Market Updates

How COVID-19 is affecting Adelaide Hills real estate. FAQs for renters and homeowners.

The resilient Adelaide Hills’ spirit will get us through. We’ve been through a lot so far this year and we’ll make it past this, too. Take a Sunday drive to one of the areas hit by the bushfires and you’ll see a vibrant green, where it was charred just weeks ago.

This resource is the first of many that we’ll create to help you navigate this unprecedented situation. With self-isolation orders in place, feeling secure in your home is the most important thing right now.

Check in with our page each week for new updates that are relevant to you. With legislations changing fast, refer to this for all-things real estate during COVID-19. Before we jump in, please know, the Nitschke team has transitioned to working from home, remotely.  

If you’d like to book a meeting with our team, reach out and we’ll set up a 30-minute call to answer any of your questions.

COVID-19 FAQs relating to Adelaide Hills real estate

For Renters:

Is there any support available for Adelaide Hills rentals/renters?
Rental assistance payments are a work in progress. As of April 2, the support available includes JobKeeper Allowance, JobSeeker Allowance, the Coronavirus Supplement and the potential of two separate, one-off payments of $750.

What happens if I lose my job and can’t pay rent?
If you’re unable to pay rent, contact us immediately. We’re expecting a rental relief announcement soon, then we’ll be able to provide guidance on how this will work. Our role is to support both the tenant and landlord during this difficult time.

You will need to source an Employment Separation Certificate, so we can contact the landlord to discuss deferring payments. Please refer to this resource for information about current support that’s available.

Can I get evicted during this crisis? If so, is there a grace period?
The Australian Prime Minister has announced a six-month ban on evictions of residential tenants who are experiencing financial struggles.

I have maintenance to report. Will it get fixed?
For emergency repairs, this is deemed as ‘essential’ services. Your property manager or landlord will communicate this with you. All non-essential works will be attended to as soon as possible.

Will there still be routine inspections, during isolation?
As of May 11, inspections and auctions are now permissible, with an attendee limit of 10.

My lease is up and I’m planning to move. How do I find a new place?
Our team was offering one-on-one, open inspections by appointment (instead of public viewings), but now we’ve moved into Step 1, which allows viewings of up to 10 people. We also continue virtual tours, if you prefer to stay inside your home and view online.

Is now a good time to buy a property?
The Reserve Bank has dramatically reduced the cash rate to a record-low of 0.25%. This means, it’s now cheaper than ever before to manage a mortgage debt. If you’re in a position to buy, it could be a smart time to do it.

There’s less competition in the market and interest rates are historically low. Property has historically been a safer investment route, compared to the share market.

For Homeowners:

What if my tenants can’t pay rent?
Of course, this has a flow-on effect to you. It all depends on the circumstance. Can you afford to cover the monthly rent and continue paying the mortgage? Is it possible to secure a few months leeway from your lender?

What if I can’t pay my mortgage?
Get in touch with your bank, as some outlets are offering mortgage relief, such as ‘freezing’ repayments for up to six months. Low fixed-rate home loans, refinancing or extending out the mortgage term (years) without penalty are also alternative options.

Can I still sell my house?
Yes, we understand that it might not be possible to postpone selling your house. We’ve switched to one-on-one and small group inspections, by appointment. Talk to us about a strategy to put up your home for sale in the Adelaide Hills.

Should I refinance my home loan?
It’s worth considering for a few reasons. You can secure a lower interest rate and have access to more flexible loan features. There’s the possibility that you can reduce your loan term, help with cash flow now or borrow against your equity to renovate. Of course, be aware of the costs of refinancing. It’s best to talk to a real estate professional if you’re thinking of refinancing your home.

What are some good DIY projects I can do right now, to add value to my home?
With all this extra time on your hands at home, consider making some updates to improve the commercial (and lifestyle) value. While you may not be able to get trades in to start work, there are jobs you can do (and plans you can start on, to submit to council).

Head to your local Bunnings with a list of supplies for DIY jobs, such as painting, adding extra storage, replacing tapware, creating a garden bed, and install floating bookshelves. Think of any home improvement task that’s been on your list.

For Commercial:

What is the new Code of Conduct?
The Code applies to commercial tenancies, occupied by small-medium sized businesses (annual turnover of up to $50 million). These businesses are eligible for the JobKeeper program. It will be implemented state-by-state, coming into effect 3 April 2020 and will continue for the length of the JobKeeper program. 

So, can I be evicted? 
No, landlords mustn’t terminate leases during COVID-19 due to non-payment. But you must remain committed to your lease, subject to any amendments outlined in The Code. Any reduction provided to you must be in alignment with your loss in trading. This will be in the form of either: waivers (not to be less than 50%) or deferrals.

How (and when) will I repay the deferred rent?
This will be reimbursed over the lease term, of no less than 24 months (unless otherwise agreed). No payment will commence until the pandemic ends or the existing lease expires.

Can landlords use my security deposit?
No, they cannot.

If you’ve got a question about COVID-19 and how it relates to your house, please feel free to email us or book in a video meeting. We’re here to help you through this unprecedented event, in any way we can.

We’ll update this resource as new information comes in, to keep you at the forefront of legislative changes, all in the one place. Reach out to our real estate agents when you’re ready.