Even though the eviction moratorium has now ended, Canberran renters are still set to be supported past the Christmas period.
A new Rental Relief Fund will enable struggling tenants to access grants of up to $1,000 to people experiencing rental stress or severe financial hardship.
While impacted tenants who fell behind on rent during the moratorium will continue to be protected from eviction until 18 February 2022, provided they pay rent as it falls due, Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury has acknowledged “this has been a challenging year for Canberra renters, some of whom are struggling to make ends meet”.
“Despite lockdown ending and our graduated return to normal life in the ACT, many renters still face pressures, including from financial pressures that built up during the lockdown period,” he said.
He outlined that the $133,000 ACT government Rent Relief Fund will provide one-off grants of up to $1,000 to eligible tenants and occupants, which will be paid directly to their landlord or grantor on their behalf.
“To be eligible for the grant, a household must be experiencing either rental stress or severe financial hardship,” the Attorney-General indicated.
For the purposes of the fund, “rental stress” exists where a household pays more than 30 per cent of their income in rent and has cash savings of $5,000 or less, excluding superannuation.
“Severe financial hardship” can exist where a household pays less than 30 per cent of their income in rent and has cash savings of less than $3,000.
Income limits will also apply depending on the number of people in the household.
During the most recent extended lockdown, the territory government provided $5.25 million in emergency support measures to tenants and landlords, as well as implemented a 12-week moratorium on evictions for rent arrears for tenants in financial distress due to a loss of income or working hours as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Canberra follows the NSW government in continuing support for landlords and tenants post-eviction moratorium.
NSW recently altered its method for rental relief provision, which previously saw landlords having to apply on their tenants’ behalf. Now, tenants are empowered to apply for the support payments themselves.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Grace is a journalist across Momentum property and investment brands. Grace joined Momentum Media in 2018, bringing with her a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) from the University of Newcastle. She’s passionate about delivering easy to digest information and content relevant to her key audiences and stakeholders.