Covid-19 rent relief applications open

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Consumer Protection can help renters negotiate an arrangement with their landlord and advise them on their eligibility for the grant. File pic

RENTERS who are out of work and struggling to pay their rent after losing their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic can seek help from the residential rent relief grant scheme, according to Consumer Protection.

To date more than 18,000 people have wanted to know how the McGowan Government’s new rent relief scheme works, with hundreds having started their application, hoping for a grant covering four weeks’ rent up to $2000.

One of the conditions to qualify for the grant is that applicants must have an agreement in writing to pay a reduced rent to the landlord, or have engaged in Consumer Protection’s conciliation service in order to reach an agreement.

Grants equivalent to four weeks rent to a maximum of $2000 will be paid directly to landlords, even though renters submit the application.

But the renter must receive the benefit of the grant through paying a reduced rent.

The scheme complements the introduction of new Covid-19 emergency tenancy laws which placed a six-month moratorium on evictions and rent increases.

Consumer Protection commissioner Lanie Chopping said renters wanting to apply who do not have a revised rent agreement in place can reach out for assistance.

“Don’t feel pressured to sign paperwork provided by your landlord if you are not comfortable,’’ she said.

“Consumer Protection is here to help and we can assist to negotiate an arrangement that both you and your landlord are happy with and advise you on eligibility for the grant.

Ms Chopping said the online application form was open until September 29 but the total grant funding of $30 million, depending on demand, could be claimed prior to that date.”

Renters can get further details and apply for the grant online at www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/covidrentgrant