rental moving boxes
Image: Ketut Subiyanto, Pexels
  • REIA President argues that with some states already lifting evictions and unemployment at 6.6%, the mortarium should be removed
  • National Cabinet moratorium was established in late March 2020; only intended for 6 months.
  • Only Queensland and Northern Territory have lifted the moratorium so far
  • Next National Cabinet meeting set for Friday 6th February

Adrian Kelly, the President of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) has called for National Cabinet to end the rental eviction mortarium citing the national 6.6% unemployment rate and some jurisdictions already lifting the mortarium as several reasons why Cabinet should reconsider the decision.

The mortarium was agreed by the National Cabinet in late March 2020 in light of the economic burden coronavirus was expected to cause. Initially, the mortarium was designed to last for six months for both commercial and residential tenancies under financial stress.

While Mr Kelly acknowledges the decision was right at the time, most tenants ability to pay at present isn’t as impacted as expected early last year due to the better-than-forecasted economic growth seen in recent times.

“Despite this, almost all jurisdictions except for Queensland and the Northern Territory continue to extend the moratorium period far beyond 6 months with most extending until the end of March” says Mr Kelly.

He argues that 5 per cent or less of tenants in major cities – along with one per cent in regional Australia – would be impacted by the change.

“Queensland felt minimal impact when their eviction moratorium was removed and with economies now opening up, it is now time for all the states to do the same,” said Mr Kelly.

“Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales have had tenant support extended until the end of March while the ACT has the eviction moratoriums in place until the end of April,”

“This has the potential to cause hardship on many landlords who may already be struggling.”

However. he insists there should still be support in place for tenants and landlords.

“Funding of sorts remains available in most jurisdictions for both tenants and property owners who remain impacted and we call on all State Governments to provide that targeted support to landlords and spend these funds,” he said.

Additionally, Mr Kelly also suggested that with paused mortgages to be restarted, landlords will become more reliant upon payments returning to the levels since prior to the pandemic, therefore making sense for moratoriums to be re-examined.

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