Homeowners and tenants affected by COVID-19 will be entitled to a helping hand until December 31, as part of new changes to the state government’s residential rent relief subsidy program.

Payments to troubled tenants were initially scheduled to stop at the end of June, but the government recently decided it would continue to support people until the end of this year.

So far, the taxpayer has paid more than $ 11.6 million in grants to convince landlords to keep their rentals over fears that pandemic hardships could lead to mass evictions in Perth.

Under this program, people facing large rent increases can apply for up to $ 2,000 in assistance if their landlord agrees to a lease extension of six months or more.

Renters with rent debts accrued before December 1, 2020 can get up to $ 4,000 paid directly to qualifying landlords, again, if the existing tenancy is extended for at least six months.

Former grant applicants can also reapply under the extended scheme, but tenants cannot apply for both rent assistance and arrears assistance.

Instead, tenants who qualify for both programs will need to speak with a processing officer to determine which grant will be most useful.

According to Commerce Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson, 8,300 people have already been supported under the Residential Rent Relief program, and this is one of many initiatives designed to remove barriers in the market immovable.

“This latest round of the program will continue to provide targeted assistance to tenants in financial difficulty, who may find it difficult to cope with rent increases and maintain their tenancies, including those who depend on Centrelink for their primary income,” a- she declared.

Housing Minister John Carey said in addition to this, the state government has also put in place a series of measures to increase the housing stock to improve housing availability and affordability. rental.

“We are promoting affordable housing construction and homeownership through our $ 20,000 construction grant program and expanded eligibility criteria for Keystart,” he said. declared. “At the same time, we are investing close to $ 1 billion in modernizing and expanding our social housing stock and other initiatives for the homeless. “

The Property Council of Australia WA has welcomed extending rent relief to help tenants and landlords, but urged the government to prioritize tackling rent shortages.

Executive Director Sandra Brewer said loans in Western Australia for investment property reached just under $ 500 million in May – a figure that had not been seen since 2015.

But despite the positive change, she said investor loan values ​​still only accounted for 18% of all new loan commitments – a market dominated by homeowners.

“For more than five years, we have seen meager investment in the private rental market, which means that when WA experienced a strong population performance during COVID-19, there was not enough supply on the market. market, which has resulted in rent increases and reduced rental availability across the state, ”she said.

“While the Real Estate Council supports the government’s efforts to help tenants and investors facing difficulties during the pandemic, there must simultaneously be a commitment to tackle the rental supply.

“Measures to maintain residents’ investment in WA include the indefinite extension of the off-plan stamp duty exemption and the encouragement of rental construction development by removing land tax barriers that hinder land use. ‘investment. “

The Property Council has already spoken out on facilitating a thriving rental construction industry and on permanently removing stamp duty for people buying apartments that have yet to be built.

Right now, people can get a 75% refund of duties paid for pre-construction contracts signed between October 23, 2019 and October 23 of this year.

In May 2020, the state government spoke out against stamping out the stamp duty, raising it roughly $ 1.1 billion in 2018-19.

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