HOUSING

RENT

What’s changed?

On 29 March 2020, the National Cabinet (Commonwealth Government, State and Territory Governments) announced a set of principles for tenancies which included: 

 

Page last updated on 01/06/2020

  • A moratorium on evictions for six months for residential tenants in financial distress who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of coronavirus

  • Tenants and landlords are encouraged to agree on rent relief or temporary amendments to the lease

  • The reduction or waiver for a defined period for affected tenants

  • The ability of tenants to terminate leases and/or seek mediation or conciliation on the grounds of financial distress

  • Landlords and tenants not significantly affected by coronavirus are expected to honour their lease

  • Cost-sharing or deferral of losses between landlords and tenants, with Commonwealth, State or Territory governments, local government and financial institutions to consider mechanisms to provide assistance

  • The National Cabinet principles have not translated to uniform approaches across Australia. Some States and Territories are yet to enact legislation. A summary of the changes appears below.

  • Tenants should be encouraged to seek advice from their local tenancy service.

 
 

HOME LOANS

What’s changed?

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has announced the assistance its member banks are providing for people with home loans. There have been two phases of assistance.  The first-round, announced March 2020, allowed customers to defer repayments for up to six months.  The second round, announced July 2020, encourages people to return to normal payments if possible, but provides for a further four months deferral on a case by case basis.

The Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) has a list of assistance measures that all its member mutual banks are providing.

CBA has put together a guide for financial counsellors explaining support for customers affected by COVID-19. It includes their approach to home loan deferrals, options around credit cards and personal loans and debt waivers. FCA Tookit - CBA guide

 

ANZ has released a "Statement of Intent" about their commitments to supporting their customer affected by COVID-19. FCA Toolkit - ANZ Statement

 

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority has a significant event hotline
Ph: 1800 337 444 for individuals financially affected by the
COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Page last updated on 11/09/2020

 

BODY CORPORATE

 

Page last updated on 01/06/2020

What’s changed?

There are no specific legislative changes in any State or Territory to protect unit/apartment owners who are having difficulty paying strata or body corporate fees as a result of COVID-19.

Unit owners will need to negotiate directly with the body corporate to make repayment arrangements.

The body corporate can meet virtually and make resolutions on budgets and levies/fees to assist owners in financial hardship. This could include deciding to reduce levies (if affordable) or being flexible in making repayment arrangements.

 

The bankruptcy threshold has now been raised to $20,000 for the next six months, which will provide some protection for owners from being forced into bankruptcy over unpaid strata/body corporate fees.

 

RATES

 

Page last updated on 01/06/2020

What’s changed?
The National Cabinet announced hardship provisions for rates on 9 April 2020. 

Expectations) include:

  • offering flexible payment options to all households in financial distress

  • Deferring debt recovery proceedings and credit default listings 

  • Waiving late fees and interest charges on debt​

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for financial counsellors only. It is general information only. Financial counsellors must still tailor advice to their client’s individual circumstances. 

Copyright © 2020 Financial Counselling Australia. All rights reserved.​

FCA sincerely thanks Kat Lane. Liz Minter and Melinda Rene for their outstanding work in putting this site together.