The State Government have announced they have extended the Covid-19 Response Act until March 28, 2021 in an effort to preserve stability and certainty in the WA rental market. This included the moratorium on evictions, rent increases and other provisions.
The Residential Tenancies(COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 introduced;
- a moratorium on eviction for six months except in limited circumstances including, for example: if a tenant is causing serious damage to the property or injury to the landlord or a person in adjacent premises; the landlord is experiencing undue hardship; a tenant is experiencing family violence; unpaid rent that is not due to financial hardship causes by Covid-19; the tenant abandons the premises; or the agreement is frustrated;
- a prohibition on rent increases during the emergency period; that any fixed term tenancy agreement due to expire during the emergency period will continue as a periodic agreement; relieving lessors of the obligation to conduct ordinary repairs if the reason they cannot do so is COVID-19 related financial hardship or a lawful restriction on movement; and enabling a tenant to end a fixed term tenancy prior to it’s end date without incurring break lease fees (tenants will still be liable for any damage and rent arrears including the 21 day notice period).
If the parties to the lease are unable to agree upon a rent repayment agreement then an aggrieved party can make a submission to the Commissioner for Fair Trading and through a conciliation conference. Attempts will be made to agree upon a rent repayment agreement.
A rent repayment agreement will provide some comfort in that there is clear agreement as to the repayment of any debt arising during the emergency period. Also, it appears that having a rent repayment agreement without the need for conciliation will also provide a timely path to terminate the lease on the day following the emergency period, if the tenant is in default of the rent repayment agreement.
Further details available at
www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/covidrenting or by calling the Landlord’s Hotline on
1300 304 054.