Housing support and advice
A new COVID-19 Relief Call Centre has been established to help people affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency.
The Relief Call Centre can provide information and assistance with such things personal hardship support, accommodation support for people unable to achieve self-quarantining and accommodation for emergency services personnel that are required to quarantine but unable to do so at home. Services are available to all members of the South Australian community.
People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness may be able to access emergency accommodation.
Phone the 24-hour Homelessness Gateway for more information on 1800 003 308.
State Parliament has endorsed a number of initiatives aimed at helping landlords and tenants whose incomes have been affected by COVID-19.
The emergency measures acknowledge the inability for tenants to be able to fulfil their financial responsibilities to landlords as a result of circumstances beyond their control.
Measures to protect tenants include:
- Ensuring tenants cannot be evicted by landlords due to an inability to paid rent because of COVID-19 employment loss
- Preventing landlords from increasing rent during the COVID-19 period
- Allowing routine inspections by landlords and property managers to be conducted using technology to avoid the spread of COVID-19
- Ensuring that COVID-19 is a designated form of undue hardship for matters being heard by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) where disputes arise.
Importantly, the legislation does not specify what, if any, rent reduction should occur. The government encourages tenants to carefully consider their need to use the above measures. If a tenant has been affected by COVID-19 but can still pay their rent, they are encouraged to continue doing so.
The government appreciates that many people use rental properties as a source of income. As such, any change in rental earnings affects their financial wellbeing.
The measures outlined above still ensure that landlords can take action where tenants are opportunistically using COVID-19 to avoid recourse and especially ensures that tenants damaging property can be held to account through SACAT.
Landlords who provide tenants impacted by COVID-19 with rent relief may be eligible for a 25% reduction on the land tax payable on a parcel of land in the 2019-20 land tax year.
Relief is also available to residential and non-residential land owners who are unable to secure a tenant because of COVID-19. To be eligible for land tax relief, eligible landlords will need to demonstrate that the land was leased to 30 March 2020, but has since been vacant due to the impact of COVID-19.
See Revenue SA for information on Land tax relief.
Residential rental grant scheme
A once-off rental grant of up to $1,000 is available for residential landlords who reduce the rent of a tenant experiencing rental hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To be considered as being in rental hardship, a residential tenant must be receiving either the JobKeeper or JobSeeker payment as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions, have less than $5,000 in savings and pay more than 30% of their current income in rent.
Register at the Department of Treasury and Finance website.
Consumer and Business Services has rental advice due to COVID-19, containing information on tenant and landlord rights and obligations
Some banks are allowing landlords and homeowners to defer or reduce their mortgage repayments, assisting any financial burden during COVID-19. Contact your bank directly for more information on this measure.
Domestic, family and sexual violence services
Emergency relief services are delivered by community organisations and help people address immediate basic needs, including food relief, in times of crisis. Locate a food relief service near you.