PERSONAL FINANCE: COVID-19 RENT RELIEF IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES

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COVID-19 has resulted in a slowdown of the economy in countries all over the world. It has impacted nearly every one of us whether it’s a job or business. Due to this, people are finding it difficult to pay their existing rent as they have no source of income and thus are getting trapped under more debt. 

This is also the time for everyone to keep their personal finance in check so that they can pay their rents, bills on time, and thus be less impacted due to the economic slowdown.

Governments across the world have announced special relief measures and stimulus packages for their citizens to help them come out of this crisis. 

Let’s have a look at the various packages announced by different countries around the world:

1) United States of America

The USA has been the worst COVID hit country all around the world with more than 6.5 million cases as of 14th September 2020. 

They declared a Public Health Emergency on 31st January 2020.

The government was quick to announce packages to minimize the impact. The tenants were provided with 120 days of the moratorium in federally-backed housing. 

IRS is issuing one-time stimulus checks for many individuals which are authorized under the CARES Act, which was signed on 27th March 2020. 

The income eligibility to receive the coronavirus stimulus includes:

  • Individuals who earn $75,000 or less will receive a payment of $1,200 (includes Social Security recipients).

 

  • Married couples who file joint returns and income of $150,000 or less are eligible to receive a payment of $2,400.

 

  • People who receive incomes higher than described above will receive partial payments according to their income and individuals earning more than $99,000 or couples earning more than $198,000 are not eligible to receive any payment unless they have any children.

 

  • In the above case, if they have children, they will receive a one-time payment of $500 per child.

2) United Kingdom

UK government has announced that no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home. 

Effective from 26th March 2020, the landlords are required to give the renters 3 months’ notice if they wish to seek possession. 

Tenants will still be liable to pay the rents but in case of serious financial hardships, government support is available.  

£500 million is already made available for households facing financial hardships.  The government will pay 80% of the workers’ wages (up to £2,500 per month), where workers are placed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

3) Canada

Canada has handled the COVID-19 situation very effectively. The government has implemented schemes so that the citizens are taken care of in this crisis. 

The Manitoba government took various measures. 

The rent increases were frozen temporarily from 1st April 2020 to 30th September 2020. No late fees should be charged for failure to pay rent on time. 

Toronto Rent Bank provides interest-free loans for low-income households for rental arrears or rental deposits.

It is helpful for people who are behind in their rent or want to move to more suitable and affordable housing. 

The Canadian government also reduced rent up to 75% for small businesses under Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA).

4) India

Delhi Chief Minister appealed to the landlords to not force the tenants to pay rents and a moratorium period was introduced and stated that his government would pay rent for those tenants who fail to do so. 

As such, no specific action is introduced to look after the struggling tenants but individual state governments are working hard and implementing some rules and regulations so that both the tenants and landlords don’t face any hardships.

 

A good way to come out of these hard times is that both the tenants and their landlords should sit together and discuss how to go about it. 

It’s better to understand each other’s situation and making a decision that will be a win-win for both parties instead of one party getting beaten down. 

One of the possible solutions may be an agreement to partially paying the rent depending upon the financial condition of the tenant. 

It all comes down to the relationship between the tenants and the landlords. 

In these times, we should look to understand each other and come out of this together instead of one party winning everything and the other party remains struggling. 

It’s preferable to try to resolve this matter amongst yourselves instead of approaching the court. 

As a tenant, make sure to organize your personal finances so that you are better prepared to tackle such situations in the future. 

Keep some portion as an emergency fund which is useful in times like these.

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