Struggling tenants have revealed how they managed to reduce their rent just by sending an email to their landlords amid the coronavirus crisis.
Sarah Draeger, 26, an unemployed childcare worker from Melbourne, said she was able to negotiate a 50 per cent rent reduction for three months by using a simple message template.
‘How good is my landlord, you don’t get if you don’t ask. What a legend,’ she wrote on social media, attaching the ‘rent relief request’ document for others to use.
Dozens of other tenants were inspired by her message and shared how the email helped them secure cheaper rent from their landlords.
Ms Draeger told Daily Mail Australia she visited her sick grandfather in Germany two weeks ago and was originally supposed to come home and return to work, but the coronavirus pandemic meant she had to stay in quarantine for 14 days.
‘That meant no income for 4 weeks which is about $3000 to 3500 for me,’ she said.
While in isolation, Ms Draeger, a casual employee, was told she had to be let go as parents were withdrawing their kids from her childcare centre.
‘Decreased children’s numbers at the centre meant letting go of temporary staff and relocating permanent staff to other centres,’ she said.
‘They will consider closing down once all kids are taken out by their families.’
Ms Draeger said she was unable to claim Centrelink benefits because she is a German national.
She decided to research her rights as a tenant and that is when she found a template designed to help people ask their landlords to reduce their rent.
‘I talked to my flatmate who welcomed the idea so I sent it off and asked if we can freeze it for three months and then revisit the situation,’ she said.
‘The real estate agent said yes. I think we are very lucky as I did not expect anything but I just hoped for the best.’
Ms Draeger said someone who had seen her post reached out to her to let her know the template had helped them slash their weekly rent too.
‘I am very happy and pleased to hear that I was able to help others by paying it forward.’
Hundreds of others on social media shared their success stories after asking for a reduced rent.
‘After a few emails back and forth, my real estate agent called today and let me know that the landlord has said it’s okay to pay what I can when I can,’ one woman wrote.
‘We’ll work out any arrears when this is over. Feeling so relieved right now.’
Another woman, who owns a shop that is struggling financially, emailed her landlord and asked them to consider reducing her rent.
‘She called me and has offered free rent,’ the woman wrote.
‘Her words: ”Close your shop doors. Go home and protect your family.”
‘My business will survive solely on her kindness and even more importantly, my children are in a safe bubble.’
A university student who sent an email to her landlord after her flatmates all lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic said their rent was instantly halved.
‘We sent a general email to our landlord, asking what our options were,’ the student wrote.
‘They slashed our rent by 50 per cent for three months. Absolute godsend.’
The acts of kindness come after Australian landlords were told they won’t be allowed to evict tenants as part of a rental rescue package aimed at protecting those struggling throughout the coronavirus crisis.
State governments are reportedly working on the interventions to protect the eight million people in rental homes.
The federal government is also reportedly considering income tax cuts for landlords who reduce the rental amount that tenants must pay.
The Australian Financial Review cited sources on Thursday as saying state and federal treasurers were discussing the idea as a way of providing relief for renters struggling financially amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The AFR reported that under the option property investors would need to waive or reduce rents and in turn pay less income tax.
A similar plan will likely be introduced to protect small business owners who cannot pay their rent due to forced closures under social distancing restrictions.
On Wednesday alone, some 280,000 people indicated they would need financial assistance from Centrelink.
Hundreds of thousands have been left jobless as a result of government’s tough stance on flattening the curve of the virus.