With real estate agents, landlords and tenants all facing uncertainty due to the spread of coronavirus, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria is investigating concerns from conducting inspections safely through to dealing with rental arrears.
REIV is seeking clarification from Consumer Affairs Victoria regarding some current practical matters to provide some clarity to all stakeholders.
Some of the matters raised are:
- Urgent and non-urgent repairs in a tenanted property
The application of the Residential Tenancies Act and Retail Leases Act as they apply to property maintenance, during the current state of emergency where access to tradespeople will be limited.
- Rental arrears
Some tenants may find themselves in financial difficulty, which could impact their ability to meet their rental obligations. In turn, many landlords rely on the rental income to repay mortgages or support their day-to-day expenses. This extends to commercial properties where many tenants may not be able to meet lease obligations, and property owners will experience shortfalls in cashflows.
- Conducting the business of real estate
Property inspections, negotiations and auctions are all part of everyday real estate business. Social distancing requirements will challenge the way agents fulfill their obligations to clients and customers.
REIV CEO Gil King said they are also seeking advice from the Andrews Government on any support measures planned for the sector.
“We are aware that the banks have been urged by the government to implement a responsible approach to defaults on mortgages and loans during this critical time,” he said.
“As a sector, real estate is dominated by small businesses that will be tested during this period.
“Most REIV members have proactively contacted their clients, updated procedures in offices to minimize person-to-person contact and implemented a series of hygiene initiatives.
“We applaud these measures by the real estate sector.”
Peak real estate bodies in other states, including Western Australia, are also encouraging extra stimulus from state governments.