• Navigating through rental tenancies during coronavirus


    Navigating Through Rental Tenancies During Coronavirus | REIWA

    The rental journey can be a daunting process and with the Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s recent announcement on a six-month moratorium on evictions, things will temporarily change for those who are financially struggling due to coronavirus (COVID-19). 

    The Western Australian Government has recently introduced the Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 which will be implemented from 30 March until 30 September 2020 – however may be extended or reduced at any time.

    Here are some tips for tenants that are wanting to break it down further: 

    What does the moratorium mean? 

    A key part of this Act means a six-month moratorium on residential evictions is now law and those who are experiencing financial distress due to the impacts of the COVID-19 cannot be evicted.

    A moratorium on evictions means that for a six-month period, landlords will not be allowed to evict tenants in cases of serve financial hardship related to coronavirus.  

    It is extremely important to note that this is not a moratorium on paying rent and tenants should continue to pay their rent if they can afford to and avoid building up a debt.  

    What should I do if I can’t pay rent? 

    If you are having trouble meeting your rent obligations due to the impact of coronavirus, you should inform your property manager or landlord as soon as possible to discuss potential options.  

    It is important to be transparent and honest during this time, as many landlords are open to helping and talking through various potential options.  

    Why should I pay rent if I can? 

    When implemented, the ban on evictions will only apply to those significantly impacted by coronavirus. If your employment status or income has not changed, and you simply chose not to pay rent, the landlord can still apply to terminate the tenancy.  

    Did you know that most rental property owners are mum and dad investors? If you don’t pay your rent, they may then be unable to pay their mortgage.  

    Over time if they are unable to pay their mortgage, they could lose the property and this may affect your tenancy,  

    Most property owners are already willing to help tenants who find themselves in financial stress because of coronavirus, but the burden should not fall back entirely on them if you are able to pay your rent, but you choose not to. 

    What are my options? 

    The WA Government suggests that tenants and landlords come to an agreement about how to manage this difficult situation. 

    Once an agreement has been reached, it should be formalised in writing and signed by all parties.  

    More information 

    The information in this article was provided by the Consumer Protection website. To read the full list of tenancy issues in Western Australia relating to coronavirus, visit their website.  

    Keep up to date with the latest real estate coronavirus news by visiting our advocacy page.