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How are renter-landlord relations faring in the pandemic?

Researchers from RMIT University and the University of Adelaide have teamed up for a study that reveals the pandemic has created significant tension in the landlord-tenant relationship.

The research, ‘Post pandemic landlord-renter relationships in Australia’, undertaken for AHURI, showed that 60 per cent of tenants are experiencing immediate or are anticipating imminent issues with paying rent, with JobKeeper and JobSeeker considered “essential” in making ends meet.

A quarter of all tenants were “experiencing immediate problems meeting rent payments”, while 35 per cent are “concerned that they would not be able to pay full rent in the next few months”.

Half of all rent relief negotiations undertaken since the pandemic were not resolved to the satisfaction of the tenant.

Tenants also displayed apprehension about making such a request, “out of concern for future repercussions, such as poor references or property defects not being fixed”.

“The pandemic has amplified many weaknesses – such as affordability, rental security, overcrowding and homelessness – in the Australian housing system; and in particular, exacerbated many existing challenges in the rental sector,” lead report author, Dr David Oswald said.

“With moratoriums on evictions, rent increases and mortgage deferrals all coming to an end, the issues uncovered by this research risk rapidly worsening.

“It was clear from our findings that without government support, many tenants would be in a significantly worse position, including potentially homeless.

“Both landlords and tenants reported confusion, stress and uncertainty about what would happen when government financial support packages end.

“Overwhelmingly, landlords thought government action had not adequately considered them.

“Formally including mortgage relief strategies as part of the broader housing and wage relief assistance would provide a more holistic package of support.

“By focusing on improving the success of negotiations in the landlord-tenant relationship, both economic and mental wellbeing could be significantly improved.”

Download the report here.

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