COVID-19 relief grant will help pay rent debt - Real estate industry bulletin issue 236
17 December 2020
COVID-19 relief grant will help pay rent debt
On 17 December 2020, the State Government announced an expansion of the Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme. The phase three expansion will assist tenants financially affected by COVID-19 to pay their rent debt when the emergency period ends on 28 March 2021. The expanded scheme will also assist landlords who reduced, deferred, or waived their tenant's rent during the emergency period.
What is the eligibility criteria?
A tenant may apply for phase three of the scheme if they meet all the following criteria:
- they are or were either unemployed, having lost their job or 50 per cent of their income on or after 20 March 2020 due to COVID-19, or receiving a Centrelink payment, excluding JobKeeper, during the emergency period;
- have less than $10,000 in savings;
- pay more than 25 per cent of their income in rent per week;
- are a tenant or sub-tenant in a private residential property, a resident in a rooming house, or tenant in a residential park;
- have a tenancy agreement in place as at 1 December 2020;
- have a debt that was accrued or waived as at 1 December 2020; and
- have a security bond lodged with the Bond Administrator.
What will a landlord receive if their tenant's application is approved?
So far about 5,700 tenants who applied for the existing phase two of the scheme have received financial assistance amounting to $7.7 million of the allocated $30 million.
A re-purposing of the scheme’s remaining funds will provide landlords with direct one-off payments equivalent to 75 per cent of the accrued rent arrears incurred during the emergency period or of the amount by which rent was reduced or waived, up to a maximum of $4,000.
A key condition of landlords receiving the funding is that they enter into a fixed-term tenancy agreement of at least six months with their existing tenant. This six-month period must commence after the end of the emergency period.
What will happen to an existing application for the second phase of the scheme?
Applications for the existing phase two of the scheme will close on 31 December 2020. Applications received up to and including this date, will continue to be processed.
Further information about phase two of the scheme is available on our website, by ringing our Contact Centre on 1300 304 054, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will update the scheme's web page with information about phase three in the near future. Please check the web page over the coming weeks.
Consumer Protection December to January office closures
Please note our offices will be closed on Friday, 25 December 2020 and will reopen on Monday, 4 January 2021. The following services will be available between Tuesday 29 December to Thursday 31 December 2020:
- Our Cannington office will be open for Licensing and Bond Administration matters only. Cashiers will be on site to take payments for licence and registration applications.
- The Landlord Hotline and mandatory conciliation service can be reached by calling 1300 304 054 and pressing 1.
- The Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme can be reached by calling (08) 6251 2740.
For urgent enquiries during this time, please visit our contact page.
We wish you all a safe and happy festive season.
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