Tenants struggling to pay their rent due to COVID-19 have been thrown a lifeline, with the State Government extending its Residential Rent Relief Scheme.
Applications for the program, which has already made about 8300 grant payments worth more than $11.6 million, were due to end on June 28, but will be extended to December 31, 2021.
The extension will assist tenants with a residential tenancy agreement in place on June 28, and aims to provide an incentive for landlords to maintain existing tenancies.
“This final round of the scheme will continue to provide targeted assistance for tenants in financial hardship, who may be finding it hard to cope with rent increases and maintain their tenancies including those who rely on Centrelink as a primary income,” Commerce Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said.
“The Western Australian economy is performing strongly but it remains important to continue to offer this scheme to those still in need of assistance as we transition towards the end of the State’s COVID-19 roadmap.”
Rent support grants will be available for tenants who are facing a significant rent increase and need financial assistance to meet rent payments.
These grants are capped at $2000 per tenancy and the landlord must agree to a lease of at least six months.
Rent arrears assistance grants are available to help tenants pay a current outstanding rent debt incurred before December 1, 2020.
Grants for 75 per cent of rent arrears, up to a maximum of $4000, will be paid directly to eligible landlords.
In return, the landlord and tenant must enter into a minimum six-month lease agreement.
While some applicants may be eligible for rent arrears assistance and rent support, it is not possible to receive both grants.
If an applicant meets the eligibility criteria for both grants, the processing officer will calculate which is of the greatest benefit, and this will be paid to the landlord on the applicant’s behalf.
Previous grant applicants can apply again under the extended scheme subject to eligibility criteria.
More information is available at dmirs.wa.gov.au/covidrentgrant.