The nations’ capital has announced financial relief for residential tenants and landlords during the Covid-19 pandemic period to reduce the risk of homelessness and financial hardship. Following the lead of NSW and Qld, landlords in the ACT will receive tax relief when they lower their tenant’s rent and tenants under financial duress caused by Covid-19 cannot be evicted.
Tenant and landlord rent agreements
Residential tenants and landlords may negotiate to reach an agreement to delay rental payments if a tenant is not earning income during the Coronavirus emergency period. Any outstanding rent that is accumulated during this period will be a debt owed to the landlord, but is interest free for the six-months of the moratorium period.
Tax relief for landlords
Starting on 1 April, if landlords agree to lower their tenants’ rent by at least 25 per cent for six months, they will receive a land tax rebate. The government will match 50 per cent of the rent reduction to a maximum of $2,600 over six months, or $100 per week. Additionally, households that have experienced a 25 per cent drop in income can defer their rates for 12 months.
Ban on evictions
The ACT government will support tenants under financial duress due to Covid-19 through a short-term moratorium on evictions and temporary freeze of rental increases until at least June 30. The ACT government will also prevent real estate agents from placing renters who are unable to make repayments due to the Covid-19 pandemic, on blacklists.
Tenants seeking rent relief will need to provide their landlord or real estate agent with evidence to show they have lost income as a result of the Coronavirus-induced downturn. This might include a letter signed by an employer or a statutory declaration.
For more information on residential tenancy and landlord rights during the Covid-19 pandemic, visit the ACT government’s website.