Commercial and residential landlords in Canberra who offer tenants rental reductions will be able to get rebates on their tax bills.
The ACT government unveiled its full support package for tenants who have been financially hit by Canberra's lockdown, after promising such measures following Canberra's lockdown extension.
Residential landlords who offer tenants a rent reduction will be able to receive $100 a week off their land tax bills. There will also be a three-month eviction moratorium for tenants who have been affected by the lockdown.
Commercial landlords who offer reductions will be able to get up to $5000 off their rates bills. Rebates will be credited onto the tax bills.
The government has set aside $5.25 million for the programs.
Negotiations between commercial landlords and tenants are guided by a code of conduct. Under the code, commercial landlords cannot evict tenants without first discussing lease arrangements.
The ACT government will also fund a mediation service to assist negotiations between landlords and tenants.
The eviction moratorium applies to households where the gross weekly income has declined by more than 20 per cent. Tenants who contract COVID-19 or care for someone with the virus are also eligible, if they are forced to stop work due to the infection.
Under the moratorium, tenants cannot be evicted if they don't pay rent. But tenants can still be kicked out for other reasons.
Better Renting executive director Joel Dignam said he was disappointed by the moratorium, arguing that all tenants should be protected from all evictions.
"Instead of offering protection to all renters against all evictions, it defines a narrow group of renters and protects them against only a narrow range of potential evictions," he said.
"There are renting families out there in lockdown, dealing with the challenges of learning from home and the stress of the gamechanging Delta variant.
"Now they've got to live with the added worry that they could get a notice to vacate and be forced to leave their home in a matter of weeks."
The programs are similar to those that were implemented during last year's lockdown.
But the Real Estate Institute of the ACT questioned the ability of landlords to offer the same concessions as last year.
"Many landlords, both commercial and residential, are simply not in a position to extend the generous reductions and deferrals that had been forthcoming last year," REIACT chief executive Michelle Tynan said.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr had foreshadowed the package over the past week, he encouraged tenants and landlords to work together.
"It is important for government, landlords and tenants to work together again to respond to the impacts of the current lockdown," he said.
"Once again, access to free mediation will be available to help commercial landlords and tenants negotiate changes to rental agreements."
Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said tenants who were still able to pay their rent were required to do so.
"Renters should continue to meet their rent obligations if they are able to do so," he said.
"The 12 week moratorium on evictions for COVID-19 impacted tenants is not a rent holiday."
Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in the ACT and the lockdown is free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our newsletters for regular updates.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: