To alleviate subsequent pressures on landlords and other property owners, policy initiatives have been introduced to provide short-term assistance with loans secured against property – such as the mortgage repayment deferral scheme and the Reserve Bank's associated removal of its loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restriction. The LVR restrictions usually limit how much a bank may lend compared with a property's value. 

Until 1 May 2021, it is likely to be easier to borrow more than 80% of a property's value. One benefit of this change for property owners is that it may allow access to the mortgage repayment deferral scheme even where existing lending is high.

These policy initiatives sit alongside law changes which are designed to slow the process to mortgage default and give you time to recover if your cash-flow is poor as a result of COVID. Temporary amendments to the Property Law Act 2007 have changed the timeframes for the enforcement of mortgage-related debt. If you are in default of your mortgage, you must be given at least 40 working days to remedy the default before your mortgagee can take control of your property or require its sale. This is extended from the usual 20 working day period.

Further information on the changes for commercial tenancies and mortgages can be found here.