Commissioner's blog: Extra time to apply for rent relief
As the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to cast a shadow over our lives, there may be some Western Australians who are still struggling to stay afloat financially due to job losses or having their work hours reduced.
Renters who are unemployed, or who have lost more than half their income, should know that the State Government’s Residential Rent Relief Grant scheme will now remain open until the end of the year.
Originally due to close on 28 June 2021, the existing scheme has so far made around 8,300 grant payments worth more than $11.6 million to help struggling tenants and their landlords.
Extending the program to 31 December 2021 will provide further targeted assistance for those tenants in financial hardship, including those who rely on Centrelink as a primary income.
We’re aware that rental prices have risen right across the state. Tenants who are struggling financially and facing a significant rent increase may be eligible to receive a rent support grant. The grant offers up to $2,000 per tenancy, so long as their landlord agrees to a lease of at least six months.
Other tenants may be in rental arrears, in which case they could be entitled to have up to 75 per cent of the debt – up to a maximum of $4,000 – paid directly to eligible landlords. In return, the landlord and tenant must enter into a minimum six-month lease agreement.
Even though some tenants may fit the criteria for both rent arrears assistance and rent support, it’s important to know that they cannot receive both grants. In this situation, our processing officer will work out which grant will be of the greatest benefit, and this will be paid to the landlord on the applicant's behalf.
Previous grant applicants can apply again under the extended scheme if they are still struggling financially due to COVID-19.
Further details about the scheme, including a two-minute eligibility check, are on our website at www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/covidrentgrant.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection
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