Hotline for landlords as rent laws extended
A hotline for landlords has been created to help with pandemic-related tenancy issues, following the decision to extend the moratorium on rental increases until March 28, 2021.
The emergency residential tenancy laws are helping those in private and public housing, residential long-stay parks, as well as boarders and lodgers, stay in their rental homes.
Jones and Co director Kelly Jones welcomed the news that landlords would be supported through the new Consumer Protection Landlord Hotline and hoped the service would go some way to helping stabilise and give certainty to the rental market.
The new phone service will answer questions and offer specialist assistance to residential landlords with COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic related tenancy issues. It will provide personalised guidance on navigating dispute resolution, including what to do if a tenant fails to pay rent or breaches the lease, or if a landlord is struggling with financial hardship.
Kelly said the moratorium on rent increases did not stop tenants from paying rent.
“In certain circumstance landlords can still apply to the court to evict a tenant,” she said. “If the tenant is in breach of their lease because they are damaging the property, for example, then the tenancy can be terminated.
“And landlords can also terminate a tenancy when they need to use their rental property as their primary residence.”
According to Commerce Minister John Quigley, renters who have been stood down from their jobs or had their hours reduced, are self-employed, sole traders, casual workers or contractors should look to apply for grants equivalent to four weeks’ rent to a maximum of $2000, paid directly to landlords who then reduce tenants’ rent by the same amount.
Mr Quigley said low vacancy rates for rental properties would continue to force rents to rise.
“This together with the current unemployment rate, as well as changes to JobKeeper, means families may find themselves in financial hardship,” Mr Quigley said.
“Renters must remember that this is not a moratorium on paying rent. If tenants are not financially affected by COVID and can afford to pay rent, they must do so because private landlords can still go to court to terminate a tenancy.”
Further details are available at http://www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/covidrenting or by calling the Landlord’s Hotline on 1300 304 054.
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