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

Ian Bushnell 26 December 2020 32
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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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32 Responses to Government extends COVID-19 support for tenants for a further three months
HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 8:33 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.

David Brown David Brown 12:01 pm 27 Dec 20

What about the landlords? They are also victims. Will the government help them?

ssek ssek 9:16 am 27 Dec 20

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.

Ian Brown Ian Brown 7:40 pm 26 Dec 20

Sarasi Perera sorry can't afford rent now 😘 cheers!

Gay McGuire Gay McGuire 6:22 pm 26 Dec 20

I feel sorry for Landlords with mortgages & retirees who rely on the income to live. I don’t believe enough consideration given to the latter.

    Megan Baker-Goldsmith Megan Baker-Goldsmith 6:29 pm 26 Dec 20

    Gay McGuire landlords can sell the investment property and get money that way. It’s a sellers market, so they’re likely to do well.

    Pippa Campbell Pippa Campbell 6:46 pm 26 Dec 20

    Sometimes investments don't make money! With mining, stocks, small businesses - investments carry a risk. Landlords take the same risk as every other investor when they invest in property.

    Gay McGuire Gay McGuire 6:53 pm 26 Dec 20

    There is some merit in all the above comments but it’s not that black & white. The Mum & Dad investors who have 1 investment property as a superannuation investment are struggling. This also applies to people trying to build superannuation plan who aren’t lucky enough to be a Public Servant with good superannuation schemes. Also some people choose to rent as the don’t want the responsibility of maintenance etc so renting for some a choice not necessity.

    Kylie Jay Kylie Jay 6:55 pm 26 Dec 20

    This is why so many are doing Airbnb

    Jeffrey Brown Jeffrey Brown 7:08 pm 26 Dec 20

    Gay McGuire, I feel sorry for families who have work restrictions that force them to homelessness. Especially those families with children....

    Peter Bee Peter Bee 7:08 pm 26 Dec 20

    Gay McGuire if there is anyone with one property in a SMSF then its the mother of all gambles. Putting aside that most people should not touch the SMSF idea to begin with.

    Tracy Robinson Tracy Robinson 7:26 pm 26 Dec 20

    Gay McGuire

    I don’t feel sorry for landlords at all.

    Brooke Hepburn-Rogers Brooke Hepburn-Rogers 7:39 pm 26 Dec 20

    Peter Bee there are reasons why some people have one property in their SMSF. It also may be part of a larger overall plan, including having other investments for capital growth as part of estate planning and little/no income or cranking credits, or for a higher redemption rate on finalisation. It could also be start of an SMSF that had planned to diversify more, but then this happened. It isn’t a blanket bad idea/problem. Even though diversification does help when a certain market goes down. Don’t make a judgement on all of them.

    Peter Bee Peter Bee 7:52 pm 26 Dec 20

    Brooke Hepburn-Rogers . Its a democracy so i can make comment as i want. Generally SMSF are a dud move anyway because you have to beat the bench mark by a few percentage to meet the regulatory - audit requirements.

    Kylie Wylie Kylie Wylie 7:54 pm 26 Dec 20

    Jacob Torresan how obtuse to think that all landlords own multiple properties and hence have wealth/buffers beyond the next person.

    Nick Savino Nick Savino 7:57 pm 26 Dec 20

    Kylie Wylie yes agreed

    Kylie Wylie Kylie Wylie 7:59 pm 26 Dec 20

    Jacob Torresan wow. How enlightening that would be. Thank you for your valuable input.

    Brian McKenzie Brian McKenzie 8:21 pm 26 Dec 20

    Gay McGuire no investment is risk free

    Rosie Maclaine Rosie Maclaine 8:30 pm 26 Dec 20

    Gay McGuire I agree wholeheartedly

    Jorge Gatica Jorge Gatica 8:36 pm 26 Dec 20

    Megan Baker-Goldsmith and if all landlords sell their investment properties what happens to all the tenants??

    Jorge Gatica Jorge Gatica 8:42 pm 26 Dec 20

    Jacob Torresan the most likely have sizeable mortgages to repay

    Tuhin Abhyankar Tuhin Abhyankar 8:50 pm 26 Dec 20

    Jorge Gatica for every seller there is a buyer. Either the buyer will be an owner occupiers, thus reducing a Tennant from the market, along with corresponding demand, or will be a fellow investor, who'll continue renting out the property, thus maintaining supply in the market.

    Jorge Gatica Jorge Gatica 8:54 pm 26 Dec 20

    Tuhin Abhyankar not every buyer is an investor so when an investment property goes up for sale the tenants have to find somewhere else to live

    Tuhin Abhyankar Tuhin Abhyankar 9:05 pm 26 Dec 20

    Jorge Gatica if that buyer is a first home buyer then they're moving out of the rental market, thus adding a rental vacancy back in the market.

    Sure the Tennant's might have to move (which is part and parcel of being a Tennant) but at the macro level, investors selling up isn't going to drive down rental vacncies or create rental shortage by any appreciable amount.

    Jorge Gatica Jorge Gatica 9:34 pm 26 Dec 20

    Tuhin Abhyankar are you involved it the property market??

    Tuhin Abhyankar Tuhin Abhyankar 9:44 pm 26 Dec 20

    Jorge Gatica yes. And have a not insignificant understanding of macroeconomics.

    Jorge Gatica Jorge Gatica 10:47 pm 26 Dec 20

    Tuhin Abhyankar are you a landlord? Realestate agent?

    Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 2:32 am 27 Dec 20

    Everyone's worried about more homeless and forgetting about those poor people not getting sufficient returns on their investments.

    Sue Sedgwick Sue Sedgwick 6:58 am 27 Dec 20

    Gay McGuire I am with a very good industry based super fund and am not a public servant but PS bashing is better than talking about how much negative gearing or family trust funds cost the rest of us.

    Sue Sedgwick Sue Sedgwick 7:00 am 27 Dec 20

    Tracy Robinson nor do I as it's called risk and most would have insurance.

    Gay McGuire Gay McGuire 8:41 am 27 Dec 20

    Sue Sedgwick not PS bashing as I was one but commenting not everyone is as fortunate!

    David Conway David Conway 9:33 pm 27 Dec 20

    Gay McGuire the government should make up the difference to the land lords as part of the pandemic package. Unfortunately it seems the government thinks it’s over in regards to funding for this pandemic- a second wave with no relief packages could cause a problem.

    But in doing so make a clause that if they claim they cannot evict

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