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REIWA calls for safeguards in wake of coronavirus

REIWA is urging the state government to consider additional rent assistance for residential tenants who lose their jobs and safeguards for landlords if the tenant can no longer afford to pay rent as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes as welfare and arts bodies call for a ban on housing evictions over the next few months to support people who have lost their income because of the public health crisis.

REIWA President Damian Collins said the whole industry needs to come together in order for there to be a reasonable solution for both tenants and landlords.

“The coronavirus outbreak is a tough time for everyone, and we strongly encourage landlords to be understanding with rental payments during this time of uncertainty,” Mr Collins said.

“It is possible that people may start to fear eviction or even homelessness, but we want to stress that there is already legislation in place to stop landlords from evicting tenants during time of hardship.”

The Federal Government last week announced assistance packages of up to $25,000 for small and medium businesses to allow them to keep paying employees.

Mr Collins said this, along with the Western Australian Government economic stimulus package, is a big step in the right direction.

“While these stimulus packages will help keep people in jobs, we urge the state government to consider introducing rental assistance in their next stimulus for those who find themselves out of work,” he said.

“What we need is for the government to provide emergency rent assistance to those affected and the banks and landlord insurers to commit to working with landlords affected by the Coronavirus outbreak to ensure both the tenants and landlord feels safe and secure during these stressful times.

“At the end of the day, if the owner cannot afford their mortgage, the tenant will end up homeless regardless, so all participants need to be considered in any package or changes.”

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