- Emergency period under Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 extended to March 28, 2021
- New Landlord Hotline phone advisory service available
- Rent relief grant and mandatory conciliation to continue
The State Government will extend the moratorium on rent increases and other provisions until March 28, 2021 in an effort to preserve stability and certainty in the rental market.
The emergency residential tenancy laws are helping those in private and public housing, residential long-stay parks, as well as boarders and lodgers, stay in their rental homes.
Landlords will be supported through the new Consumer Protection Landlord Hotline, a phone service answering questions and offering specialist assistance to residential landlords with COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic related tenancy issues.
The helpline will provide personalised guidance on navigating dispute resolution, including what to do if a tenant fails to pay rent or breaches the lease, or if a landlord is struggling with financial hardship.
The Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme will continue through the extended emergency period with tenants who have had a reduction of 75 per cent or more in their after-tax income eligible for funds.
Renters who have been stood down from their jobs or had their hours reduced, are self-employed, sole traders, casual workers or contractors should look to apply for grants equivalent to four weeks' rent to a maximum of $2,000, paid directly to landlords who then reduce tenants' rent by the same amount.
For renters and landlords with COVID-19 tenancy issues, the Residential Tenancies Mandatory Conciliation Service will continue offering dispute resolution, finding fair and workable solutions to renting problems.
Further details available at http://www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/covidrenting or by calling the Landlord's Hotline on 1300 304 054.
The decision to extend the emergency periods until March 28, 2021 is consistent with the emergency period recently announced in Victoria and South Australia.
Comments attributed to Commerce Minister John Quigley:
"Western Australia is entering a period of economic recovery, however with the threat of COVID-19 and a second wave still real, extending the rent moratorium protects WA renters and landlords, and helps create stability for everyone.
"For residential tenancies, low vacancy rates for rental properties have, and will continue to force rents to rise, and this together with the current unemployment rate, as well as changes to JobKeeper, means families may find themselves in financial hardship.
"Those who have been able to return to work are only just starting to recover. To add difficulties in finding rental accommodation or not being able to afford rent to their worries would be an awful proposition.
"During the extended emergency period, the McGowan Government will introduce a landlord's hotline, which will provide individualised guidance to landlords, connecting them with tenancy experts to answer questions and explore options in relation to the State Government's moratorium on rent increases and evictions.
"Renters must remember that this is not a moratorium on paying rent. If tenants are not financially affected by COVID and can afford to pay rent, they must do so because private landlords can still go to court to terminate a tenancy.
"Landlords can also apply to the court to terminate an agreement and evict a tenant in certain circumstances, including when a tenant is seriously damaging the premises or causing injury to the landlord or neighbours.
"Landlords can also, by court order, terminate a tenancy where they need to return to the premises as their primary residence and retain the right to sell their investment property at any time."
Minister's office - 6552 6800