By Doc Pro
With almost no end in sight, the coronavirus pandemic has affected people in every corner of the world. Normal business transactions have stopped, with a great number of people’s and businesses’ incomes having dropped drastically or even cut off completely. In addition, many countries are in a state of blockade, requiring all citizens to stay home except for essential trips. It has therefore become impossible for businesses and individuals to update their permits or renew their licenses that might require them to do so in person.
Most government agencies, banks, financial institutions, and large corporates are willing to waive fees and extend deadlines for payment and submission of documents. However, these may not be automatic and may still require the individual / business to apply or make a request. A letter in writing is also good evidence that you have “made the effort” to comply with the relevant legal, regulatory or contractual requirements. This will help you avoid any fines or penalties.
This guide will provide you with the basic documentation you need to write to governmental organisations, financial institutions and companies to ask for any suspension of payments, automatic extension of permits, renewal of licenses, rent reliefs or reductions or leave applications etc. This may help you save funds you may need in order to survive the coronavirus crisis.
The government should be the first port of call for help in times of crisis. Governments from around the world are generally willing to waive deadlines in relation to tax payments, tax returns or license renewals. In certain countries, visas and permits are automatically renewed or extended. As these may not be automatic, you should write to the relevant government agencies / departments to ensure that you do not acquire any fines or penalties for late submission of payments or documents.
This is a letter to the tax office applying for an extension of a deadline for tax payment or the submission of tax return.
This is a letter for individuals or business owners who need to apply for an extension / renewal of its permits or licenses but cannot do it in person, to ask for an automatic extension / renewal.
This is a letter for individuals or foreigners in one country seeking extensions of their work / study / travel visas due to travel restrictions.
If you have lost your job / business during this time, you can also apply for unemployment benefits or other subsidies from your government. Depending on where you live, you may not need to actually be unemployed to qualify for government benefits or subsidies. If you are quarantined or temporarily made redundant, and you are not in receipt of any income, you may be entitled to receive unemployment benefits or government subsidies. Government subsidies may also be available to business owners whose businesses are severely affected by the coronavirus crisis.
This is a letter for individuals or business owners to apply for unemployment benefits, government grants or subsidies relating to the coronavirus crisis.
Many banks and financial institutions have granted loan repayment waivers or suspensions to borrowers. However, this is not necessarily automatic. Generally, you must call or write to your creditor to request for an exemption from repayment or an extension of the payment deadline. Be sure to write to the bank early, before you actually default on a repayment. Instead of a moratorium on payment, you may want to propose to pay interests only as it may be more receptive for the bank (since interest is so low anyway). If your loan is already overdue, in addition to requesting a postponement or moratorium on repayment, you should also seek a waiver on the interest and penalties during this period. Remember to confirm that the suspension does not harm your credit score or creditworthiness.
This is a letter from the borrower to the bank for a suspension of mortgage payments and waiver of any interests and penalties.
This is a letter from the borrower to the lender for a suspension of loan repayments, extend payment deadlines and waiver of any interests and penalties.
This is a request to the bank to extend further financing to the borrower to support its business / need during the Coronavirus crisis.
2. Rent during Coronavirus
Many people have difficulties paying rent during the Coronavirus crisis. Writing to a landlord is a bit more tricky, since not all landlords are willing to reduce their rents / suspend rental payments and tenants are generally bound to the rental amount under the agreement until renewal. Be clear and concise about what you want, whether it is rent reduction or suspension of rental payments until the end of the crisis. Always be extremely polite and tactful, no matter how frustrated you are. Be honest and accurate when describing your financial situation and how the coronavirus has impacted you. Try and invoke the sympathy of your landlord.
This is a letter from a tenant to a landlord to request for a rent relief or suspension of rental payments or a reduction in rent.
Many workers may need to work from home or take paid / unpaid leave as a result of the coronavirus. There are various reasons for this, if they may be sick, need isolation, seek diagnostic or preventive care for coronavirus, or need to take care of a sick family member or children whose schools are closed.
Although most employers are generally considerate and understanding under the current environment, you should still write to the employer as the standard practice for most businesses. It can serve as evidence to protect yourself, since absence from duty can be a termination event. In addition, it demonstrates the responsibility, thoughtfulness, and professionalism on the part of the employees and allows the employer to plan ahead.
This letter is from an employee to an employer to apply for paid / unpaid leave during the coronavirus crisis.
This is a request from an employee to an employer to work at home during the coronavirus period.
Many schools are closed around the world. However, if your school is not closed and you believe that it is safer for your child to stay at home, you should write to the school to apply for a leave of absence. In most countries, parents do not have the automatic right to take their children out of school because of the legal requirement for their children to receive an education. If your child is going to a private school with high fees, you may want to apply for relief of / assistance with school fees during the period of the school closure. For students with important assessments or assignments to submit, you should write to the school to apply for an extension if no automatic extension has been announced.
This is a leave application for a student to be away from school during the coronavirus crisis.
This is a letter to school seeking assistance on the payment of school fees during the pandemic.
This is a request to school to extend deadlines for assessment / assignment.
Many clubs, gyms or other facilities are shut down during the coronavirus crisis. If you are paying a monthly / weekly subscription fee that you are unable to use, you should ask for a waiver of such fee during the period. For prepaid fees, you can ask for such fees to the carried forward to the next period. If you are given a certain number of credits to be used for a specified period of time, you can ask for an extension of the deadline to use those credits.
If you are requesting for some special products that are in short supply from your supplier (e.g. masks or other protective gear), or if you need special services or favours from a service provider (e.g. door to door service), you should keep your request: (i) clear and concise; and (ii) courteous and reasonable.
This is a request to a gym, club or other facilities for the waiver of monthly / quarterly / annual subscription fee.
This is a request to a service provider to extend the deadline for any unused credit during the coronavirus crisis.
Another common request during this time of crisis is to ask a supplier for additional credit or open an account on goods / products. You may want to place emphasis on the existing long term relationship you have with the supplier and how you have always been a good customer that pays on time.
To increase the chances of getting a favourable response to your request, you may want to give reasons why you require the special supply or service. Be accurate and factual about your situation and give the reader the necessary details to fulfill your request. You may try to invoke empathy but do not overdo it. Keep a polite, pleasant and approachable tone in the letter.
This is a request to a supplier to provide special products that are in short supply during the coronavirus crisis.
This is a request to a service provider to provide special services during the coronavirus crisis.
This is a request to an existing supplier for additional credit terms for the supply of goods / products.
Please note that this is just a general summary of the position under common law and does not constitute legal advice. As the laws of each jurisdiction may be different, you may want to speak to your local lawyer.
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