COVID-19 Rent Assistance & Other Government Housing Support
The Queensland State Government’s COVID-19 Rent Assistance for residential tenants and property owners passed in Parliament on Wednesday 22 April 2020. The legislation and associated regulations introduced special measures that apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new rules only apply to renters and their households directly impacted by COVID-19. Tenants must provide RTA Show Cause Notice in accordance with the legislation. A Residential Tenancies Practice Guide for COVID-19 is available from the Queensland Government web site.
The new COVID-19 measures include:
- tenants in financial distress due to the impact of the coronavirus who cannot meet their rent commitments cannot be evicted or listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears;
- fixed term agreements due to expire during the COVID-19 pandemic were extended to 30 September 2020 unless the tenant requests a shorter term;
- owner obligations for routine repairs and inspections have been relaxed but regulatory obligations to ensure tenant safety in the rental property continue to apply;
- tenants may refuse physical entry for non-essential reasons, including routine repairs and inspections, particularly if a member of the household is a vulnerable person. However, tenants must agree to virtual inspections if physical inspections are not agreed to;
- tenants who have been affected by COVID-19 and who meet specific criteria may apply for a General Tenancy COVID-19 Variation Agreement. Any variation to the tenancy agreement needs to be negotiated and agreed with the landlord;
- tenants and property owners should work together to reach agreement. If agreement cannot be reached, parties are required to undertake conciliation to resolve disputes;
- if the landlord agrees to a temporary rent reduction, the balance of the rent is deferred and needs to be repaid at some future point in time;
- the bond remains as per the original tenancy agreement;
- if owners need to sell their rental property due to their own financial circumstances, 60 days notice needs to be given to the tenant (including for Fixed Term Leases)
Importantly, if the tenant or the household is not affected by COVID-19 the standard tenancy rules and obligations prevail. For more information about the new COVID-19 Queensland Regulations for Landlords – click here.
Government Housing Assistance & COVID-19 Support Programs
In addition to the COVID-19 Rent Assistance, other rental support programs can help supplement your income and reduce your rental costs. This includes the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS). For more information about these programs visit:
- COVID-19 Tenancy Update
- Queensland Government Bond Loans & Rental Grants
- Apply for a Rental Grant
- COVID-19 Mental Health Support Australian Government
- COVID-19 Mental Wellbeing Support Service – Beyond Blue
- Australian Government NRAS Information for Tenants
- Queensland Government NRAS Information for Tenants
- Realestate.com.au NRAS Rental Listings in Queensland
Would you like to save 20% or more on your rent?
If your answer is ‘YES’, then you should check out NRAS – the National Rental Affordability Scheme. This fantastic government funded program helps tens of thousands of people gain access to high quality properties including houses, duplexes, townhouses and apartments. To learn more about whether you are eligible for NRAS, please click the on-line eligibility checklist below.
Since 2008, we’ve helped more than 5,000 thousand families across Greater Brisbane save over $20 million in rent. Many of these households have moved forward to buy their first home.