The WA Government will seek to introduce into Parliament this week legislation to minimise the financial impacts of the COVID-19 on tenants and landlords of residential tenancies.
The State Government has flagged that under the proposed Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020:
- The Commissioner for Consumer Protection will be given new powers to make the conciliation of disputes between landlords and tenants mandatory.
- Landlords will be relieved of the obligation to conduct ordinary repairs if the reason they cannot do so is COVID-19 related financial hardship or a lawful restriction on movement.
- Rent increases will be prohibited during the emergency period, however tenants must continue to pay rent. If a tenant can’t pay their rent they will still have the obligation to pay any rent outstanding later.
- There is a six month moratorium on evictions of tenants, except in limited circumstances where:
- a tenant is causing damage to the property;
- a tenant is causing injury to the landlord or a person in neighbouring premises;
- the landlord or tenant is experiencing undue hardship;
- a tenant is experiencing family violence and the perpetrator needs to be evicted;
- the tenant abandons the premises; or
- the tenancy agreement is frustrated.
- A fixed term tenancy agreement due to expire during the emergency period will continue as a periodic agreement.
- A tenant may end a fixed term tenancy prior to its end date without incurring break lease fees, however tenants will still be liable for rent arrears and any damage to the residence.
The proposed legislation will apply to landlords and tenants in public and private housing and park homes, as well as boarders and lodgers.
The information published in this paper is of a general nature and should not be construed as legal advice. Whilst we aim to provide timely, relevant and accurate information, the law may change and circumstances may differ. You should not therefore act in reliance on it without first obtaining specific legal advice.
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