Here’s a summary of Rentals/COVID-19 related information that I believe is useful, informative and will hopefully assist you and save you from having to wade through all the ‘clutter’.
The first of the month is traditionally when people move into their new homes or rental properties.
However, because of the 21-day national lockdown, new leases have been suspended.
In light of the measures of the lockdown that aim to prohibit movement and promote physical distancing, moving house is out of the question.
Tenants who were due to move at the end of March will have to remain in place at least until after the nationwide lockdown which ends at midnight on April 16.
Tenants will not be required to pay rent to the new landlord until they can take occupation “because these circumstances are beyond their control, and the landlord/agent will not be able to let the property to someone else during lockdown, even if it is empty,” he said.
The sudden 21 day lockdown has left thousands without income and in dire straits about how they are going to meet their rental obligations. Specialist rental property attorney Marlon Shevelew weighs in with legal advice for estate agents.
Someone said earlier this week that the one thing one can be certain of in these uncertain times is uncertainty. As President Cyril Ramaphosa said earlier this week, the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, is unchartered territory.
Last week Shevelew in ‘Lockdown: How to deal with rent and levies’ explained that the current lockdown would qualify under the law as an ‘act of God’ (in legal terms called force majeure or vis major) and how that then impacts on the legal obligation to meet residential and/or commercial rent requirements. The response has been unbelievable. Tenants, landlords and rental and estate agents alike have responded with a torrent of queries: What about tenants that are self-employed/sent home because their business closed due to the lockdown – so no income to pay April’s rent? Can a landlord threaten to blacklist a tenant who can’t pay rent? What does the law say about sectional title levies that are due? What about rental for vacated student accommodation?
Property Professional asked Shevelew to respond with more legal advice on how to deal with some of the most asked questions.
|Have you booked for an in-person workshop that’s now been cancelled? Michalsons are determined not to let COVID-19 win. In place of in-person workshops, they’re running an online POPI workshop.|
Financial Relief for Companies & Individuals – Coronavirus Pandemic
I’m sharing this information as it could be useful for agencies, agents, as well as your Landlords and / or Tenants.
Companies can claim back up to R1 500 a month per employee who earns less than R6 500 (for those younger than 30), and R500 for those 30 and older. These amounts will be paid back every month by SARS as part of the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) programme.
UIF pay outs
As part of the special Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS), administered by the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), money will be paid out to workers in distressed companies. The amounts paid will be a percentage of an employee’s salary, according to a legislated sliding scale from 38% for the highest earners to 60% for the lowest earners. The maximum benefit is R6 730 a month. If your company is struggling to pay salaries as a result of the Coronavirus crisis, please report your situation to Covid19ters@labour.gov.za.
Business Growth/Resilience Facility
Businesses with an annual turnover of less that R50 million can also keep back 20% of the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) payments they were supposed to hand over to the SA Revenue Service (SARS) for the next four months. But they will have to pay back this amount in equal instalments, with the first payment expected on 7 September 2020. Companies can apply at www.smmesa.gov.za.
Delay in payment of provisional tax
Instead of paying 50% of their expected tax bill six months into the tax year, and then settling the full amount at the end of the tax year, companies are now allowed to pay only 15% after six months, and another 50% by the end of the tax year. Then, by 30 September 2021 (or six months after the end of its financial year), the company needs to pay the outstanding balance. Please note that this option only applies to companies with an annual turnover of less than R50 million.
Delayed employee tax payment
Businesses with an annual turnover of less that R50 million can also keep back 20% of the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) payments they were supposed to hand over to the SA Revenue Service (SARS) for the next four months. But they will have to pay back this amount in equal instalments, with the first payment expected on 7 September 2020.
The Oppenheimer family’s R1 billion
The money made available by the Oppenheimer family will be paid out directly to employees of small, medium and micro-sized businesses as interest-free loans. Employees themselves will not be liable to pay the money back, but companies will be. The typical loan amount per employee is expected to be around R750 per week for a period of 15 weeks. Currently, the money is available to clients of Absa, First National Bank, Nedbank, and Standard Bank, and limited to businesses which were ‘financially sustainable; before the coronavirus crisis. Businesses will be able to apply directly with their banks from Friday, 3 April 2020.
Johann Rupert’s R1 billion
The Rupert family’s donation will be distributed as loans through Business Partners which is a funder of small companies. Once the website is live, applicants can apply for finance via www.businesspartners.co.za.
Instead of paying 50% of their expected tax bill after six months into the tax year and settling the full amount at the end of the tax year, provisional taxpayers only have to pay 15% after six months, and another 50% by the end of the tax year. By 30 September 2021, they need to pay the balance. While it hasn’t finalised which individuals would be eligible, Treasury says that it will probably be those who have a turnover of less than R5 million and don’t earn more than 10% of their turnover from interest, dividends, foreign dividends, rentals from letting fixed property and pay received from an employer.
South Africa’s big banks have announced individual measures to assist clients, with some offering three-month payment holidays on home loans, vehicle finance, personal loans, and credit cards. A summary of how to make contact with your bank is provided below:
Pre-screen customers and send SMS offering capability to customers who can opt in or out
Email ABSA at email@example.com
Effective 1 April 2020
All customers can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone Nedbank Home Loans on 0860 553 573
Email MoratoriumRequest@Nedbank.co.za to request payment holiday
Contact FNB via digital and assisted banking channels Covid-19 icon on FNB banking app
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