More information needed for tenants and landlords

The residential property industry calls for more information for tenants and landlords impacted by COVID-19 to allay growing concerns: Rental Management Australia

The call comes following Western Australia Premier McGowan’s announcement of a raft of new measures to enable those impacted by the virus to access further support such as the Energy Assistance Payment to help households meet their ongoing financial commitments. 

While the Federal Government announced a moratorium on evictions and acknowleded the complex issue for tenancies impacted by the virus, the detail of this still remains unclear.

Issues included in the complexity are:

  • the ability to make mortgage payments, maintenance and statutory payments,
  • the ability to access landlord protection insurance,
  • black listing of tenants in the future,
  • credit checks in the future on both landlords and tenants for non payment of bills, all of which remain unknown. 

While the government has urged tenants, landlord, banks and financial institutions to work together to ensure businesses are able to weather this event and share the impact, the recent Job Keeper announcement raises further questions for renters and landlords across Australia who are currently navigating what support is available for them and what this means to the respective parties.

If individuals are receiving significant subsidies from the government, the understanding is that this should be used to support the fundamentals of sustaining life, food and shelter. 

Rental Management Australia manages nearly 3,500 and properties across Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria.

CEO Andrew Graham said relief was desperately needed not only by renters, but also by landlords who are wanting to support their tenants and who are often forgotten when the leasing market is hit. 

“The impact of this pandemic will be felt by many, if not most people, and that includes tenants and the hundreds of thousands of hardworking Australians who own investment properties,” said Mr Graham. 

“We haven’t heard any further detail from the State or Federal Government as yet on residential tenancies and from our perspective, this announcement has raised more questions than answers.  

“While we firmly support keeping as many Australians in jobs as possible via whatever support is available, our landlords and tenants remain in the dark as to what this means for them.  

“It’s been really heartening to hear so many landlords wanting to support their tenants through these tough times.

"In most cases, these landlords are regular mum and dad investors who themselves could experience hardship and job losses if they haven’t already in the coming days, weeks and months." 

Mr Graham said a number of his landlords were retirees who relied on their rental income to live their day to day lives. 

“What some might forget is that while impacted tenants may be given a temporary reprieve, landlords with mortgages will still have to pay, if not now, then at some point in the future, and the impact of the compounded interest could add 10’s of thousands of dollars onto their loan.” said Mr Graham. 

Mr Graham said rents would likely stagnate nationally in 2020, but markets would recover.

Source: www.therealestateconversation.com.au