NSW Fair Trading have released the details of their emergency accommodation package for residents evacuated from Mascot Tower and it includes a few interesting exclusions.
For instance, people staying with relatives or friends will get nothing – you have to have proper tax receipts showing you have paid for the emergency accommodation – and neither Airbnb hosts nor their guests who can’t access the properties will get any money back from the state government.
However, residents who get accommodations through short-term holiday letting agencies should be able to get compensation, up to specified limits, provided they have tax receipts.
The package is only for residents – renters and owners – who’ve had to find alternative accommodation. Landlords who are out of pocket because tenancies have been cancelled will have to pursue compensation through normal channels, which means making demands on the owners corporation, possibly through its insurance policies.
And all residents who receive the accommodation package will be expected to pay the money back if the block receives compensation through insurance or the proven liability of a third party.
Here are the highlights of the Fair Trading press release which can be read, in full, HERE.
What’s in the assistance package?
The NSW Government will help you pay for alternative accommodation costs for up to three months while your apartment is unsafe to occupy.
Depending on the size of the apartment you occupied, you can get assistance to cover your accommodation costs up to:
- $220 per night per each 1 bedroom apartment
- $300 per night per each 2 bedroom apartment
- $400 per night per each 3 bedroom apartment
- The assistance package is available to both tenants and owner occupiers who reside at Mascot Towers. You will need to show your apartment is the place you live.
- Assistance is only available for the period your unit is unsafe for occupation.
- For owner occupiers, you can obtain upfront assistance on the basis this would be repaid if you later receive compensation from insurance or some other means.
- For tenants, you can obtain assistance for the cost of alternative accommodation if you continue to pay your normal rent. If you have received rent relief from the landlord, that rent relief will be deducted from the nightly package.
How to apply
First you need to register online. Once you have registered, [Fair Trading] will send you a claim form.
You will need to have incurred your accommodation costs first and be able to provide proof of that.
Fair Trading will consider and approve claims as quickly as possible. You can help speed up the process by making sure you provide relevant proof of occupancy and accommodation costs.
The Fair Trading fact sheet also contains a fascinating FAQ about who is and isn’t entitled to financial help.
What if my accommodation costs exceed this amount?
This package has been introduced to help tenants and owner occupiers meet only emergency accommodation costs they have incurred. You may only make a claim for actual alternative accommodation (rent and room bookings).
What if I am an owner who rents my unit?
This assistance package is being made available to help people who have been required to relocate from Mascot Towers and find alternative accommodation.
I am renting but have now terminated my agreement, am I still eligible to apply?
Yes, if you paid rent and incurred costs for alternate accommodation, you can claim these costs up until the termination of your agreement took effect.
Can I receive assistance in advance?
No, you need to have incurred the cost in the first instance and be able to provide tax receipts. Fair Trading will consider and approve claims as quickly as possible.
You can help speed up the process by making sure you provide relevant proof of occupancy and accommodation cost
Can I claim for meals and other out of pocket expenses?
The assistance package provides financial support for alternate accommodation costs only. The avenues for compensation for other costs will depend on whether you are a tenant and any agreement between you and your landlord. For more information on your particular circumstances, please contact our hotline.
Are there any conditions?
You can only obtain assistance on the basis it would be repaid if you later receive compensation or payment for your accommodation costs under an insurance policy or some other means.
As a strata lot owner/occupier am I entitled to compensation for the period I have been unable to reside in my property?
Please contact the strata manager, for details of the strata scheme’s insurance arrangements. You should also check your home and contents insurance policy. The contact number for Mascot Towers is 0400 366 243.
In the interim, owner occupiers that have been required to relocate are eligible to apply for assistance.
Can my tenancy be terminated without penalty?
It depends. If a property is wholly or partly uninhabitable, the landlord or tenant can issue a termination notice in writing.
Once served, the notice can take effect immediately or can specify a later date. No rent is payable from the day the tenant moves out. Any rent already paid in advance must be fully refunded.
There is no penalty for breaking the lease.
But if the property is deemed safe, habitable and the tenant can move back into the property the agreement cannot be ended based on a frustrated agreement.
If you are unable to reach an agreement tenants or landlords/agents can use Fair Trading’s free tenancy complaint service. Fair Trading’s experienced staff will talk through the issues and contact the parties involved in an attempt to negotiate an agreement.
What can I do about my tenancy booked through Airbnb?
If you have booked your accommodation through Airbnb please refer to your contract for the terms and conditions. You may also wish to contact Airbnb.
If you are unsuccessful you may lodge a complaint with Fair Trading.
There is more information for people who need more help on the Fair Trading fact sheet.