Commissioner's blog: Win-win for COVID affected tenancies
Renters who have been doing it tough due to COVID-19 may have been worried about what happens when the moratorium on evictions and rent increases comes to an end on 28 March 2021.
In some good news for those tenants and their landlords, the State Government has agreed to pay up to $4,000 off their rental debt under an expanded Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme that is also aimed at keeping tenants in their rental properties.
Tenants who meet the criteria will be able to apply for a one-off grant that is to be paid to their landlords that will cover 75 per cent of the total rental debt accrued or waived as at 1 December 2020.
A key condition of landlords receiving the funding is that a fixed-term tenancy agreement of six months or longer is entered into with the existing tenant after the emergency period ends.
It’s estimated that between 3,750 and 4,000 tenancies will be saved by providing this extra financial assistance.
Tenants will be able to apply for the new grants scheme if they:
- Lost their job or 50 per cent of their income due to COVID-19 or received a Centrelink payment (excluding JobKeeper), on or after 20 March 2020;
- Have less than $10,000 in savings;
- Pay more than 25 per cent of their income in rent per week;
- Are tenants or sub-tenants in a private residential property, rooming house or residential park;
- Have a tenancy agreement in place as of December 1, 2020;
- The debt was incurred or waived as at December 1, 2020; and
- Have a bond lodged with the Bond Administrator.
The new grants will help tenants clear a large portion of their rent debt and put them, along with the landlord, in a better position to negotiate an extension of their tenancy, helping them stay in their home until they can get back on their feet financially.
Applications for the new grant scheme will open on 4 January 2021 and close on 28 June 2021, with further information available at: www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/covidrentgrant
Commissioner for Consumer Protection
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