What you need to know about leases and rental properties during the lockdown
The first of the month is traditionally when people move into their new homes or rental properties. However, because of the 21-day national lockdown, new leases have been suspended.
In light of the measures of the lockdown that aim to prohibit movement and promote physical distancing, moving house is out of the question.
In response to Covid-19, agencies have implemented safety precautions for their tenants and staff.
Virtual tours and face-time conversations with agents and landlords will be made available to clients who are interested in properties.
Tenants who were due to move at the end of March will have to remain in place at least until after the nationwide lockdown which ends at midnight on April 16.
The MD of national property management company Trafalgar, Andrew Schaefer, says the state-of-disaster regulations prohibit one from moving from one home to another during the lockdown.
Tenants will not be required to pay rent to the new landlord until they can take occupation “because these circumstances are beyond their control, and the landlord/agent will not be able to let the property to someone else during lockdown, even if it is empty,” he said.
Award-winning technology-based rental management company HouseME’s special measures include the following:
- No new leases will be issued for a start date during the lockdown (March 26-April 16)
- HouseME will facilitate a change to start/end date of leases that commence or expire during the lockdown period
- Leases commencing after the lockdown period will continue as usual (after April 17).
Regional director and CEO of RE/MAX Southern Africa Adrian Goslett welcomed the lockdown but also recognised the strain it puts on businesses and the greater economy.
“The housing market will inevitably take a knock over this time” said Goslett. “I commend the president for taking such proactive measures against this pandemic. After speaking to Dario Castiglia, regional owner for RE/MAX Italy, I was convinced and firmly believe that a full lockdown is the answer to flattening the contamination curve and making sure that our hospitals do not get overrun by new cases,” he said.
“With pending economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, landlords need to know what options are open to them if tenants lose their income due to the lockdown.
“If they are quality tenants who have previously always paid their rent in full and on time, we would suggest that they be asked to sign a waiver to the effect that their deposit may be used as rent for a certain time instead of it having to be held in trust,” said Schaefer.
SOURCE: TMG DIGITAL