The purpose of this policy is to outline how Southern Cross Housing (SCH) will assist tenants who are experiencing financial hardship due to the global pandemic related to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Financial Hardship is defined as struggling to pay rent, debts and other living costs. This may be for a shorter or longer period and could be caused by unemployment, health issues or other factors likely to impact on their income or ability to pay rent, etc.
This policy applies to all residential tenancies where an individual tenant and their household are party to a Residential Tenancy Agreement with Southern Cross Housing. This policy applies to all Southern Cross Housing tenancies owned or managed by Southern Cross Housing.
This policy will be applicable for a temporary duration, until rescinded by the Chief Executive Officer.
Southern Cross Housing understands the issues created by the global health pandemic of COVID-19 and the widespread impacts. Sustaining a tenancy during this time is particularly important and all tenants are encouraged to discuss any difficulties they may be experiencing in paying their rent and/or non-rent charges with their Housing Officer. Additional consideration will be given to tenants during this time, such as reduced repayment amounts or longer period to pay any outstanding arrears or debts.
For tenant that refuse to engage with Southern Cross Housing who have rent and/or non-rent arrears without any repayment arrangements in place, SCH may be forced to seek repayments (payment plans) via NCAT through Specific Performance Orders (SPOs).
Households that are experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19 may also find that they are eligible to access additional financial assistance from the Australian government. Tenants and household members can find out more by contacting Centrelink on 132 850.
Housing Officers are responsible for recognising when their tenants are experiencing financial hardship, and will assist them to sustain their tenancy. Senior Housing Officers are responsible for approving a financial hardship (policy) status.