28 April 2020: Latest news and next steps

  1. Changes to Group Gatherings.

  2. Premier Mark McGowan has announced some of Western Australia’s stage 3 restrictions will be relaxed effective Monday, 27 April 2020. Indoor and outdoor non work gatherings for up to 10 people will be allowed, including open house or display village inspections. The Premier said that Western Australians had done a great job and deserved the high value social impact that relaxing restrictions would have.

    “We had to apply some of the most rigorous and tough restrictions including shutting Western Australia off to the rest of the world to keep Western Australians safe. The results so far have been encouraging and has now allowed for us to make some adjustments”, he said.

    Next steps:

    • Home opens are back! Keep in mind that clients will have a range of responses to the lifting of restrictions – some will be cautiously optimistic, others may still be protecting vulnerable family members through more restrictive social distancing measures. Flexibility will ensure all roads to possible business remain open – and of course, keep up the hand hygiene in every interaction, to protect your team, your clients and yourself.
    • Face to face CPD gatherings are still out – DMIRS recently reiterated that both Mandatory and Elective CPD activities should continue to be completed, and you now have the option of completing these remotely.
      “Now is an excellent time to review your CPD status. If you have not met the 2019 requirements before year end you will need to ensure you meet the remainder of your 2019 CPD obligations and your full 2020 obligation to prevent future compliance action”, DMIRS advised.

      You can now complete your Mandatory CPD points online here and your Elective CPD points online here.

  3. Residential Rent Relief Grants.

  4. The McGowan Government has committed $30 million for grants of up to $2,000 for residential tenants who have lost their job and are facing financial hardship. This assistance will help to preserve tenancies by helping eligible tenants continue to pay rent, and will reduce the risk of exposing landlords to financial hardship in meeting their mortgage obligations.Treasurer Ben Wyatt said the emphasis of the WA relief packages was support to both tenants and landlords.

    “Grants will be available on a first come, first served basis to encourage landlords to negotiate early with tenants who are doing it tough as a result of COVID-19”, he said.

    Under the scheme, grants equivalent to four-weeks’ rent up to a maximum of $2,000 will be paid directly to the tenant’s landlord, to contribute to the tenant’s rental payments. The grants will be provided in addition to rental reductions negotiated between tenants and landlords.

    Next steps:
    Property managers who have been made aware a residential tenant experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 may find it useful to connect their tenants to the relief grants, as part of the negotiation and coordination work they are doing at this time. The residential rent relief grants will be administered through the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), with applications opening from May 1, 2020. The scheme will be available to tenants or sub-tenants who have lost their job, applied to Centrelink for income support, have less than $10,000 in savings, and are still paying at least 25 per cent of their income in rent. For more information on eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit http://www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/covidrenting. To qualify for the residential grants, landlords must agree not to seek to recover this rent relief from tenants at the end of the period.

  5. Commercial Tenancy Land Tax Relief.

  6. The McGowan Government has set aside $100 million for land tax relief grants to be paid to commercial landlords. To be eligible, commercial landlords must provide rent relief that equates to a minimum of three months’ rent and freeze outgoings to small businesses that have suffered at least a 30 per cent reduction in turnover due to COVID-19. If a tenant is eligible for and is granted this rent relief, grants equivalent to 25 per cent of the landlord’s land tax bill for 2019/20 period will be paid to landlords. Small Business Minister Paul Papalia said the initiative is targeted at encouraging landlords to negotiate reductions for small businesses that are doing it tough.

    “The initiative will provide a potential minimum three months’ rent relief and freeze outgoings at an exceptionally difficult time for thousands of small business owners around the State”, he said.

    Next steps:
    Property managers who have been made aware of a commercial tenant experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 may find it useful to connect their landlords to the relief grants, as part of the negotiation and coordination work they are doing at this time. The commercial rent relief grants will be administered through the Small Business Development Corporation, with applications opening May 1, 2020. For more information on eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit http://www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au. To qualify for the commercial grant, landlords must agree not to seek to recover this rent relief from tenants at the end of the period.

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