News & Events

April 5th at 5:25am

Coronavirus hardship: Advice for tenants who are struggling to pay their rent

With coronavirus increasing financial stress for many Victorians, the number of renters unable to pay their rent on time has surged.

But there are also landlords who are experiencing reduced cash flow as the economic impact of the coronavirus takes hold.

President of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, Leah Calnan, said communication from both sides is vital.

“Keep the lines of communication open,” she told 3AW’s Tony Jones, filling in for Neil Mitchell.

“If somebody is having reduced hours or changes to their employment structure, get on the front foot and call and let your property manager know. Let them know when you’re going to be able to make payments and how much that payment might be. Then that information can be flowed through to the owner.”

Ms Calnan warned landlords that, at this stage, it’s unclear whether they’ll be able to make a claim on their landlord insurance if they choose not to evict tenants who are unable to pay their rent.

“If an owner chooses, out of good faith and morally, they’re not going to issue a termination notice are they then going to be financially burdened six months down the track when the insurance company says ‘well no, actually, you didn’t do what you could have done and therefore we’re not going to pay you any sort of loss?’,” she said.

“There’s an absolute flow on effect that we just don’t have answers to.”

For renters who are struggling, Ms Calnan suggested swapping rental payments from monthly to weekly, to make it easier to manage cash flow.