Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I’d be putting together a daily blog post, but it just goes to show – we never know what’s going to happen.
Anyway, here’s a summary of rentals/COVID-19 related information that I believe is useful, informative and will hopefully assist you and save you from having to wade through all the ‘clutter’.
Many people will not be able to earn an income during the nationwide lockdown from midnight 26 March till midnight 16 April. What are landlords who are unable to pay their levies to do? Is there any reprieve for tenants who are unable to pay their rental? Has our government done enough to offer reprieve?
In this article, Marlon Shevelew, answers these questions . . .
During a briefing on Wednesday, members of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster clarified what residents would be allowed to do and what has been prohibited during the lockdown which aims to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
News24 has compiled a list of what you can and cannot do.
This might be useful to send out to your tenants as an advisory.
Answers to common rentals/COVID-19 questions – thanks to TPN Credit Bureau – COVID19 Lockdown Update 24 Mar, 2020
– Question #1: What happens to tenants that need to move in on 1 April?
– Question #2: How do I handle incoming and outgoing inspections?
– Question #3: What happens to an Eviction Order now?
– Question #4: Can the tenant cancel their lease agreement in the usual way?
– Question #5: I have a vacant property, can I charge my new tenant rent from 1 April even though they can’t move in?
– Question #6: Does my tenant have to pay rent?
“It’s important to remember this time will pass. Where you have a good tenant, it might be wise to mitigate your damages as far as possible, rather than getting rid of that tenant. In the end, we have to get through this time together and minimising the damages we suffer is often best achieved through negotiation in a way that is mindful of the greater good of all.”
Alan Levy’s legal opinion, based on the President’s statement on Monday 23 March 2020 and its application to living in a community scheme during the lockdown period and convering:
- Community Scheme Amenities
- Complex Staff and Occupiers Staff
- Deliveries to the Complex
- Emergency Repairs
I know there are a lot of queries about this and I don’t have any definitive answer as yet – when I get one I will share it – however, I think that the guidance given in the above article for Community Schemes by Alan Levy provides the best guidance at this point in time:
Although not explicitly stated in Monday’s Presidential announcement, Richard Mayer of Fullard Mayer Morrison Inc. is of the opinion that, as matters currently stand, the forced leave that has been imposed upon employees by the lockdown is unpaid leave.
Communicating with Tenants Regarding Payment of Rent & Other Amounts Due on 1 April 2020
At this time of much uncertainty and sooooo much fake news, it’s more important than ever to communicate clearly.
I suggest that it’s important to inform your tenants clearly that, despite the Lockdown and current situation, they (and the Landlords) still need to fulfill their obligations under the Lease Agreement (unless specifically prohibited under any current regulations) – including the payment of rent.
Of course there will be many people that are negatively affected financially, but my advice is to give out one clear message at this point and that is that rent and other amounts owing are due and payable – then, after month end, one can deal with any issues on an individual basis.
Most importantly I think that normal arrears management procedures should continue to be followed to ensure that the necessary actions have been taken should a particular situation require further action later.
Rental Agents have to realise and remember that they are contracted by Landlords and they always need to act in their Landlord’s best interests. Of course one needs to display empathy and try and work through issues, but the Landlord does need to be put first.
To assist you with clear communication with tenants, I have prepared a draft communication for you to use:
You can download this template here.
Draft Landlord Communication re Lockdown
I think that it’s also important that one communicates clearly with Landlords as well – specifically with respect to the issues regarding leases that end at the end of March 2020 which are most affected.
I’ve put together a draft for you on this too – but I need to also acknowledge that some of the information and wording was provided by Charl Kuffner – thanks.
You can download the editable version of this template here.
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I’ve created a WhatsApp Group (‘RentalsOnly’ by ShaunLuyt’) in which I will be sharing information on a regular basis. This is the quickest way to get updated on new information published. You can join the Group by clicking on this link: https://chat.whatsapp.com/K5LJL1LwPtR6EaIO2xKl2r
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