Canberra tenants who have fallen behind on their rent due to the pandemic will be provided additional leniency in catching up, as renters contend with worsening housing affordability.
Those who are in rent arrears were due to repay any outstanding debt before the end of this month. The deadline has now been extended until June 30.
Landlords will not have the power to evict pandemic-affected tenants due to outstanding debt during the extension.
However, renters will still be required to pay their rent during the two-month period.
Tenants in fixed-term leases will also be permitted to end their leases early and without penalty, provided they can demonstrate financial hardship caused by the pandemic.
The measures were introduced last year as part of the government's COVID-19 response.
"We want to ensure that those Canberrans who are now starting to find their feet after a difficult 2020 are not knocked back over by having to pay back their debt all at once," he said.
Mr Rattenbury said that at the end of the moratorium period tenants would still be required to pay debt back.
"But with JobSeeker payments ending, these two extra months to settle their debts can make a world of difference for vulnerable Canberrans," he said.
Better Renting executive director Joel Dignam said the extension would help thousands of Canberra renters.
"Canberra's rental market is incredibly tough, with a lot of competition for a small number of vacant properties," he said.
"These support measures will help those tenants still recovering from COVID-19."
The extension comes after research from Anglicare revealed there were no affordable rentals in Canberra for people on government welfare payments for the fifth year in a row.
There was also a shockingly low number of properties available for low-income earners, with only 1 per cent of properties deemed affordable for minimum wage families and single parents.
It also emerged that Canberra's median house price has surpassed $900,000 and could be on track to reach $1 million if current trends continue, according to Domain.
ACT Opposition housing spokesman Mark Parton said he was dismayed at the findings, which showed again that Canberra had very few affordable rentals for low-income earners.
Mr Parton again urged the government to consider shared-ownerships of properties with community housing providers.
He expressed his disappointment at the fact the government had turned down this proposal when he presented the motion to the assembly earlier this year.
Mr Parton also argued that most of the pressure on Canberra's worsening housing affordability was due to the government's high rates and land taxes.
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