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REIWA welcomes the announcement by Premier
Mark McGowan concerning proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act
(RTA), which will provide much-needed clarity to the industry during the
coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
REIWA President Damian Collins said while the
Institute and its members have been supportive of helping those who are
struggling due to the impacts of COVID-19, it’s important that clear guidelines
are put in place to stop the pandemic encouraging people to take advantage of
“We are pleased the WA Government has provided
guidelines because the industry has been in a state of uncertainty since this
was first announced,” Mr Collins said.
“Some elements of the announcement we strongly
support. Importantly the announcement makes it clear that rent is still payable
by all tenants and the tenants will have to pay back their rent once they are
financially stable again.
It is pleasing to see a free fast-tracked
dispute resolution system will be provided by Consumer Protection, which will
help both owners and tenants who are suffering financial hardship sort out any
issues without the costly and lengthy court process.
“The industry understands that we must come
together during this time and while we support a prohibition on the eviction of
tenants affected by COVID-19, a blanket ban on all evictions except in very limited
circumstances is a step too far,” Mr Collins said.
“The decision to allow all leases to be broken,
regardless of whether or not the tenant has been impacted by COVID-19 is also
an unnecessary addition.”
Despite many initiatives currently before
government, it’s disappointing that the Premier did not announce any form of
rental assistance payment to help property owners that are struggling
financially due to tenants being unable to pay their rent.
“The government is expecting property owners to
carry the burden and while the debt is still payable by the tenant, in some
cases the property owner will never be able to recover the debt,” Mr Collins
“Most other states have a rent assistance
package in place and just yesterday New South Wales announced a $440 million
package for residential and commercial tenants and owners. Western Australian
tenants and property owners deserve a helping hand from the State Government during
this difficult time."
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