Relief is here for those property owners who helped tenants out whilst they were struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic by agreeing to reduce, defer or waive rent during the emergency period.An extension to the current rent relief scheme, tenants will now be able to pay their rent debt direct to property owners when the emergency tenancy laws end on 28 March 2021. The move by the Western Australian Government is aimed at providing an incentive for owners to maintain existing tenancies and prevent evictions when the moratorium ends. What does this mean? To date, more than 5,700 tenants who applied for the existing grant have been provided financial assistance amounting to $8 million of the allocated $30 million. The unspent funds will be re-purposed to provide property owners with direct one-off payments equivalent to 75 per cent of the accrued rent arrears incurred during the emergency period, up to a maximum of $4,000. This will include any rent that was reduced, waived or deferred during the emergency period. How does it work? As a property owner, a key condition on receiving the funding is that a fixed-term tenancy agreement of six months or longer is entered into with the existing tenant at a reasonable rent that is affordable. As a tenant, you will be able to apply for the new grants scheme if you: Lost your job or 50 per cent of your income due to COVID-19 or were in receipt of a Centrelink payment (excluding JobKeeper), on or after 20 March 2020 Have less than $10,000 in savings Pay more than 25 per cent of your income in rent per week Are a tenant or sub-tenant in a private residential property, rooming house or residential park Have a tenancy agreement in place as of the 1 December 2020 Incurred the debt before 1 December 2020; and Have a bond lodged with the Bond Administrator. More information Applications opened on Monday 4 January and will close on Monday 28 June 2021. For more information on how to apply for the grant, visit the Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety’s website.