Extending support for Tasmanian tenants and new assistance for landlords experiencing hardship

Elise Archer,Minister for Building and Construction

The Tasmanian Government is committed to supporting tenants and landlords as the State recovers and rebuilds from COVID-19.

That is why we acted quickly to protect and support residential tenants at risk of eviction as a result of the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, extending the initial emergency period in the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 until 30 September 2020.

The decision to extend protections to 30 September 2020 was not made lightly. In order to best support residential landlords, some minor changes to the existing protections at the time were made to allow a notice to vacate to be issued for a lease of no fixed period in the event of the sale of property, major renovations, or for the owner or a close family member to move into the property.

We have continued to closely monitor the situation, consider all the options, and listen to Tasmanians to best inform the next steps.

After careful consideration, the Government will:

  • extend the emergency period for residential tenancies to 1 December 2020;
  • extend the financial hardship period for commercial tenancies to 1 December 2020;
  • extend the Rent Relief Fund to 1 December 2020; and
  • introduce a new COVID-19 Landlord Support Fund.

As of Thursday, 3 September 2020, more than 700 Tasmanian residential tenants had accessed the Rent Relief Fund. In addition to extending the Rent Relief Fund, the Government will also allow tenants who have accessed the Fund to apply for a further payment of up to four weeks rent to a maximum of $2000, if they are still in arrears.

The Government’s advice has, and continues to be, that this is not a rent holiday for residential tenants.

We also recognise the impacts of COVID-19 have been felt by many residential landlords, which is why the Government will also introduce a new COVID-19 Landlord Support Fund. The purpose of this Fund is to provide financial support to those residential landlords experiencing financial hardship.

This Fund will offer landlords, who can demonstrate they have tenants in rent arrears, up to four weeks rent to a maximum of $2000 in financial relief.

Furthermore, the Government will soon release for consultation a Bill that will provide for residential landlords and tenants to formally enter into a payment plan to deal with the tenant’s rent arrears. This Bill will be brought to Parliament before December 2020, and will help provide a pathway forward for tenants and landlords when the emergency period concludes.

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