South Australian residential tenants who are suffering significant financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 restrictions may be eligible for rent relief through a $1000 grant to their landlords.
It is estimated as many as 10,000 tenancies could be assisted under the scheme, worth approximately $10 million in rent support.
Based on similar schemes interstate, tenants would be eligible for state government rent relief if they are either receiving JobKeeper or JobSeeker payments, have less than $5000 in savings and be paying more than 30% of their income in rent.
Treasurer Rob Lucas said the $1000 grants were an important part of the government’s $1 billion economic stimulus package.
“We know many South Australians are doing it incredibly tough at the moment and these $1000 grants will encourage landlords to support tenants across the state to keep their head above water during this challenging time,” said Mr Lucas.
“This scheme will assist landlords and tenants, including those landlords who don’t qualify for existing government relief delivered via the emergency land tax relief scheme for landlords this financial year – because the value of their land falls below the land tax threshold.
“The $1000 rent relief grants will be provided to landlords of eligible tenants, provided revised rental terms have been agreed that deliver rent relief of at least $1000.
“The rent relief grant will be adjusted to reflect the value of the rent relief provided to an eligible tenant where it is less than $1000.”
Landlords and tenants will be required to demonstrate that a revised rental agreement has been negotiated as part of the application process.
Tenants can register their interest at the Department of Treasury and Finance website.
Applications for the rent relief grants will open in the next 2-3 weeks and will close on 30 September 2020.
The scheme builds on previously announced protections for residential landlords and tenants, which ensure that:
- landlords cannot increase tenants’ rent;
- tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent if they are suffering financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
- landlords remain protected if unaffected tenants breach their lease.