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COVID-19 vs Rent Increases

Recently there was a lot of talk on a chat site discussing the fact that landlords were either taking advantage of COVID-19
or incorrectly increasing rents during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was pleasing to read that quite a few people were correcting those
who didn’t have their information quite right and also including links to the Consumer and Business Services (CBS) website.

Facts:
• COVID-19 Emergency Response Act (COVID-19 ERA) restricted any rent increases between 30.03.2020 to 8.10.2020.
-This didn’t mean that rent increases couldn’t be scheduled after 8.10.2020
• COVID-19 ERA continues to restrict rent increases up to 28th March 2021
-ONLY IF a tenant is experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
-THE ONUS is on the tenant to provide the proof of financial hardship because of COVID-19 pandemic

Currently there is a huge shortage of available rental properties for the number of people who require rental accommodation
in and around the Barossa Valley. Why? We have seen an incredible increase in enquiries for rentals as more people are
working from home; wanting a city to rural life change; expats returning home; or interstate people moving their families
to SA or back to SA.

Perhaps these lifestyle reassessments can be contributed to COVID-19 but the result is that sought-after areas may experience
a supply shortage of properties – whether it be rentals or sales – leading to price increases such as we have seen happen
in the Barossa. This is not driven by the landlord or owner; it is driven by demand.

We certainly have seen rental prices increase considerably in the Barossa Valley and surrounding areas.

A landlord has the right to increase the rent when the time comes to renew with an existing tenant especially given the current
market (subject to COVID-19 ERA). The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) also provides for this. It doesn’t limit the amount the rent can increase by unless it is specifically limited by the terms of the residential tenancy agreement. Generally, a rent increase can take place given the general level of rents for comparable premises in the same or similar localities.

The SA Government opened a second round of rental grants of up to $1000 for landlords who reduce the rent of a tenant  experiencing rental hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants will close on 30.03.2021.

Call Lisa Akeroyd at Barossa Rental Specialists on 0414 335 660 – or drop into our prominent Tanunda office to discuss your rental strategy.

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