Relief for renters? New rescue package being discussed to ensure those hit by the coronavirus don’t lose their homes and businesses
- Prime Minister is discussing potential renter relief amid COVID-19 pandemic
- Western Australia and NSW worked on legislation to be discussed on Tuesday
- If passed, it will help renters in homes or officers over the next six months
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Laws to ensure home and office renters aren’t kicked out as the coronavirus hits the economy will be discussed at a leaders’ meeting.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will discuss the model rules with state and territory leaders as part of a national cabinet teleconference on Tuesday evening.
Western Australia and NSW have led the work on the legislation, which will ensure relief and protection is available to families and businesses who fall into hardship over the next six months.
Officials have examined what the trigger for relief might be and how in those circumstances tenants would be able to keep a roof over their heads.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said landlords needed to show some common sense during the pandemic.
‘They’re going to lose their tenants if they insist on people paying money that they simply don’t have,’ he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
‘And in the long run, a good tenant, whether it be business or in housing, can provide stability for the landlord as well.’
But he said more money was needed for shelters and services for people experiencing homelessness.
He said it would be impossible for people who are kicked out of their homes or sleeping rough to self-isolate.
Social Services Minsiter Anne Ruston said the government was working with the banking sector and landlords.
‘We’re going to get through this so much better if everybody is prepared to play ball on this,’ she told reporters in Canberra.
‘There’s not going to be an Australian that’s not going to be touched by this coronavirus.’
The Real Estate Institute of Queensland has estimated two million Australians may have to carry the burden of $9,516 each on average of unpaid rent over a six-month period.
With the average property investor earning less than $80,000 a year, this represents more than 30 per cent of their annual take-home pay over six months.
These investors may have no other option but to default on their loans.
Any relief in hardship conditions should also include protections for landlords, the institute says.
The Property Council said commercial property owners and managers were already in talks with affected tenants to help them continue through the crisis.
‘Australian governments collected $10.4 billion in land tax last year, the overwhelming majority of which is paid by commercial property owners,’ council chief Ken Morrison said.
‘State and territory governments should provide land tax relief – legislated so that it must be passed through to tenants – then that can help support struggling tenants.’