The ACT Government will be providing information to tenants, landlords and real estate agents to help all parties understand their rights and obligations during this difficult and uncertain period.
The Government has committed to implement a six-month moratorium on rental evictions for tenants suffering significant financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, as agreed by all State and Territory leaders at the National Cabinet.
Significant financial subsides are available for landlords to support a reduction in rent for tenants impacted by measures to slow the spread of the virus.
This additional information has been designed to inform all parties of what is and what is not acceptable behaviour if a tenant is unable to make rental payments due to the impact of COVID-19.
“We understand this is a difficult time for many Canberrans, particularly those that have suffered a significant reduction in their income. Like all Government’s around Australia, we are committed to ensuring Canberrans and local businesses that are struggling financial are not unfairly kicked out of their property,” Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said.
“However, this isn’t a licence for tenants to completely forgo their rental obligations. If you can continue to pay your rent, then you will be required to continue doing so.
“This information should help parties understand their rights and obligations as the ACT Government works with other State and Territory Governments to finalise regulatory frameworks for residential tenancies and the six-month moratorium on evictions.
"The ACT Government will also move to prevent any ‘blacklisting’ occurring if a tenant has lost income as a result of COVID-19.
“All parties need to come to the table if their living situation has been disrupted due to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Rent Reduction Rebate
To be entitled to this rebate, Landlords must reduce tenants rent by at least 25 per cent for up to six months. The government will match 50 per cent of the rent reduction to a maximum of $2,600 over six months or $100 per week. The government’s share of the rent reduction will be provided to landlords through a rebate.
Moratorium on evictions, blacklist prevention and temporary freeze of rental increases
The ACT Government is also preparing regulations to support any tenant under financial duress due to COVID-19 including a short-term moratorium on evictions, temporary freeze of rental increases and prevention of ‘blacklisting’ as a result of being unable to pay rent.
Rent payment freeze agreement
Additionally, parties may reach an agreement to delay rental payments if a tenant is not earning income. Any outstanding rent during this period will be a debt owed to your landlord. However, this debt will not accrue interest for the period of any moratorium.
The ACT Government intends to have a regulatory framework on residential tenancies finalised in the near future and fact sheets will be updated accordingly.
For information on your rights and obligations during this period visit: https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/resources
If tenants need legal advice in relation to their living situation, they should contact ACT Legal Aid on 1300 654 634.