The ACT Government has announced an extension to its eviction moratorium for renters to 31 January 2021.

The six-month moratorium was expected to expire on 22 October 2020, but affected tenants in the ACT now have a further three months to pay their rental arrears.

This period will allow them time to recover financially and enter into a payment plan with their landlords.

Five organisations including Better Renting, ACT Council of Social Service, ACT Shelter, Canberra Community Law, and the Tenants’ Union ACT wrote to Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay last week, calling for the extension.

The request came off the back of Better Renting’s new report, which rated the government’s performance in supporting renters during the pandemic.

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How will the ACT extension work?

This extension will only apply if ACT tenants who have been impacted by COVID-19 pay their rent after 23 October 2020, as and when it falls due.

From 23 October, if a tenant is unable to pay rent as it falls due, the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal will be required to consider ordering a payment plan, rather than an eviction.

What else has changed for ACT tenants?

Additionally, from 13 September 2020, all ACT tenants on fixed-term and periodic tenancies will be able to pay just two weeks’ rent in advance to help manage their cost-of-living pressures.

The ACT Government has also extended a range of existing measures, including:

  • Penalty-free termination of a fixed-term agreement with three weeks’ notice;
  • Agents will be barred from listing personal information about a tenant who hasn’t paid rent during the moratorium period; and
  • Landlords who cut their tenant’s rent by 25% can still benefit from the land tax rebate.

Better Renting’s report found that the ACT Government was wanting on support for tenants during the crisis, compared to the actions of other governments.

“In coming months, more needs to be done so that renters don’t end up bearing the burden of this crisis,” Better Renting executive director Joel Digmam said.

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