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COVID-19 And Ending Your Tenancy in Perth

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COVID-19 And Ending Your Tenancy in Perth
  • Georgia
  • Jul 29 2020
The past few months have been filled with uncertainty due to the global outbreak of COVID-19. While the country is struggling to fight back the implications of an impending downturn, people are becoming anxious about losing their jobs. It has been a testing time for those who have lost their livelihood or are facing a financially distressing time.

Consequently, paying rent has become a challenge for various individuals who are suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, many are about to reach the end of their tenancy and are feeling overwhelmed. They are concerned about fulfilling their vacate cleaning in Perth requirements when they move out. To quell their fears, many end of lease cleaning companies are providing vacate cleaning service with all the safety measures in place.

Additionally, taking note of the situation, the Western Australia Government has introduced the Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 to support tenants and landlords. The Act puts forward the six-month moratorium on evictions and other measures, which has helped tenants to avoid forced evictions.

It is applicable to all the tenants in housing, residential parks, and boarders and lodgers. The government is offering financial aid by offering a grant of up to $2,000 for four weeks rent to those who are unable to pay the amount due to current circumstances.

The moratorium came into effect on 30 March 2020 and will end on 29 September 2020, which is also known as the emergency period. The duration of the period can be increased or decreased by the government after taking into account the status of the pandemic.

Provisions of the Moratorium

All the tenants and landlords must be aware of the new provisions in place to evade the challenges related to end of the tenancy in Perth. Take a look at the rulings which are applicable to public and government housing, park homes, and boarders and lodgers.

  • The new residential tenancy laws in Western Australia have put a ban on increasing the rent during the moratorium period.
  • If the tenant has a fixed-term lease agreement, which will expire during the moratorium period, then it will automatically become a periodic agreement. It is applicable only if the two parties do not enter into another fixed-term agreement.
  • Landlords are exempted from conducting non-urgent repair work if they are also facing financial difficulty or are adhering to the restrictions placed by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus.
  • Tenants who will be ending their fixed-term lease agreement before the due date during the period will not incur any break-lease fees. However, they will have to pay for damages and rent arrears.

Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants

  • Tenants must get in touch with their landlords if they are facing a financial crunch to negotiate the lease terms, which can include changing the lease agreement to postpone the rent payments to a later date. The tenant can also ask for a reduction in the rent amount or the termination of the agreement without incurring any penalty.
  • If the parties are unable to reach a consensus, then they will have to go through a mandatory conciliation process facilitated by the Commissioner for Consumer Protection. Also, if the landlord or the tenant is facing a crisis-like situation, then they can approach the Magistrates Court or State Administrative Tribunal to get the lease agreement terminated.
  • Tenants who have secure jobs and are not affected by the pandemic must continue to pay their rent during the six-month moratorium. If the tenant refuses to pay the rent, then the landlord can approach Consumer Protection to reach an agreement or terminate the lease. They can also apply for mortgage relief if they are facing heavy debt due to the non-payment of rent.
  • If the rented property is in need of urgent repairs, but the landlord is not providing any help, then the tenant can get the problem fixed and is allowed to get compensation of the expenses from the landlord.

Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords

  • A landlord who is himself affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can ask for proof of financial hardship from the tenant. The proof should be able to provide evidence of a decrease in salary or losses in business through emails, letters, etc. However, the landlord cannot demand proof of savings or spending behaviour of the tenants by asking for bank statements or superannuation documents. The landlord has no right to offer advice on superannuation.
  • If the rent is decreased through a mutual agreement between the two parties, then the landlord must get in touch with the insurance company to know about his/her rights. In most cases, the rental default comes with an additional premium. Thus the landlord must clarify if he/she has paid for this coverage or not.
  • In the situation where the landlord is unable to pay the mortgage due to non-payment of rent by the tenant, he can consult the financial institution or money lender to get some relief. The tenant can also apply for the Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme and receive assistance to help the landlord. However, the landlord cannot force the tenant to apply for the grant. They can only request them to opt for it to help each other.
  • If the property is in need of urgent repairs, but the landlord does not have the money to get it fixed, then they can ask lenders or financial institutions for loans. They can also ask their tenants to pay for the time being and reimburse them later when the situation gets better.
  • If the landlord is planning to sell the property during the emergency period, then the viewing should be done through photos and videos. On-site viewing should not involve more than ten people who should be socially distanced. All other sanitisation and safety precautions should be carried out during the inspection. You can hire professional vacate cleaners in Perth to ensure a clean and hygienic viewing and get the full bond back.

Eviction and Termination Laws

  • Tenants who are severely affected by the pandemic cannot be evicted from the leased property. However, they can be asked to move out if they willingly choose not to pay the rent when they are not facing any financial difficulty.
  • They can also be evicted if they refuse to communicate with the landlord about the payment of rent arrears.
  • Tenants can be evicted from the property in case a court or tribunal had ordered the termination of the lease agreement before the beginning of the six-month moratorium.
  • The landlord can ask for eviction if the tenant is causing damage to the rented space or shared areas. He can also order the same if the tenant has injured the landlord or the agent or neighbours. The landlord must get a court order terminating the agreement in case of physical injury.
  • The landlord can also obtain the termination order from the court if he has lost his job and needs to move into the rented property himself. The tenant can ask the court for compensation orders to bear the expenses incurred by the termination of the lease.
  • Tenants who want to end their periodic lease agreement before the end date due to COVID-19 can give a 21-day notice to the landlord in writing. On the other hand, if it is a fixed-term agreement, then the tenant must approach the court to get the termination orders. However, the tenant must continue to pay the rent until the end of the tenancy in Perth.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic has made a substantial impact on human life. While many tenants are relying on professionals for vacate cleaning in Perth and to disinfect their rented properties, others are suffering from financial problems. Thus you must know about the points mentioned above to get out of the troubling situation with ease.