cash rate on the horizon.

7 must-ask questions when buying a property

If you’re serious about buying a property, knowledge is power – that means asking loads of questions before signing dotted lines.

But often the biggest mistake people make when buying a house is becoming emotionally attached before asking all the key questions about the property. Once you get to settlement day it’s too late to ask and all the problems with the home are now your responsibility.

We ask industry experts to reveal the must-ask questions every home buyer and investor needs to ask.

5 questions to ask before buying
1. Can you show me a recent property sales report to show what the house is worth?

This is one of the most important questions but many people don’t think to ask it, says Buyer’s Agent Stefan Miraglia, Director of IPC Property in Adelaide.

“You should question the agent on why they think the house is worth what they are selling it for,” Miraglia says.

“Ask them to provide you with a recent sales report that shows other similar properties and what they sold for in recent times.

“You want to make sure the house you are buying is fairly priced compared to the rest of the local market and you are not overpaying.”

2. Why is the vendor selling?

The answer to this question can assist you when negotiating price, according to Buyer’s Agent Deborah West, Principal of SydneySlice Buyers Agent.

It can potentially save you thousands of dollars when you go to negotiate the sale price.

“If the vendor has already bought a property they will be more motivated to sell,” West says.

“If they are looking to buy a new property they may like a longer settlement period. Is it a divorce or deceased estate? Often a deceased estate will need to run through to auction.”

Knowing the reason behind the sale is invaluable information to a buyer – make sure you ask.

3. How long has the property been on the market?

If a property has been on the market for more than six weeks, assume it is wrongly priced or there is something wrong with it, West says. The average time a home is on the market in Australia is around a month so if it’s drastically different to that then it’s worth asking why.

“Ask if the property was taken to auction and failed to sell and if so, what happened at the auction. If the property was passed in at auction make sure you ask if the pass-in price was from a buyer or if it was a vendor bid.”

4. Are there any known issues with the property, land or neighbours’ properties?

There might be something that you haven’t noticed that could affect the value of the property so it is important to ask the agent if there are any issues that could change your mind.

“Even though your building inspector or conveyancer should help pick up most of the potential issues before settlement, you should ask the agent before signing the contract just in case they can point anything out,” Miraglia says.

While you shouldn’t rely on it and need to do independent research: “Most agents want to act in good faith as they want the sale to go through so will tell you upfront if they know of any issues that may affect your decision.”

house front

Do you research around the surrounding properties to get a good idea of the home’s current issues. Picture: realestate.com.au

5. Can I afford to buy this property?

It sounds like an obvious question. But Miraglia questions how many owner-occupiers and investors actually ask this before buying a house.

“Buying a house is an expensive process and can be quite costly if you have to sell it six months later because you can’t afford the repayments,” he says.

“Remember, the bank might approve you for a certain home loan amount but will this mean you can still afford the same lifestyle you were used to?”

According to Head Conveyancing Specialist of CM Lawyers in Sydney, Alex Sapounas, buyers need to ask themselves “how will I cope with buying the property if interest rates go up by 2%?”

“They need to understand their budget and sit down with their mortgage broker or bank to fully understand their financial position,” Sapounas says.

6. Am I really happy with this house and its location?

Buying a house is super exciting but can also be stressful and time-consuming. And that can make buyers vulnerable to making mediocre choices.

“Spending weekends going to open inspections is challenging and after potentially missing out on a few houses, you might jump at the next one that comes along and find yourself hastily signing a contract,” Miraglia warns.

“It’s important to strongly consider your decision to sign a contract on a house and make sure that it is the right house for you, not the house that is right now!”

7. Why am I buying?

It’s often the simplest questions we forget to ask ourselves. If you don’t know the answer clean and simple, it is not time to buy a property.

“Will it be your own home or will it be an investment? It is very important to know the answer to this question,” Sapounas says.

“If it will be your own home then its price will become secondary to finding the right features and location for your budget.

“If it will be an investment then the price is everything because that will determine its return.

“I have bought investment properties I would never live in myself but their figures stack up; likewise many $3 million houses would make poor investments because their yields would be very low.

“It is crucial to know why you are buying – you usually cannot have both in one property.”

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