Tasmania was the first state in Australia to legislate protections for residential landlords and tenants experiencing severe hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residential rental protections will come to an end on 31st January 2021 along with the financial hardship period for commercial tenancies.
“Tasmania is in a strong position and our Government is now focused on assisting residential tenancies to transition out of the emergency period” Said Elise Archer, Minister for Building and Construction
“But we have always said that if circumstances dramatically change in the future, we will consider further support if required.”
To support residential tenants and landlords through the transition from 1st February to 31st March 2021, the Government will extend the financial support already offered through the Rent Relieve Fund and Landlord Support Fund.
More than $2.8 million in support has already been paid to more than 3,400 landlords and tenants who have been financially impacted by COVID-19, representing approximately 81% of rent arrears.
“In addition, our Government’s amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 will allow for rent arrears payment orders to be issued by the Residential Tenancy Commissioner to allow landlords to recoup any remaining rental arrears accrued during the COVID-19 emergency period.” Said Elise Archer
The rent arrears payment orders do not override the obligation of a tenant to make regular payments of rent but instead outline a schedule for repayments in addition to normal rent obligations, and in turn protect them from eviction whilst complying with the payment order.
“I am confident these initiatives will help transition parties to a tenancy arrangement acting in good faith.”
Once the emergency period expires on 31st January 2021, a landlord will only be able to increase rent in line with the Residential Tenancy Act 1997.
If a tenant believes a rent increase is unreasonably high, they can apply to the Residential Tenancy Commissioner to have the rent increase reviewed.