Current relief for Tenants

What Exactly Does the ‘Moratorium on Evictions’ Mean?

The messages from the media and Government around the ‘moratorium on evictions’ were patchy and sometimes confusing, leading some to think that it meant ‘free rent’.

The Premier, Mark McGowan addressed that idea by stating “tenants must continue to pay rent. If a tenant can’t pay their rent they will still have to pay it later.” Those impacted by COVID-19 should pay what they can reasonably afford. This will make sure any rent arrears that have accumulated don’t lead to an eviction after the moratorium is lifted.

Tenants who haven’t been affected are expected to pay their rent as normal. Nobody wants to be faced with an enormous rent debt in six months’ time, possible eviction or a poor tenancy history after COVID-19 is over.

The WA government also introduced other measures to help tenants and landlords during the pandemic:

  • Tenants can end fixed term leases early without having to pay break-lease costs, to help impacted tenants find more affordable accommodation.
  • Fixed terms tenancies will automatically revert to periodic tenancies if they end during the emergency period, giving everyone more flexibility.
  • Rents cannot be increased during the period of declared emergency.
  • Landlords who suffer financially due to COVID-19 are not obligated to do non-essential maintenance.
  • The Commissioner for Consumer Protection can now help mediate between tenants and landlords who can’t reach a compromise about rent payments etc.

While it’s disappointing the government didn’t provide any cash relief to tenants suffering financial hardship, other measures such as the Job Keeper allowance will help most meet their rent payments now, to avoid a large debt later.

There’s no doubt, these times are tough and they’re not over yet. Not only for tenants, but for landlords who may also have been hit financially during COVID-19. And who still need to pay mortgage repayments, council rates, water rates, maintenance and insurance.  

So if you have lost employment and can no longer meet your full rent payments, please contact your property manager to discuss your situation. You will not lose the roof over your head, but you will need to organise a payment plan to avoid accumulating a large debt that will need to repaid later.   

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