RENTAL ASSISTANCE DURING COVID-19 IN VICTORIA
The Victorian Government has once again, established a rental assistance fund to provide Rent Relief Grants of up to $1,500 to Victorians experiencing rental hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is paid directly to the renter’s agent, to contribute to their rental payments, under their rental agreement.
To be eligible for the grant a renter will need to:
Have lost income as a result of the pandemic on or after 27 May 2021
Have less than $2,000 in savings (excluding superannuation)
Have a single income of less than $1,208.85 per week, or $1,813.46 as a couple, aligning to an annual income limit of $62,860 for singles, and $94,300 for couples
Provide proof of a rent reduction agreement for a period after 27 May 2021
Be paying more than 30% of their income in rent.
We have received a few requests for this grant from tenants so far but not nearly as many as we experienced in 2020 during Covid. If a tenant does approach us about this, they can only apply for the grant if their landlord has provided a rent reduction. It is completely up to the landlord as to whether they agree to this.
We would recommend reductions in situations where the renter is struggling to pay the rent and falling into arrears as, in most cases, it would ensure that $1500 is paid to the rental provider (aka landlord) by the government towards the rent.
The Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund 3 provides a grant for eligible small commercial landlords with total taxable landholdings under $3 million (excluding their primary place of residence) where commercial rent represents more than 50% of their gross income.
To be eligible for the grant, Landlords must have;
An agreement providing the Renter proportionate reduction in rent
And, of the balance, at least half must be waived
And the remainder deferred.
Rental relief must be provided between 28th July 2021 and 15th January 2022 under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme and approved landlords must use the grant to offset the waiver as agreed in the scheme.
For example, a Renter’s business with a turnover of 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels can only be charged 40 per cent of its rent. To qualify for the grant, the landlord must waive at least half the balance (30% of the pre-COVID rent) and the remainder (30% of the pre-COVID rent) is deferred.
Landlords can apply for the grant of up to $6,000 per tenancy and the grant amount will be equal to the amount of rent agreed to be waived per eligible tenancy up to the $6,000.
The program guidelines provide the following eligibility criteria:
be a landlord with total taxable landholdings of less than $3 million, including part holdings but excluding principal place of residence, or where a property is held on trust, the total taxable landholdings of the trust must be less than $3 million
be able to confirm property ownership by Customer Number shown on the State Revenue Office Land Tax Assessment Notice or by a 2020-21 Municipal Rates Notice
be the landlord of property subject to a Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme eligible tenancy
be a landlord with a current lease agreement that provides rent relief to the tenant(s) under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme for any period between 28 July 2021 and 15 January 2022.
Landlords must be able to attest that the commercial rent represents more than 50 per cent of their total gross income for the 2019-20 financial year.
In cases when Landlords are experiencing acute hardship due to the agreed rent waiver with their Renter, Landlords may be eligible to increase the grant to a maximum of $10,000 per eligible tenancy.
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like more information.