Your rights as a tenant during the COVID-19 crisis

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Published 2020-07-08 10:00

The coronavirus pandemic gave rise to a housing crisis in many countries around the world. Being unable to pay their rent, thousands of families are at risk of becoming homeless. Tenants have been granted a moratorium for the payment of rent in some countries, but with the current economic downturn resulting in a job crisis and salary cuts, things are getting worse. Even the United Nations recommends that governments implement strategies to protect tenant rights. Let's take a look at some of the favourite expat destinations.

Germany

Since July 1st, regulations aiming at protecting tenant rights during the COVID-19 crisis in Germany are not valid anymore. According to the Kündigungsschutz, tenants could not be evicted from their homes until June 30, 2022 for failing to pay their rents from April 1st to June 30, 2020. They had been granted a two-year moratorium to reimburse unpaid rents for this period. However, these tenants now have the obligation to settle their unpaid rents, including interest and arrears. This comes as a blow for thousands of families who have experienced a salary cut or have simply become jobless during the COVID-19 crisis. Given the complexity of the situation, there are campaigns by protestant groups for an extension of this rule to prevent families from being left homeless overnight.

USA

In the USA, regulations vary from state to state. Research by The Eviction Lab in collaboration with Princeton University and Columbia Law School shows that some states are better at protecting tenant rights than others. In Connecticut, for example, tenants having a difficult financial situation due to the COVID-19 crisis cannot be evicted until August 1, 2020, at least. Also, landlords cannot ask tenants to vacate due to non-payment of rent until August 22. In Los Angeles, organisations are requesting the freeze of rents until the situation returns to normal. According to an ordinance promulgated in March 2020, tenants who lost their source of income during the health crisis have 12 months to reimburse their unpaid rents. In New York, regulations also apply to tenants who are entitled to unemployment insurance. However, eviction requests due to unpaid rent will be accepted from July 24 2020.

Australia

As in the United States, regulations in Australia also vary from state to state. In New South Wales, for example, landlords are not allowed to evict tenants who have seen their income reduce by at least 25%. In Victoria, on the other hand, temporary laws are a bit more reassuring. Tenants are advised to negotiate a reduction of their rent with their landlords if they are in financial difficulty. Also, tenants cannot be evicted due to unpaid rent for a 6 months period as from March 29, 2020. It's also worth noting that landlords are not allowed to increase rents during this period. These regulations apply to tenants and sub-tenants, including those living in residential property, in shared accommodation and in social housing.

United Kingdom

The UK has also implemented tenant protection regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the government strongly recommends that landlords avoid evicting their tenants unless they have a very good reason to do so and that they find an agreement on the reduction of rents until things get better. While it remains compulsory to pay rents during the crisis, many facilities are available for tenants. Tenants who are in financial difficulty due to the health crisis can seek advice from specialists such as Citizen Advice and The Money Advice Service or seek help from local authorities. The British government has also set up a £ 500 million fund to help households that are unable to pay their rents. For those with a salary cut and those who have found themselves in difficulty after changing jobs, Universal Credit is another option.

Canada

In Canada, Montreal is currently experiencing its worst housing crisis in 15 years, especially with the moving season starting on July 1st in Quebec. Due to the crisis, thousands of families haven't yet been able to find accommodation. Besides, there has been a 30% increase in rents compared to the average, according to the local media. However, the government of Quebec has set up a $ 71.5 million fund to help its citizens find a place to stay. Other measures include a rent supplement program, as well as an interest-free loan and a financial support plan for families waiting for a residence. Since April, tenants who have experienced a salary cut as a result of the COVID-19 crisis are eligible for an interest-free loan $ 1,500 offered by the Société d'Habitation du Québec. Repayment of this loan is possible until August 1st, 2021.

5 Comments
fapc
fapc
3 weeks ago

I see it dead simple, no tenants no money for the land lord which will suffer in time. Business is greed for money, without consumers it will fall just give the right time. If there is no negotiation in reducing the price for tenants, soon land lords will be out of business, and what about civil war where everybody loses?

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JAMES DONAGHY
JAMES DONAGHY
3 weeks ago

Cambodia seems a dead-end. Strange how the article is written by a website for expats, yet the article focuses on five European countries...What is the point of the article if you're living abroad, hence the term "Expat"

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Atisha
Atisha
4 weeks ago

What about rights in Switzerland? this is my story. a few months b4 lock down someone that i trusted stole 2 of my suitcases that i had in my Keller and entered into my apartment when i was out of Switzerland. He called me to say hes in my apartment and ask me for my keys. i told him i have them all with me and all my doors was locked except living room and kitchen. soon as i came back i had no time to think about it beccauz i was looking for an apartment. i had like 1 week to move out. he helped me to move my stuff, he gave my new sofa away because when he opened it the 1st time he lost the fittings. he told me he will buy me another sofa. he never did. now that i have time he wont give me my sofa and my suitcases full of clothing that he stole. please note this man is a billionaire but he stole from me. it happened in November 2019. is there some way i can get him to give my stuff back? I had a contract for the apartment with him. he used keys from his apartment to get into my flat. i found his tools inside my wardrobe Please advice me REPLY

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DominicanadaMike
DominicanadaMike
4 weeks ago

What about Owner's rights? Who is stepping up to help Owner's pay property mortgages, maintenance, utility bills, security, deterioration of properties sitting without renters? Aren't we all in the same boat? What, owner's are now responsible for renters because renters have no money? I don't think any owner's thought of themselves as a charity foundation when they decided to create an income by purchasing property.

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cvco
cvco
4 weeks ago

No rights in Malaysia! Suffer until dead.

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