• Xotel

All About the Rent Relief Grant

Hardships are a common occurrence because life can be quite unpredictable. But because of the current situation that’s happening around the world, so many have been going through a tough time to even make ends meet. This time is truly challenging for all of us.

The impact COVID-19 on the world goes beyond the health aspect. Renters, for instance, may experience paying rent because businesses have had to make the difficult decision to stop operations temporarily. Assistance is one probably the most needed form of help right now and that is why the Victorian Government has created a rent relief grant meant for those struggling to pay rent.

So what is the rent relief grant?

The rent relief grant was established to provide rental assistance to Victorians struggling to pay rent due to corona virus. It is an $80 million rental relief fund to help tenants keep their residence safe and secure.

Tenants who cannot afford to pay their rent should contact their landlord or property manager right away to negotiate an alternative arrangement. Rental reduction is one of the things you can negotiate for.

So who will be eligible for this specific grant?

As previously mentioned, this particular grant is eligible for tenants in Victoria experiencing rental hardships due to COVID-19. Rental hardship is when a tenant pays more than 30 percent of their income in rent and with very limited personal savings. The tenant also has limited access to other benefits and support.

According to Housing Victoria, to be eligible for this grant “you will need to have registered your revised rental agreement with Consumer Affairs Victoria or gone through mediation, have less than $5,000 in savings and still be paying at least 30 percent of your income in rent. Your household income must be less than $1,903 per week.”

The main purpose of the relief grant is to provide support to eligible people going through rental hardship. However, the grant cannot be paid directly to the tenant. It can only be used for rental purposes – utilities and household items are not applicable.

So how about the landlords?

Everyone is affected – even landlords are hit too. Some are even struggling. But the good thing is, landlords may have access to mortgage access and low-interest rates, which could be very helpful during this time. Relief on rates is also something to look at and costs related to their investment properties. This way, landlords may be able to support their tenants more efficiently.

In addition to this, landlords can help using these approaches:

  • Have a conversation with your tenants regarding the whole situation to be able to address the problem and how you can come up with solutions for them.

  • Encourage your tenants to find out the concessions their banks are offering to find out what compromise you and your tenants can come up with.

  • Be informed. Take note of the changes that will take place and keep yourself updated.

We previously had mentioned that the Victorian Government offered a $500m package for tax relief and residential tenancies. According to the announcement, “if a landlord provides tenants impacted by coronavirus with rent relief, they will be eligible for a 25% discount on their land tax, while any remaining land tax can be deferred until March 2021.”

While short-term plans are good, it’s still important to form plans that will be useful in the long run because this battle is not going to end anytime soon. Xotel will continue to partner with different organizations to help out.

For more information about the relief grant, visit https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/resources-and-tools/advice-in-a-disaster/coronavirus-covid19-and-your-rights

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