We are in WA experiencing a huge shortage of rental accommodations. The issue was that the moratorium had led investors to flee the market.
The vacancy rate in the Perth metropolitan area was just above record lows, at one percent in February 2021, according to the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA).
The ban on rent increases and some evictions was introduced in March 2020 by the state government to provide stability for people as thousands were losing their jobs and the economy was battered by COVID-19.
Yet, once the eviction moratorium expires, many renters may be left in difficult situations as job losses have heavily impacted many.
From March 29, landlords will again be allowed to increase rents and have more leeway to evict people or tell them to move out because the property is being sold.
REIWA president Damian Collins estimated rental prices for apartments and houses would increase by about 15 percent on average once the moratorium ended.
More financial assistance is being offered by the McGowan Government to tenants and landlords with the aim of securing current tenancies when the moratorium on evictions and rent increases ends on March 28, 2021.
The State Government is making available $30 million for grants of up to $2,000 for Western Australian residential tenants who lost their jobs on or after 20 March 2020 and are facing financial hardship due to the COVID -19 pandemic.
The latest extension to the Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme (RRRGS) will target tenants who may struggle to pay expected rent increases when the moratorium ends and with the rental market in Western Australia being tight.
To qualify for this fourth phase in assistance, tenants who are facing a significant rent increase, greater than the normal market rate of five percent a year, can apply, but their landlord must agree to a fixed-term lease of at least six months duration starting from the moratorium end date. This grant is capped at $2,000 per tenancy.
Rent arrears assistance grants are also still available to help tenants pay their outstanding rent debt that arose before 1 December 2020. Grants for 75 per cent of rent arrears, up to a maximum of $4,000, will be paid directly to eligible landlords. This includes any rent that was waived or reduced during the moratorium emergency period.
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