The centrepiece of the support package is a 6 month freeze on evictions dated from 29 March 2020.
Check out the Queensland Government Residential Rental Hub for full details. Here’s a snapshot of the key points:
- If you’re having trouble paying rent because you’ve lost your job or your income has been reduced, talk to your agent or your property owner as soon as possible.
- The government is encouraging renters and landlords to find solutions that will work for both parties – we’re all facing these challenges together.
- Document any decisions you agree upon, and if you can’t reach agreement, conciliation will occur through the Residential Tenancy Authority.
- Tenants experiencing financial difficulty should check if they’re eligible for Centrelink COVID-19 income support. If other avenues fail, you may be eligible for a COVID-19 Rental Grant.
- Tenant break-lease costs are capped at one week’s rent for the period of the pandemic.
- Tenants can also refuse entry to a property owner or manager for non-essential reasons, particularly if they have health concerns. The key is to work together to make arrangements such as virtual inspections or private viewings by appointment only.
If that seems like a lot of support for renters and not much for landlords, the Property Investors Council of Australia would probably agree with you. They have been vocal in calling for more support for landlords, who they point out are “everyday Australians who are also feeling the hit with job losses and reduced income like everyone else”.
The government makes clear to landlords on its Rental Hub that it is “critical from a public health perspective that people can self-isolate in their homes, and this means ensuring that they can remain in their rental properties for the duration of this crisis”.
That’s understandable, but no doubt you will be looking for help too if you’re a landlord struggling to pay the mortgage. If that’s the case, contact your bank. Many financial institutions are offering repayment pauses to help investors, as well as homeowners, ride out the pandemic without going into arrears.
Need some help with your situation? Contact us for a chat.