THE McGowan government has extended a moratorium on rent increases and evictions.
Introduced in April this year in response to fears about job losses and uncharitable landlords, the moratorium will now expire in March 2021, with commerce minister John Quigley saying he wanted to preserve stability and certainty in the rental market.
The emergency residential tenancy laws are helping those in private and public housing, residential long-stay parks, as well as boarders and lodgers, stay in their rental homes.
A rent relief scheme offering up to four weeks’ rent will continue.
The McGowan government’s decision follow’s the Herald’s story last week on fears from tenancy and homelessness advocates that lifting the moratorium would cause a flood of evictions and leave them overwhelmed (“Call to extend eviction freeze,” Herald, September 5, 2020).
But local real estate agent Hayden Groves, vice president of the Real Estate Institute of WA, described the decision as “lazy and ill-conceived”.
“I think it takes into no consideration tenants or landlords because less than 2 per cent of residential tenants in WA are impacted by Covid-19; to apply it across the whole market is just stupid.”
Mr Groves said the government was being populist.
“You’ve got this high demand pressure coming from everywhere … you’ve had no meaningful investment in WA from the private sector for some years because of a depressed market, and so just when we really needed more private investment to provide the housing we need for tenants which keeps a reasonable lid on rents, all they’ve done is kick the can down the road for another six months.”
by AMELIA CHANNER-HOLMES