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Cancelling rental debt would be ill-informed and cause mayhem: REIV

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria has hit out against calls by tenancy advocate groups to cancel all rental debt, believing it “sends the wrong message and could encourage tenants to stop paying their contracted rent in the expectation that the taxpayer will pick up the tab”.

The REIV points out that, during the pandemic, the majority of landlords and tenants have worked together to alleviate any hardship, and claims landlords will simply boot tenants with COVID-related rental debt is “both incorrect and inflammatory”.

The REIV notes 57,000 rent reduction agreements were registered with Consumer Affairs Victoria by the start of the month.

“The pandemic hasn’t been selective, it has hit everyone; tenants, landlords and property managers,” REIV President, Leah Calnan explained.

“It is irresponsible to suggest that all rental debt should be wiped as it may be another person’s only source of income.”

The REIV is concerned that “the road map out of the rental moratorium remains unclear” and that a clear plan from government needs to be announced “well ahead” of the end of the moratorium.

“It is vitally important that property managers and landlords are given sufficient advance notice of the detail behind the changes to the Residential Tenancies Act,” Ms Calnan continued.

“The landlord investors are critical to keeping the Victorian property market stable.”

REIV CEO, Gil King expressed concern that the government was “taking a one-dimensional view and may simply wipe the slate clean on debts and rental disputes come the end of the moratorium.

“This would simply force many mum and dad investors from the market and cause mayhem at a time we should be working towards an economic recovery.”

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