The Tasmanian Government is proud of the support we have provided to Tasmanian tenants and landlords during what has been a challenging period.
As we continue to transition away from the emergency relief provisions, between our COVID-19 Rent Relief Fund and COVID-19 Landlord Support Fund, more than $3.1 million in support has been provided to Tasmanian tenants and landlords. The COVID-19 Landlord Support Fund has seen more than 86 per cent of rent arrears cleared, accessed by landlords.
We were the first State in Australia to legislate protections for residential landlords and tenants experiencing severe hardship during the unprecedented circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the expiry of the emergency period on 31 January 2021, we have extended the support already offered through the COVID-19 Rent Relief Fund and COVID-19 Landlord Support Fund until 31 March 2021 as a transitional measure.
Our Government’s amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 also allows for rent arrears payment orders to now be issued by the Residential Tenancy Commissioner on application by a party or parties to a tenancy arrangement to allow landlords to recoup any remaining rental arrears accrued during the COVID-19 emergency period.
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 the parties to a tenancy arrangement acting in good faith.
It is also important to note that a landlord can only 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.
For more information regarding residential and commercial tenancy changes and rights, please visit www.cbos.tas.gov.au.
Elise Archer, Minister for Building and Construction