WA Rent Relief Program pays out $1 million in three months

Struggling WA renters have received more than $1 million as part of the State Government’s Rent Relief Program.

According to The West Australian, the program has so far helped 255 households, with renters able to request up to three months of future rent costs or rental arrears of up to $5000.

Rolled out in partnership with Anglicare and Vinnies WA, the program paid out just over $50,000 to 13 households in its first month, before seeing that number accelerate to $1.04 million after three months.

The program has a budget of $24.4 million, which is expected to help nearly 4500 families.

Commerce Minister Sue Ellery said the government had established the scheme with an increasing number of renters struggling to keep up.

“I’d like to thank the community service organisations involved in administering these payments, for recruiting qualified staff over the Christmas period, and working with us to get critical support to WA households quickly,” Ms Ellery told The West Australian.

“It’s great to see these payments flowing to households across WA who we know have been doing it tough.”

Ms Ellery said easing cost-of-living pressures was the highest priority for the State Government and the program also connected tenants who were struggling to keep up with rent to community services, if required.

The milestone comes as the government’s Rental Tenancies Amendment Bill has passed the lower house and is set to pass the Legislative Council this week.

The changes will mean that landlords will be limited to one rent increase per year along with a ban on rent bidding.

However, the bill won’t end no-grounds evictions.

Housing Minister John Carey said banning no-grounds evictions would cause landlords to withdraw rental properties from the market.

WA is the only state that has not banned no-grounds evictions or has legislation moving through parliament to do so.

“Landlords is not a dirty word,” Mr Carey said.

“We need them to be continuing to invest in high density, buying off-the-plan to provide that rental stock and to invest in new developments.”

Show More

Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.