26 December 2020

Government extends COVID-19 support for tenants for a further three months

| Ian Bushnell
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Measures will continue to help tenants stay in their homes. Photo: File.

ACT tenants struggling with the pandemic’s economic fallout have been given longer protection from eviction or support to move house if necessary.

The ACT Government has announced that transitional measures to support affected tenants have been extended to 30 April 2021, another three months.

This the second extension, following the first announced in September.

Since 23 October 2020, transitional measures have protected COVID-19 impacted tenants from being evicted on the basis of debt accrued during the eviction moratorium period, as long as they pay their rent as it falls due during the transition period.

If they cannot pay rent as it falls due, the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal will be required to consider ordering a payment plan rather than an eviction.

The transitional measures also allow COVID-19-impacted tenants in fixed-term leases to end their leases early and without penalty if they need to move due to a change in their circumstances.

The government is also supporting landlords who have reduced rent for tenants impacted by COVID-19 by at least 25 per cent, through land tax and rates rebates available for the period to 30 June 2021.

Agents will still be barred from listing personal information about a tenant who hasn’t paid rent during the moratorium period.

Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said it had been a challenging year for Canberra renters who may be struggling to make ends meet.

“This announcement will give tenants and landlords greater certainty this Christmas period and ensure tenants will be given more time and support to stay in their homes,” he said.

The ACT Government has worked to support tenants, first through a six-month moratorium on evictions for rental arrears, and now through extended transitional assistance.

For more information about the measures, visit JACS.

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HiddenDragon8:33 pm 27 Dec 20

With the unemployment and underemployment rates in the ACT at less than two-thirds of the national average, it might seem surprising that the ACT Government felt it necessary to extend these protections for tenants.

Perhaps it’s an admission, of sorts, that they’ve done such a great job of making it very expensive to keep a roof over one’s head in this town that we now have a lot of households in a marginal situation – even when the overall stats on employment and incomes etc. look good.

So glad I got rid of my residential properties several years ago.

This isn’t a “hurr durr all investments are a risk!” issue. Only a simpleton believes this to be the case. This isn’t a market downturn or anything like that. This is a bunch of communists directly interfering with other peoples property.

If you honestly believe that the ACT government being able to tell you that you must provide other people services for free, while possibly bankrupting yourself to be a good thing, you are about as sharp as a bowling ball. If you think this won’t result in huge numbers of evictions, and rents climbing even higher to cover the lost income, you are delusional.

And let’s not forget, the people not paying rent are incurring a debt they will have to pay back. With interest. If the ACT government was at all sensible, they would be giving assistance to pay rent to people who legitimately lost their jobs due to covid, and not interfering elsewhere.

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