What Tenants Need To Know About COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting every aspect of our lives right now, including the Perth rental market.

We take a look at what every tenant needs to know about tenancies, rent and rental properties in WA right now.

Can you stop paying rent?

Most tenants must still pay rent as usual. The exception is tenants suffering genuine financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, such as having their income significantly reduced or losing their job.

The WA Government says tenants who fall into this category must contact their landlord or property manager as soon as possible so that they can arrive at a mutually agreeable solution. This could include deferring or decreasing the rent or terminating the lease with 21 days notice, even when there’s time left to run on it.

That said, tenants must give you 21 days notice if they terminate a lease due to financial hardship.

What support is available?

The WA Government’s Residential Rent Relief Scheme provides grants of up to $2,000 to help tenants affected by COVID-19 pay the rent. To qualify, you must live in a residential home, rooming house or residential park and have lodged a bond with the Bond Administrator (we do this on behalf of our landlords and tenants whenever they enter into a new lease). You must also:

  • have lost your job after 20 March 2020
  • be suffering from financial hardship
  • not be receiving JobKeeper payments
  • have less than $10,000 in savings (combined with any co-tenants)
  • contribute more than 25% of your income towards rent (combined with any co-tenants)

You can read more about the scheme and apply for a grant here.

Can you be evicted during COVID-19?

The Commonwealth government has announced a six-month moratorium on evictions across Australia.

This means even where a tenant can’t afford to pay, a landlord can’t terminate the lease until after 30 September. This doesn’t mean the tenant won’t owe rent. Instead, any unpaid rent simply accrues and then becomes payable when the moratorium ends.

If you’re struggling to meet the rent, don’t let it get this far. Speak to us sooner, rather than later, so we can negotiate an arrangement that your landlord will agree to. Most landlords are reasonable and will look to work with you over this time if you’re facing genuine financial hardship.

What other changes are there?

The regulations introducing the moratorium on evictions also contain a number of other important changes.

  • Landlords can’t increase the rent on an existing lease until 30 September 2020.
  • Any lease that expires between now and September 30 will convert to a periodic tenancy unless the landlord and tenant agree to a new lease.
  • No interest will be payable on any rent arrears that accrues until 30 September 2020.

What about property maintenance or repairs?

Strictly speaking, if your landlord is suffering financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 they may not be required to carry out repairs. However, if your property needs maintenance or repairs, you should contact us just as you always would.

We will be able to sort out a solution and can still get tradespeople to attend your home, even during the current restrictions.

Can you rent a property during COVID-19?

There is no restriction on being able to rent a property. In late April, the WA Government lifted many of the restrictions on open homes so that up to 10 people at a time can now attend a property, so long as they observe social distancing rules. You can book an inspection time through our website.

How has the rental market changed?

With COVID-19 causing disruption to the economy, many people are staying put. That means now is a good time to find a decent property, with many quality rentals hitting the market.

You can see some of the great Perth properties we have available for rent right here.

Get in touch

You’ll be pleased to know it’s business as usual for us during COVID-19, get in touch if you’d like any help.

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