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NSW COVID-19 - How Lockdown Will Affect The Real Estate Industry (July 2021)

NSW COVID-19 - How Restrictions Will Affect The Real Estate Industry (July 2021)

Sarah Lefebvre
Sarah Lefebvre
28/07/2021 | 5 MIN READ

Current as at 28 July 2021, and subject to change by the NSW Government

 

In support of the announcement by the NSW State Government to limit the spread of Covid, we want to assure you we are proactively working to adhere to the restrictions in place by the NSW State Government so that together, we all play a part in helping control the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The below are in effect from 6pm June 26 2021 until 11:59pm 28th August 2021.

 

Detailed below is how we’re working during the current COVID-19 restrictions in NSW. For more general information about the Covid-19 restrictions, visit the NSW Covid-19 website

 

‘Stay at home orders’ for Greater Sydney (including Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour)

If you reside in Greater Sydney, the NSW Government has introduced strict ‘stay at home orders’. This means residents, or people whose usual workplace of work is in Greater Sydney must stay at home unless it is for an essential reason. Given this;

  • Open Homes for sale and rental properties will not be conducted.
  • In person auctions will not be conducted.

 

We will be able to assist our clients during this time by offering:

  • Private Inspections to single persons only. To organise an appointment for a private inspection, please contact the selling agent, or the property manager for rental properties.
  • Online Auctions. To learn more on how you can attend and participate in an online auction, please contact the selling agent.
  • Property Appraisals for Sale or Rent. We are able to attend your property to conduct a property appraisal. We will minimise contact points with you and your furniture as much as possible as we discuss your property. We will observe Covid Safety practices at all times. 
  • Rental Ingoing/Outgoing Inspections and Pre-Settlement Inspections are able to be conducted during this time. We will observe Covid Safety practices and will minimise contact points at all times.

 

If you have any questions regarding how we can provide services to you during this time, please contact your local McGrath real estate agent.

 

Remainder of New South Wales

The below advice is for people that are not affected by the above announcement and restrictions imposed on the areas of Greater Sydney, Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour.

 

In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 across Regional New South Wales, the NSW Government has announced Covid-19 restrictions from 6pm 26th June 2021.

 

Under NSW Public Health Orders, real estate agents must have a Covid-19 safety plan for auctions to protect the health of workers and buyers. 

 

Property Inspections 

  • Home inspections for buyers and renters are permitted across Regional NSW, but are subject to a density of maximum of one person per 4sqm, which includes children.
  • Attendees are required to keep 1.5m away from other buyers  and renters.
  • Masks will be mandatory at all inspections.
  • Covid Safe protocol including hand sanitisers and recording keeping will be implemented by the real estate agents.
  • Covid safety signage will be displayed outside Open Homes.

   

Property Auctions

  • Live auctions can take place across the Regional NSW under the one person per 4sqm rule, which includes children.
  • We would encourage only people that are interested in bidding to attend.
  • Masks are mandatory at auctions taking place indoors or where social distancing is not possible. 
  • Covid safety signage will be displayed at auctions.

 

COVID support packages for tenants and landlords

These new, temporary measures will support both tenants and landlords. They will help reduce community movement and the potential spread of the virus during this phase of the pandemic.

This is general information only. For the most up to date information visit Fair Trading NSW here

60 day freeze on evictions

Tenants who can’t pay their rent in full because they are impacted by the recent COVID-19 outbreak can't be evicted between now and 11 September 2021.

 

What happens if your tenancy is terminated for other reasons?

The 60 day freeze does not apply to terminations for reasons other than rental arrears.

 

What happens after 11 September 2021?

After September 11, if the tenant is behind in paying the rent due under the agreement, the landlord will be able to take termination action in accordance with the usual termination provisions in the Act. For this reason, the tenant should continue to pay as much rent as they are able to afford.

 

Landlords and tenants are encouraged to work together and negotiate rent reductions if a tenant is COVID-19 impacted and is unable to pay the full rent. A rent reduction agreement will vary the rent payable under the tenancy agreement, and if a tenant then pays the reduced rent they will not accrue arrears.

 

The landlord will be able to claim a rebate up to $1500 for some or all of the reduced rent.

Financial support for landlords

The Residential Tenancy Support Payment provides up to $1500 per tenancy agreement. This grant will be available for landlords who agree to reduce the rent for COVID-19 impacted tenants from 14 July 2021. The rent reduction agreement can run longer than the 60-day moratorium period (i.e. beyond September 11) if the tenant and landlord agree.

 

The amount for each landlord will be capped at the reduction that is passed onto the tenants, or $1500, whichever is the lower.

 

Landlords cannot ask tenants to repay the reduced amount of rent that has been paid to them under the Residential Tenancy Support Payment.

 

There are also a range of other financial supports available. See nsw.gov.au

Applying for financial assistance

A landlord can claim either this payment or the COVID-19 land tax benefit (which is an offset of the land tax liability equal to the rent reduction granted), but not both.

 

For the purpose of a payment, Fair Trading will need to be satisfied there is a residential tenancy agreement in place such as a lodged rental bond and/or a written agreement.

 

An online process is being set up now to allow landlords or agents to claim the assistance which is paid direct to the landlord or their managing agent. The system will take a couple of weeks to be available.

 

Landlords and agents should commence negotiations with impacted tenants in the interim. 

 

What landlords and agents can do 

1. Negotiate with your tenants

Landlords and agents are encouraged to negotiate in good faith.  To confirm a tenant is an eligible COVID impacted tenant you can request reasonable evidence such as:

  • Payslips or bank statements showing reduced income
  • Documentation from an employer showing job termination/stand-down or reduced hours
  • Evidence of a business closure or business records showing loss of takings
  • Centrelink confirmation of eligibility for financial assistance
  • Medical certificates.

 

Once you and the tenant have reached an agreement to vary the rent, you must put it in writing. Fair Trading NSW have prepared a template (coming soon) to help you. The template contains the information you will need if you apply for financial assistance. Visit Fair Trading NSW for more information.

 

More details coming soon

The announcement has just been made and the legislation to underpin the moratorium and application processes are currently under development.  More details will be made available soon. We will do our best to keep this updated but for the most recent information visit Fair Trading NSW.

 

More COVID-19 information

Go to the NSW Government website for all detailed COVID-19 information.

 

Our Agents and Property Managers are here to assist

As always our agents and property managers are easily contactable via phone, email and social media or video conferencing. We would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have about one our properties, the local real estate market, your own home or any property related advice you may be seeking during this period.

 

In the meantime we hope that you and your families stay safe and healthy.

 

This update is subject to change and we will do our best to keep this page updated as announcements are made that impact the NSW real estate market. To stay across the latest developments visit the NSW Covid-19 website.

 

This information is provided subject to our Terms and Conditions.