15th April, 2020
Management Rights | COVID-19 Support - Information Available
For those operating in the Management Rights industry, the impacts of COVID-19 has created a strong level of uncertainty, with effects felt across both permanent & short-term letting businesses.
Alongside keeping you updated on Federal & State Government announcements and business support packages - we wanted to provide a summary of the assistance available to Management Rights owners and tenants to help maintain day-to-day operations and management of their complexes.
The Queensland Government has released its new emergency grant program - 'COVID-19 Rental Grant' designed to support households impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Grant is a one-off payment of up to four weeks rent (maximum of $2,000), available to those affected by the outbreak and who do not have access to other financial assistance.
The rental assistance package will be paid directly to the tenants' lessor and payments can be accessed by contacting the Residential Tenancies Authority.
For more information and to apply, please refer to the QLD Government website - here.
Office of Fair Trading
To support those in the accommodation & property industry, the Office of Fair Trading has advised that 'some restrictions have been placed on property licenses regarding social distancing and open-houses, inspections, and auctions'.
Whilst open-houses have been banned under the QLD Government's direction, property managers are still able to perform 'private viewings by appointment' - ensuring they keep to strict social distancing & hygiene protocols.
Additionally, the Office of Fair Trading has emphasised the transition to online digital platforms to help complete their contractual obligations.
For more information, please refer to the OFT Fact-Sheet (which can be found here).
Residential Tenancy Authority
In response to COVID-19, the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) has advised that they are monitoring Government and legislative reply, and will await direction from Federal & State levels.
As discussed above, the RTA is working in partnership with the QLD Government on the release of an emergency 'COVID-19 Rental Grant', supporting tenants to pay rent. More information can be accessed by contacting the RTA directly.
Additionally, the Authority also suggests where a tenancy is impacted by the evolving situation, all parties - tenants, property managers, and owners - are encouraged to consider each situation individually, establishing clear channels of communication, and negotiating a suitable outcome.
It is also their view that parties be "understanding and reasonable" in their dealings, given the unique circumstances and evolving nature of the pandemic.
For more information, please refer to the 'Latest Information' resources available on the RTA website - here.
Australian Resident Accommodation Managers Association (ARAMA)
Across the COVID-19 outbreak, ARAMA has been active in keeping its members updated on the latest developments and providing channels of support for managers & Management Rights owners/operators.
For owner/operators, there are a variety of assistance tools available via the ARAMA website, including e-bulletin checklists, (released every Tuesday & Thursday), live webinar events & recordings, and a combination of written resources.
For members, ARAMA has created a dedicated 'COVID-19 Online Forum', providing detailed question & answer responses surrounding the impacts of the outbreak, and effects on accommodation & Management Rights complexes.
Additionally, ARAMA has provided guidance for owners/managers on developing your 'COVID-19 Policy & Procedures' manual, as well as a 'Business Action Checklist' in response to the changing conditions.
For more information on the tools & resources available, visit the ARAMA website - here.
From an insurance perspective, it is important for owners/operators, and managers to seek guidance from their providers about the support & assistance packages available.
Landlord & building insurers such as EBM, Terri Scheer, and Honan Insurance are actively working to increase their level of business operations and support available to customers, providing a variety of online and contact centre platforms.
Alongside this, they are actively monitoring State & Federal Government announcements and direction.
In response to COVID-19, RentCover has released their checklist to provide tenants & landlords with clarity on protections available, and advice on what can be passed on between both parties.
To access the full FAQ forum available on the RentCover website - follow the link here.
For more information on assistance available to the Management Rights industry, or for support in addressing tax & business obligations during COVID-19, please contact Smiljan Jankovic - Director, Archer Gowland on (07) 3002 2699.