Update 18th March 2020

With the prevalence of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Australia slowly spreading, the well-being of HomeRentals clients and our staff is of great importance to us. We are emailing or texting you to update you on our contingency plans as a business as of close of business today.

Our office is now closed to the public, however some of our staff are in attendance handling the day to day running of our business. In addition, the remainder of our staff are working from home and have access to all our software and databases. At this stage, we will make every effort to keep our business running, and keep all our processes as normal as possible.

Following is a brief outline of factors that will affect you, our tenants

RENT PAYMENTS- Rent is to be paid as normal. We do now no longer except payments in cash or eftpos. All payments are to be made by direct transfer or Bpay. If you are not already doing so, please contact our office. If your rent payment is going to be late, please contact our office.

MAINTENANCE- At this stage, all our tradespeople are still working. However, subject to the tradesperson, there might be a requirement to vacate your home whilst actioning certain types of maintenance. Be aware there is a maintenance form on our website under the "TENANTS" subheading.

ROUTINE INSPECTIONS- As of close of business today, we are postponing all our normal routine inspections. This will be reviewed on a monthly basis and you will be updated accordingly. Be aware it is still your responsibility to maintain your home in a presentable manner.

OPEN HOMES/VIEWING- As of close of business today, we will no longer be showing homes to prospective tenants whilst they are occupied by another tenant. This is not only to protect our current tenants, but also our staff and the public from possible infection.

LEASE RENEWALS- As of close of business today, you will not be able to enter our office. If you wish to renew your lease, please sign where indicated and either return by post or scan and email a copy to info@homerentals.com.au.

INFECTION IN HOUSEHOLD- Please advise our staff if you have been diagnosed with the virus, or if you are under self-isolation due to government regulations.

Our priority is to ensure that all our clients and staff remain healthy. If you have any queries or questions, please feel free to contact us. Please be patient as we have limited office staff on duty. If any of the above circumstances change, we will update you accordingly. 

Please remain safe and healthy during these trying times that we all face.

 

Update 24th March

GOVERNMENT:  We are currently awaiting advice whether there will be goverment subsidies to support tenants if they lose their jobs. 

JOB LOSSES:  Please advise our company as soon as possible if you will have trouble paying your rent. As we are understaffed  in our office, please contact us by email as the preferred method via our website.

Remember in these difficult times to stay safe and look after your families.

 

Update 25th March

OPEN HOUSES:  The Government announced last night that Open Houses and Auctions are now banned for the Real Estate Industry. As stated earlier, we have not shown properties for rent whilst there has been a tenant in place. We have also not conducted Open Homes for the purposes of showing prospective tenants through a property. What we have been doing and will continue to do so, is make separate appointments to prospective tenants to show them on a one to one basis. No children are allowed, and the prospective tenants have been told not to touch anything. Our Property Managers are following strict separation guidelines  as per the government instructions as well as for their own safety.

If you wish to make an appointment to view one of our properties, please understand these guidelines not only for your safety, but for the safety of other prospective tenants as well as our Property Managers.

An appointment can be made by clicking the link on the property you are interested in and making sure you are registered in our system. Our Property Managers will contact you for an appropriate time to view the property.

 

Update 30th March

Last night the government announced that no Tenant can be evicted in the next 6 months. We are awaiting clarification and more information from the Government over this statement.

We will reiterate here that if you lose your job due to Covid 19, please tell us as soon as possible. 

 

Update 9th April

Below is a media statement from the QLD Premier.

Special COVID-19 Protections for residential tenants and owners

 

The Palaszczuk Government has unveiled a package of measures to implement the freeze on evictions. Deputy Premier Jackie Trad is encouraging tenants, property owners and agents to work together to sustain tenancies during this public health emergency. “We’ve all heard of stories of too many Queenslanders who are doing it tough right now, and the Palaszczuk Government recognises the hardship they are suffering.  “It’s not in the interest of anyone to have tenants left without a place to go when we are fighting to prevent the spread of a deadly disease.

“We will not allow anyone to be evicted because they can’t pay their rent as a result of this crisis.”

Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni said that Queenslanders would always rally to support each other when times were tough, and that he was encouraged by the already high number of people resolving issues and supporting each other. “Neither landlords nor tenants are to blame for this, and now is the time for them to work together to get through this pandemic” Mr de Brenni said. “The Palaszczuk Government has launched an online rental hub at www.covid19.qld.gov.au/the-hub to provide all of the information and resources to support discussions between property owners and renters. “For those that can’t reach an agreement, there will be compulsory conciliation for COVID-19  related disputes between tenants and landlords through the Residential Tenancies Authority. “In asking tenants and property owners to find a solution that works for all parties, the RTA will have clear guidelines that prohibit a requirement to draw on superannuation, or sell basic personal assets.”

Freeze on evictions

Mr de Brenni said the Palaszczuk Government will implement the National Cabinet decision to freeze evictions due to rent arrears for Queensland tenants impacted by COVID-19. “We’re providing certainty by implementing a retrospective freeze on evictions, as of Sunday 29 March 2020. New protections now mean that property owners will be prohibited from evicting a tenant if their lease expires during COVID-19 public health crisis. “This means that a property owner must offer an extension to the lease for at least a further 6 months,” said Mr de Brenni .“Alternatively, if a tenant cannot pay rent due to impacts of coronavirus and wants to end their lease early, they will be allowed to do so. “Tenants will still be required to demonstrate respect for their property and neighbours by maintaining their home in accordance with their tenancy agreement.”

Rental Support

The Deputy Premier said the Palaszczuk Government had also introduced failsafe measures to support tenants experiencing hardship and unable to access or waiting for other financial support be there for Queensland tenants if all else failed. “New eligibility criteria is now in place for rental grants of up to four weeks rent, or a maximum of $2,000. “This is a last resort for Queenslanders in need of support while they are waiting for federal government support to prevent homelessness.”

DFV Protections

Mr de Brenni said the Palaszczuk Government would also implement legislative protections that would  allow Queenslanders experiencing domestic and family violence to leave a rental property in a hurry. “We want all Queenslanders to be safe at home, but for some people this is just not the case. “If you need to escape in a hurry, we won’t allow paperwork to stand in your way. “Immediate support to end tenancies quickly, change locks without seeking approval, access bond and separate from co-tenancies will be introduced.”

 

Update 14th March 

Smoke alarms updates

We have recently received information from both the REIQ ( Real Estate Institute of QLD) and Smoke Alarm Solutions who maintain the smoke alarms in your property on behalf of the landlord, that some tenants are refusing entry for this mandatory inspection. I can understand some tenants refusing entry if they are in quarantine, however please do not reduce one risk and possibly create a a larger risk. I have created a link to the PDF document about the latest advice and I would urge anyone with an upcoming smoke alarm inspection to carefully read this advice. I have included our responses to both yourselves and the landlords if entry is refused.

https://homerentals.com.au/sc/default/doc/Coronavirus%20%20Smoke%20Alarm%20Maintenance_.pdf

Update 20th March

Latest response from QLD Goverment with regards to smoke alarm inspections

A Balanced & Fair Approach

The Palaszczuk Government announced on Friday 17 April 2020 that smoke alarm inspections are to continue amid the COVID-19 restrictions.
The minister clearly stated smoke alarm inspections will continue to ensure no property owner or mum and dad investor loses their home because of Coronavirus and the new arrangements that have been established.
Queensland MP Mick de Brenni said the Government "will make sure that property owners and their agents can still access the property for emergency and essential repairs. In particular for things that are about health and safety. Tenants will still be required to allow an electrician [or technician] to come in and make sure their smoke alarm is still functioning." 
“It would be a terrible outcome if through the protecting of tenants we saw the loss of life because we didn’t have a nuance approach to access the property.” Mr Benni said.
The framework and established set of guidelines will be published in the next couple of days and made available online on Wednesday 22nd April.

 

Update 26th March

The QLD Goverment recently passed new legislation with regard to the latest Tenancy Laws surrounding COVID 19. There are new forms to fill out if you are experiencing difficulty paying your rent. Proof of hardship is now required on a separate Tenant Assist form as well as signing a variation to your agreement on Form 18D if you have any sort of rent reduction.  As always, please contact our office if you need assistance.

 

Update 20th May

HomeRentals Queensland plan to recommence physical routine inspections again subject the the QLD Covid 19 Emergency legislation as detailed below.

We plan on commencing these Inspections from the 1st July 2020.

The following is a letter you will receive prior to your Routine Inspection with your rights of refusal.  

Please note that we would prefer that you are not present at the Inspection, and in addition that all room doors are left open so that our property managers only have  to touch the entry and or rear door. These will be sanitized after touching. We also do not look in cupboards or draws.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, it is important that we take all reasonable precautions to maintain the health and safety of tenants and occupants, staff, tradespeople and any other persons visiting the premises in connection with the tenancy.

Accordingly, to assist HomeRentals Queensland to determine whether any restrictions will apply to entering the premises during the COVID-19 emergency period, could you please advise us:

1.  If a person at the property is subject to a quarantine direction (for example, the person has arrived in Queensland and is required to self-quarantine for 14 days in compliance with a public health direction); or

2.  Whether you consider the entry would contravene a public health direction (https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-health-directions-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers); or

3.  Whether you refuse entry to the premises because you, or another person staying at the property, is a vulnerable person.

Vulnerable person means any of the following persons:

  • an individual over 70 years of age;
  • an individual over 65 years of age who has an existing health condition or comorbidities;
  • an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander over the age of 50 who has an existing health condition or comorbidities;
  • an individual whose immune system is compromised.

Further, to minimise the risk of coronavirus spread, could you please advise if you or any other tenant or occupant:

  • has developed COVID-19; or
  • has been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days and has developed respiratory illness with or without fever; or
  • has symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, sore throat, cough, fatigue or difficulty breathing.