State leads with $2k coronavirus relief for renters
Struggling tenants whose jobs have been affected by coronavirus will have their rent paid by the Queensland government for a month under a new initiative announced today.
The Queensland COVID-19 Rental Grant went live Thursday morning on the State Government housing website, with applications taken online. If successful, it could be replicated across the country.
"This grant is only available to Queenslanders who need it the most and have exhausted all other options," the government website states.
"The COVID-19 Rental Grant is a one-off payment of up to four weeks rent (maximum of $2000) available to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, who do not have access to other financial assistance. The grant is paid directly to your lessor."
To be eligible, applicants must live in Queensland, have a bond or shortly have a bond with the Residential Tenancies Authority, have less than $10,000 in cash and savings, and have applied to Centrelink for income support if they've lost their jobs.
The move was designed to help renters waiting for their Centrelink applications to come through, which could take up to a month. All renters must also have tried to negotiate a payment plan with their landlord.
Brisbane-based chief economist for PRD Nationwide Dr Diaswati Mardiasmo told The Courier-Mail that the initiative would help tide people over.
"Even with the Jobseeker and coronavirus supplement, people won't receive that money until late April. This tides you over until you are receiving all those other government payments."
She said the initiative was sorely needed right now.
"Landlords can breathe a sigh of relief because there is this help for renters. If you're a renter who has just lost your job, there is this help to tide you over until all of the other payments come in," Mardiasmo
She said landlords were looking at increased costs if they froze their mortgage payments during the coming six months so it was best to try as much as possible to keep payments going.
"(Landlords) still have to pay rates, insurance and body corporate. Nobody's freezing body corporate. Still have to pay any agent fee, property management fee. It's not just the mortgage. So at least this sort of rental assistance gives temporary relief."
Queensland will pay the rent for a month for struggling tenants who have run out of options after their jobs were impacted by coronavirus, a move that could be replicated elsewhere.
The Queensland COVID-19 Rental Grant went live Thursday morning on the State Government housing website, with applications taken online.
Originally published as QLD leads with $2k coronavirus relief for struggling renters