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COVID-19: What to do if you can’t pay rent
We’ve all had our lives changed by COVID-19 – some more than others. In these uncertain and economically fraught times, many of us have a looming worry: What happens if I can’t pay rent?
If your income has been affected
Here’s what you should know.
Know that you can’t be evicted
Thanks to the eviction moratorium, renters Australia-wide will keep a roof over their heads during these difficult times. What’s an eviction moratorium? In plain English, it means a temporary ban on evictions. If you’re in financial distress due to COVID-19—for e.g. if you’ve lost your job or had your working hours significantly reduced—starting April, your landlord can’t evict you for the next six months. This applies to both residential and commercial tenants.
After the six-month period, the unpaid rent will still be due. But what this means is that renters have time – time to get back on their feet, whether that’s with a new job, or getting their business running again as restrictions are lifted. This way, businesses and homes are more likely to be preserved, so the community as a whole can survive this tough period.
Talk to your landlord
If you think you’ll be unable to pay rent this month, reach out to your landlord or property manager – and do it early. It’s a difficult conversation to have, especially if you’re a tenant who always pays their bills on time, but it’s one that needs to happen soon so your landlord isn’t left in the dark.
If you can still afford to pay some of the rent, you could try negotiating a rent reduction. Show evidence of lost income, such as pay slips. One idea that may work is to negotiate a reduction equal to your lost income or business profits, but it’s important to be fair! Landlords often have mortgages to pay and they shouldn’t have to bear the brunt of this catastrophe alone. We’re all in this situation together – both landlords and tenants – and the best way to navigate it is to look out for each other. This includes honouring your lease and not asking for lower rent if your income hasn’t been significantly affected by COVID-19. Remember, the relationship between landlords and tenants is one that will probably have to continue after this crisis.
If you’re a business
Small business owners have been hit with plenty of uncertainty lately. AAMI is here to help lessen some of that. AAMI’s Small Business COVID-19 Relief Package allows small business insurance customers* who need assistance to elect to defer their monthly premium instalments for up to six months.1 You can apply for a premium deferral online. Together we can help your business come out the other side.
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1 Effective for renewals or monthly premiums from 1 March – 30 June 2020.
*Eligible policies are AAMI business insurance policies in force as at 1 April 2020, or renewals of those policies. Offer may be withdrawn without prior notice.
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as AAMI Business Insurance. Any advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before you make any decision regarding this product. The Target Market Determination is also available.
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