The ACT government has issued a statement expressing its commitment to Canberrans and local businesses who are struggling amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In an update to its website, the ACT government declared that it 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”.
When it comes to rent reduction rebates, the ACT government confirmed that 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,” it said.
Further, the ACT government confirmed that it is also preparing regulations to support tenants under financial duress. These options include a short-term moratorium on evictions, temporary freeze of rental increases and prevention of “blacklisting” as a result of being unable to pay rent, it said.
Breaking down the idea of rent payment freeze agreements, the ACT government said “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,” it added.
Commenting further, Attorney-GeneralRamsay said:
“We understand this is a difficult time for many Canberrans, particularly those that have suffered a significant reduction in their income. Like all governments around Australia, we are committed to ensuring Canberrans and local businesses that are struggling financially are not unfairly kicked out of their property.
“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,” the Attorney-General concluded.