Vinnies NSW Welcomes Evictions Moratorium – With Some Reservations

Thursday 16 April 2020

Vinnies welcomes protections for NSW renters introduced this week by the State Government, but there is still work to be done to keep tenants safe and supported during coronavirus.

The NSW Government has announced a relief package to help people remain in their rental properties during this global health crisis.

It includes an interim 60-day stop on evictions for tenants who have gone into rental arrears due to COVID-19, effective immediately.

The Government has also introduced a six-month moratorium on evictions for tenants who have lost at least 25 per cent of their weekly household income and who negotiate in good faith with their landlord over future rental repayments.

Landlords will be required to negotiate with their tenants and will be eligible for a 25 per cent rebate or waiver on land tax if they pass on an equivalent amount of rental relief.

Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Our view on these changes

At Vinnies, we welcome these protections for renters who are struggling to stay afloat financially.

We strongly believe that everyone should have a safe place to call home at all times. And especially in the midst of a health crisis, secure homes are essential to keep people protected and prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.

The rate of new COVID-19 cases may be decreasing, but as we head into the colder winter months it is imperative that we remain vigilant to ensure people are safe. Providing people with the security of being able to stay in their homes is essential in flattening the curve.

The advent and spread of COVID-19 makes seeking new accommodation an additional risk to the health and safety of tenants. For those who are unable to find alternative accommodation, homelessness poses an even greater risk due to the inability to self-isolate so as to avoid exposure to or recover from COVID-19.

While we welcome the government’s announcement, we are concerned that the moratorium measures may not provide sufficient protections for tenants who may be at risk of accruing an unsustainable debt in back-dated rent.

Tenants also need to be protected from eviction for reasons other than accruing rental arrears.

The moratorium on evictions and requirement for tenants and landlords to negotiate are significant steps in the right direction. But further work is required to ensure that all households receive the support necessary to maintain a safe, affordable and secure place to call home during the COVID-19 crisis – and be protected from falling into a new crisis of poverty and debt once the pandemic has passed.

 

Find out more

We have been working closely with the Tenants’ Union NSW to advocate for these protections for renters. The Tenants’ Union have put together a handy explainer on the new evictions moratorium – if you are likely to be affected by these changes, we recommend you check out the guide on their website.

 

Get support

If you are experiencing financial difficulty or at risk of homelessness, Vinnies can help. Call us on 13 18 12.