Capes tenants and landlords impacted by the coronavirus crisis will be supported by new legislation introduced by the State Government this week.
The new laws implement a six-month moratorium on evictions for residential tenancies and provide urgent support measures for tenants and landlords.
The Commercial Tenancies Bill will enable a tenant to end a fixed-term tenancy before its end date without incurring break lease fees and introduce a code of conduct for landlords and tenants.
Rent increases will be prohibited and any fixed-term tenancy agreement due to expire during the emergency period will continue as a periodic agreement.
The laws will apply equally to tenants in public and private housing, park homes as well as boarders and lodgers.
Professionals Busselton principal Brad Fraser welcomed the measures and said his rental team had seen many applications for residential rent decreases and had dealt with them quickly.
“It’s really important that tenants are looked after if they are out of work due to the pandemic and I think the courts will be sym-pathetic if a landlord tries to evict a tenant,” he said.
“We’re not seeing any landlords trying to evict tenants; most are working with tenants on rent abatements or rent deferrals.
“Most landlords are approaching their banks to put a pause on their lending, so they shouldn’t be too much out of pocket.”
Premier Mark McGowan said the six-month moratorium was on eviction, not on rent.
“Under the proposed reforms, tenants must continue to pay rent. If a tenant can’t pay their rent, they will still have to pay it later, so continuing to pay rent will increase your chances of keeping debt to a manageable level,” he said. “Tenants in financial distress due to COVID-19 should contact their landlord or property manager to try and make an arrangement.
“This could include a reduction to the amount paid for a period of time, for example.
Dunsborough tenant Alessandro De Giorgio said he had lost work due to the pandemic and hence asked for a rent reduction.
“It is the first time since I was 14 that I haven’t had a job. I have paid as much rent as I can but I need help,” he said.
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