Coronavirus (COVID-19) questions and answers

Can a private open for inspection still go ahead in Victoria?

Can I still sell or lease my property if I allow inspections by appointment only?

Yes, the current regulations specifically permit private inspection of property ahead of sale or rental. This is not surprising - many people have sold homes or have their lease terms coming to an end and need somewhere to live. Not to put too fine a line on it, shelter is a fundamental human requirement.

The current Victorian regulations are in Special Government Gazette 194 of 2020 and were published 14 April, here: http://www.gazette.vic.gov.au/gazette/Gazettes2020/GG2020S194.pdf

 

The specific relevant regulations are:

* Clause 14(2) of the Restricted Activity Directions (No 2)

 

"(14) An estate in Victoria must not organise... 

(2) a person to inspect a residential property between 7 April 2020 and midnight on 13 April 2020 for the purposes of a prospective sale or rental of the property, other than by private appointment."

 
* Clause 6(1)(c) of the Stay at Home Directions (No 3)

 

"6(1) A person may leave the premises [their home] to obtain...

(c) [any] other necessary goods or services."

 

* Clause 11(3)(d) of the Stay at Home Directions (No 3)

"11(3) During the stay at home period, a person must not permit another person to enter their place of residence, unless...

(d) it is necessary for the other person to enter for the purposes of attending a private inspection of the premises, organised in accordance with the Restricted Activity Directions (No. 2)."

 

The required distancing is required at all times. We recommend that home owners or tenants go and get some exercise while any inspection of their home is underway.

The current Victorian restrictions

Where can I find a copy of the current Victorian restrictions?

These are published in the Victorian Government Gazette. The restrictions published 8 April 2020 are here: http://www.gazette.vic.gov.au/gazette/Gazettes2020/GG2020S194.pdf

 

Making a will in isolation

A will must be witnessed by two people. How can I make a will if I cannot meet with more than one other person?

If you wish to adopt a document as your will but have difficulties meeting the usual witnessing requirements please contact Daniel Kelliher, accredited wills specialist. Although it is not usually recommended, you may go ahead by having your will witnessed by adult family members. Or we may be able to assist by bringing a table and qualified witnesses to your nature strip as we have already done in one case. 

 

The court will accept a document as a will if the court is satisfied that the will-maker intended the document to be his or her will. The proof that the court requires will depend upon the circumstances of each case. If you need to make a will and have no way of having the document witnessed by other people please contact Daniel Kelliher for urgent assistance - he will help you put interim measures in place.

 

We have made contact with government seeking an exemption to the maximum group gathering size for the purpose of making wills. 

I have no work for my employees to do

Can I stand my employees down without pay?

Employers are entitled to stand their employees down without pay in certain circumstances. The Fair Work Act provides that if an employee cannot be usefully employed during a period of stoppage of work for a cause for which the employer cannot be held responsible the employee can be stood down without pay. 

Employers cannot be held responsible for the coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, if you have a stoppage of work as a result of the outbreak, you may be able to stand down your employees. 

 

The Fair Work Ombudsman has already provided some examples of when employers may be entitled to stand down their employees: eg. (i) where the business is forced to close by a government direction; (ii) where a large proportion of the workforce is in self-quarantine, limiting the ability of the business to function properly; or (iii) where there is a stoppage of work due to a lack of supply. 

 

If you feel you need to stand employees down contact Calvin Clark or Yen Ong for advice. 

Do I still have to pay land tax?

Do I still need to pay land tax during the COVID-19 shutdown period?

Land owners due to pay 2020 land tax that have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million (if you are in this category, well done) have the option of deferring their 2020 land tax payment until after 31 December 2020. The State Revenue Office will contact taxpayers who are eligible for this deferral. 

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