More aid announced for struggling WA tenants

 More aid announced for struggling WA tenants

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The Residential Rent Relief Scheme is being extended in an attempt to secure current tenancies when the moratorium on evictions and rent increase ends on March 28, 2021.

The scheme, which will be in its fourth and final phase, will target tenants who may struggle to pay expected rent increases when the moratorium ends, with the rental market in Western Australia being tight.

Commerce Minister John Quigley says the grants will provide relief to the Western Australia rental market while they look at implementing longer term initiatives.

Commerce Minister John Quigley

“We hope this action will reduce the number of evictions or unaffordable rent increases that may come after March 28 and prevent homelessness,” he says. “It will allow tenants some breathing space to find employment and get back onto their feet financially.

“So far more than $9 million in rental assistance has gone to about 6,500 WA landlords with eligible tenants since the scheme first began on May 1 last year.”

To qualify for the fourth wave of assistance, there are a few requirements tenants must meet:

  • Be facing a rent increase greater than the market rate of five per cent per year
  • Experiencing financial hardship by being in receipt of a Centrelink payment ‘excluding JobKeeper’
  • Have less than $10,000 in savings
  • Be paying more than 25 per cent of their income in rent per week.

Those who qualify must also work with their landlord to agree to a fixed-term lease of at least six months duration starting from the moratorium end date.

REIWA President Damian Collins tells OzHomeNews that only a small percentage of the population in WA will need to engage in the support.

“Right now the unemployment rate in WA is at 6.8 per cent, which means we’re talking about a few thousand people needing further financial assistance.

REIWA President Damian Collins

“We were happy to secure the extra support as it helps those tenants and landlords still doing it tough, while working towards getting the market back to operating normally.”

The new initiative is additional to the phase three grants announced in December 2020, which will pay 75 per cent of a tenant’s rent debt or rent waived, up to a maximum of $4,000, to the landlord.

A total of $30 million was allocated as part of overall Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme funding, as part of COVID relief and the WA Recovery Plan.

Further details, including how to apply, are available at DMIRS.

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