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Today's quote:

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Am I my tenants' keeper?


The corona virus is infecting everyone and everything, with the latest victim being personal responsibility, aided and abetted by this latest government initiative to also protect vulnerable tenants, a laudable intervention were it not for the typical Australian response of yearning for a free lunch.

The tenants in my little-hole-in-the-wall at McMahons Point have been enjoying a below-market-rate rental for quite some years, as I am a firm believer that both parties to a transaction should be winners which, however, hasn't stopped them from sending me this email via the agent:

"Your tenants have contacted me as they have had a loss of income due to Covid-19. They have both been up on JobKeeper payments (which are around $608 after tax a week) and asked to work 3 days a week and not 5. Their total household income has been reduced by about 40%. The tenants have asked if you would consider a reduction in rental."

I consulted the fairtrading.nsw.gov.au website and also, after a fifteen-minute wait, got through to one of their operators who confirmed that a reduction in pay by 25% or more does NOT automatically "qualify" the tenants for a rent reduction as, ultimately, the tenants have to prove that they cannot afford the rent after taking into account their WHOLE financial situation, including accumulated savings in the bank.

Now I don't know what parallel universe my tenants are inhabiting, but receiving two lots of JobKeeper payments of $1,500 a fortnight EACH (or $1,308 after tax) and having paid my modest rent of $880 a fortnight, leaves them with $1,736 a fortnight! That's $124 a day while they sit at home and watch NETFLIX! Hardly financial hardship as I used to know it!

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