The pandemic has caused uncertainty for many renters around Australia. We’ve outlined some tips and initiatives that may help assist you during COVID on your rental journey.
Negotiating a rent adjustment in 5 steps
If you’ve been financially impacted by COVID, you may be able to negotiate your rent with your property manager to work out a rent adjustment. These 5 steps may help you through this process.
1. Chat with your housemates
Have a chat with your housemates (if you have any) about how COVID has affected your household position around your current work, income and housing situations. Taking these factors into consideration, come to a consensus together.
2. Latest information
It’s important to keep track of supporting documents and information for your property manager to review. As written on Fair Trade NSW’s website, the following documents may help support your position:
- Payslips/bank statements showing reduced income.
- Documentation from an employer showing job termination or reduced hours.
- Evidence of a business closure or business records showing loss of takings.
- Centrelink confirmation of eligibility for financial assistance.
- Medical certificates.
For more information, refer to the relevant state below:
- VIC: Consumer Affairs Victoria
- QLD: Residential Tenancies Authority
- NT: Northern Territory Consumer Affairs
- ACT: ACT Office of Rental Bonds
- SA: Housing SA
- TAS: Office of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading
- WA: Department of Commerce
3. Figure out what you need
Based on what you can afford, strategise and decide on an ideal rent adjustment. Make sure to still offer to pay some portion of your rent each week, even if you’re unable to pay it all each week - it’s important to compromise with your property manager!
4. Talk to your property manager
Phone or video call your property manager and discuss your current situation. Provide them with the latest information, and see if you’re able to come to an agreed rent adjustment. Ensure to confirm the agreed adjustment via email or signed letter for your records.
5. Worst case scenario
Under the circumstances that you and your property manager are unable to agree, use the formal mediation process with Fair Trading.
6. Terminate lease and vacate
There’s always the option to save rent debt if you’re unable to afford to pay your rent during COVID. Talk to your property manager about your situation and terminate your lease. Exit the property on the agreed date, minimise bond claims, and return home to live with family and friends.
The government has put a few support measures in place to assist those affected by the COVID pandemic. Currently, they are as follows:
● Job Seeker payments
For those between 22 and Age Pension age who are looking for work. It’s also for those who are sick or injured and can’t do their usual work or study. You can read more about Job Seeker payments, and how to apply here.
● The Residential Tenancy Support package (NSW residents only)
Aims to protect both tenants and property managers. The measures prevent residential tenants, who have been financially impacted, from being evicted and also assists property managers who agree to renegotiate rent with their tenants. You can read more about the Residential tenancy support package on the NSW Government Fair Trade website here.
● The Pandemic Leave Disaster payment
For those who have been unable to earn an income due to direction to self-isolate for 14 days or for those who have been caring for someone who has COVID-19. You can find out how to apply for this payment here.
● The COVID-19 Disaster payment
The COVID-19 Disaster payment is aimed to help workers who are unable to earn money as a result of a COVID-19 lockdown or hotspot. You can find out more and how to apply here
How Snug is here to help
Snug simplifies the rental application process. We’ve introduced a few more features to our platform that will help streamline your renting journey.
● Apply with ease using Snug
We have a new function to enter your income (including wage salary and government payments e.g. Job Seeker/ Centrelink payments) to your Snug profile for easy applications!
● Virtual Viewings
We have virtual viewings for many of our properties, showcasing the properties features in a YouTube video.
● Propose your terms using Snug
When you apply to rent a property with Snug, you’re able to propose your ideal start date and rent amount which are to be agreed upon or negotiated by the property manager.
● Property notifications for price drops and viewings
We now have a feature where we send you a notification when a property you’re interested in becomes available for viewings or has a price drop. This means you’re able to put your best foot forward and stand out when applying for a property.
● Snug background checks, only $12.99!
A background check increases the quality of your application. They are instant, valid for 3 months and re-usable for other applications. It also gives the Property Manager confidence about you as a renter, as well as, not affecting your credit score.
We offer them for only $12.99 (valued at $25), you can find out more about our background checks here.
Getting ready to move?
If you are in the process of or getting ready to move, we also have a blog to guide you through moving during COVID-19.
With the stress and uncertainty imposed by COVID, it’s important to take time to self-reflect and practise mindfulness. Lifeline has outlined some key tips to managing your well-being and mental health during the pandemic on their website here.
Stay safe & take care!
The Snug Team