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COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Latest Update for Landlords

 
25 March 2020
 

Advice to deal with coronavirus/COVID-19

As you will be well aware, the coronavirus pandemic has escalated and continues to impact all facets of society.

From a property management perspective, there are both economic and social ramifications that could impact your rental property.

As this situation continues to unfold, we believe it is important to take steps to mitigate the risk associated with this virus.

Rent

Cabinet has agreed to freeze all rent increases.

Over the coming weeks, many tenants could have their work hours cut back significantly or even lose their jobs. The Government has announced that businesses can apply for wage subsidies to help affected businesses. There is more information here: 

https://www.employment.govt.nz/leave-and-holidays/other-types-of-leave/coronavirus-workplace/wage-subsidy/

We have sent an email to all tenants to advise them of this scheme and suggested that they inform their employer should their incomes be affected. Unfortunately, in the current climate, there could be rent arrears, but we will keep you updated and follow routine procedures if there is.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, says the World Health Organisation.

Routine Inspections- Postponed

New Zealand having moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 all routine inspections planned for the next 4-weeks effective from and including March 26th, 2020 are postponed. Many insurance policies require three monthly inspections to fulfil insurance requirements. The Insurance Council of New Zealand has advised that landlords check with their own insurer about their specific requirements and how they are treating it.

Please email your property manager and advise us if there is a requirement to complete routine inspections in a specific time period as this will assist our prioritising at a future date when access is approved by Central Government.

Viewings- Postponed

New Zealand having moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 all viewings for the next 4-weeks effective from and including March 26th, 2020 are postponed.

Emergency Contracting work

If this is related to essential services e.g. power, water, waste, gas then it is likely this can be undertaken during the lockdown period. However, we are waiting confirmation from MBIE on this matter.

The following precautionary measures when responding to emergency work.:

a) Ask the contractor before they do the work to complete a health declaration statement. If they are unwell an alternative contractor will be contacted.

b) Ask the tenant to complete a health declaration statement before the emergency contracting work commences. Tenants are likely where appropriate and practical to be requested to vacate whilst the works are completed

c) Ask the tenant to ensure all surfaces and door handles are wiped down before the contracting work.

d) Recommend that the contractor use gloves or hand sanitiser while completing the work.

No cause terminations:

Tenants cannot be issued with a 90-day no cause termination notice during the lockdown period. We are awaiting further details from MBIE on this issue

Owner wants to move back into the property during lockdown:

The current law states a landlord must give 42 days’ notice if an owner or their immediate family wish to use the premises for their own use. Under the proposed changes (which are currently under review) this would increase to 63 days’ notice. We are waiting for confirmation in regard to which notice period should be used if this is required

Tenancies due to end or commence during lockdown:

MBIE is confirming the situation and we will update members as soon as we have any further information.

Owner Statements:

No change and these will continue at month end as per normal.

 

This is a challenging time for all businesses and public alike. If we take precautionary measures, we can do our bit in limiting the spread of Covid-19. It remains an everchanging landscape and we will update you with new developments as they come to hand. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your property manager.

Shelley Davis -0274 271 616

Mark Paterson-0274 655 532

Mandy King- 0272 488 462

Tracy Baxter-0272 000 844