In an effort to provide housing assurance ahead of the holidays, the Australian Capital Territory has revealed a three-month extension to its COVID-19 tenant support measures.
Territory Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury announced the extension on Tuesday, 22 December.
Transitional measures as they apply within Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Declaration 2020 (No 3) will now apply until 30 April 2021.
“This has been a challenging year for Canberra renters who are struggling to make ends meet,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“This announcement will give tenants and landlords greater certainty this Christmas and ensure tenants will be given more time and support to stay in their homes.”
Attorney-General Rattenbury outlined that the ACT government had worked hard to support tenants who did find themselves struggling as a result of the pandemic, first through a six-month moratorium on evictions for rental arrears and now through extended transitional assistance.
He added that 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”.
COVID-19-impacted tenants who are in fixed-term leases are also able to end their leases early and without penalty if they need to move due to a change in their circumstances, as is allowed by the transitional measures.
The Attorney-General also highlighted that the territory government is also doing its bit to support landlords through land tax and rates rebated until 30 June 2021 where they have reduced the rent for COVID-19-impacted tenants by at least 25 per cent.