The WA government has announced that the $22M of unspent funds remaining in Residential Relief Grants Scheme will be re-purposed to provide landlords with direct one-off payments equivalent to 75 per cent of the accrued rent arrears incurred during the emergency period, up to a maximum of $4,000.
This will include any rent that was waived or deferred during the emergency period. 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 at a reasonable rent that is affordable. Tenants will be able to apply for the new grants scheme if they satisfy the following criteria:
- Lost their job or 50 per cent of their income due to COVID-19 or were in receipt of 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 at December 1, 2020;
- The debt was incurred before December 1, 2020; and
- Have a bond lodged with the Bond Administrator.
Shelter WA has been advocating for changes to the Scheme and welcomes this initiative. However a suite of solutions is needed to mitigate against a new wave of homelessness.
Read the official announcement here
Read more here from the Landlords Bulletin from the Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.