Rental moratorium expiration is a ticking time bomb

1 March 2021

The St Vincent de Paul Society NSW is deeply concerned that the expiration of the rental moratorium at the end of March will push thousands of vulnerable people into debt and poverty.

“The rental moratorium is a ticking time bomb; when it goes off in a few weeks the fallout will have a lasting impact,” said Jack de Groot, St Vincent de Paul NSW CEO.

“We are extremely concerned that months of back-dated rent will condemn people into debt that will follow them for years to come.

“This past year has highlighted the importance of everyone having a safe and secure place to live. If the moratorium is lifted without a transition plan in place to support people, over time there will be an increase in evictions and homelessness throughout the state.

“We ask that the NSW Government extend the rental moratorium for a further 12 months and implement a transition plan to support tenants who experience hardship. Vulnerable people cannot be left behind – the state has a responsibility to its citizens.”

Data collected internally by the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW in the last six months of 2020 highlights the precarious situation vulnerable people have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Across NSW, 50% of people seeking assistance were in housing stress – meaning 30% or more of their income was spent on housing – while 53% had a fortnightly income between $500-$1,000. Close to a third of people (32%) relied upon JobSeeker as their primary source of income.

“In many parts of the state there is a shortage of social and affordable housing, resulting in people living in unsafe and overcrowded properties,” said Brooke Simmons, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW Vice President – Social Justice.

“Households are having to spend so much on rent and being trapped in a position where they don’t have enough food as a result. Approximately half of the people who sought our assistance did so due to a lack of food.

“The Government has a moral responsibility to look after vulnerable people. The consequences of inaction will see people saddled with debt and facing homelessness.”

Media contact: Lachlan Jones  |  0417 446 430