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The McGowan Government has extended the Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme (RRRGS) to continue to assist tenants facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to pay their rent.
Applications for the existing scheme, which has so far made more than $11.6 million worth of grant payments, was due to close on June 28, 2021 but the program will now be extended until December 31, 2021.
This extension will assist struggling tenants with a residential tenancy agreement in place on June 28, 2021 and provide an incentive for landlords to maintain existing tenancies.
Rent support grants will be available for tenants who are facing a significant rent increase and need financial assistance to meet rent payments. Grants are capped at $2,000 per tenancy and their landlord must agree to a lease of at least six months.
Rent arrears assistance grants are available to help tenants pay a current outstanding rent debt incurred before December 1, 2020. Grants for 75 per cent of rent arrears, up to a maximum of $4,000, will be paid directly to eligible landlords. In return, the landlord and tenant must enter into a minimum six month long lease agreement.
While some applicants may be eligible for both rent arrears assistance and rent support, it is not possible to receive both grants. If an applicant does meet the eligibility criteria for both grants, then the processing officer will calculate which grant is 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 subject to eligibility criteria. Tenants can get further details at https://www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/covidrentgrant
Comments attributed to Commerce Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:
"The Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme has already made around 8,300 grant payments worth more than $11.6 million, to assist struggling tenants and their landlords as part of the McGowan Government's COVID-19 support measures.
"This final round of the scheme will continue to provide targeted assistance for tenants in financial hardship, who may be finding it hard to cope with rent increases and maintain their tenancies including those who rely on Centrelink as a primary income.
"The Western Australian economy is performing strongly but it remains important to continue to offer this scheme to those still in need of assistance as we transition towards the end of the State's COVID-19 roadmap."
Comments attributed to Housing Minister John Carey:
"The Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme has already supported thousands of tenants in financial hardship and seeing the program extended is fantastic.
"The McGowan Government is aware of the current challenges in the property market and has put in place a range of measures to increase housing stock, to help improve the available and affordability of rental accommodation.
"We're incentivising home building and affordable ownership through our $20,000 Building Bonus Grant scheme and expansion to the eligibility criteria for Keystart.
"At the same time, we are investing nearly $1 billion towards upgrading and expanding our existing social housing stock, and other homelessness initiatives."
Commerce Minister's office - 6552 5900
Housing Minister's office - 6552 5300