INDUSTRY NEWSReal Estate NewsWA Real Estate News

REIWA welcomes end of moratorium on evictions and rental price increases

The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia has welcomed the looming end of the WA Government’s moratorium on evictions and rent price increases, with the Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 due to expire on Sunday.

According to REIWA, ending the temporary measures will be a necessary step in addressing Western Australia’s rental shortage.

REIWA President Damian Collins said the decision by the WA Government to extend the moratorium on evictions and rent price increases in September last year had a debilitating effect on the state’s rental market.

“Since the announcement in September, the Perth vacancy rate has dropped below one per cent – the lowest level we’ve seen in 40 years,” Mr Collins said.  

“There is very little available rental stock on the market and those people who are actively looking for somewhere to rent are finding it very difficult to secure a place to live.”

Mr Collins said after the moratorium ends on Sunday, investors would have more incentive to buy property in the state. 

“This should increase the number of properties available to rent and help create a more balanced market,” he said.

Data from reiwa.com shows the Perth median weekly rent price has increased from $360 in February 2020 to $400 in February 2021.

“From Sunday, property investors will be able to increase rent prices for the first time in 12 months to reflect the changes that have occurred in the market over the last year,” Mr Collins said. 

“We encourage owners and tenants to be reasonable in rent negotiations and to speak with your property managers about what is a fair outcome for both parties,” Mr Collins said.

Meanwhile, the Director of Raine & Horne Rockingham, southwest of Perth, has issued a warning to landlords, advising them to ensure they engage the services of an experienced property manager after the moratorium comes to an end.

“While this record tenant demand may seem to make the need for a property manager unnecessary, it is quite the opposite,” licensee and director Paul Curran said. 

“The end of the extended COVID-19 emergency period means that all the existing laws will go, and the ordinary tenancy laws in WA will apply again.”

He said under privacy laws, property managers were authorised to make direct contact with a previous property manager to obtain references and find out about a tenant’s record on damages and arrears – something a landlord is not legally allowed to do.

Mr Collins said although price rises would be inevitable, WA tenants were still paying substantially less overall than renters elsewhere in the country. 

“In fact, earlier this month the Real Estate Institute of Australia released their December 2020 quarter Housing Affordability Report, which revealed WA remained the most affordable place to rent in the country, despite the state experiencing a rental shortage and record low vacancy rates.

“Moving forward, we need to encourage investor activity in WA. It is continuously overlooked how important property investors are to maintaining a healthy, affordable and balanced rental market.”

Show More

Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson was the news editor for Elite Agent. He worked with the company from February 2020 to June 2020. For current stories, news alerts or pitches, please email editor@eliteagent.com.au.