Calls to end emergency rental laws

The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia is calling on the state government to meet the original deadline for emergency rental legislation for residential and commercial properties.

Damian Collins, chairman of REIWA, said the state does not need to extend the legislation urgently, given that the state's real estate markets were starting to return to normal.

"Emergency legislation was introduced on the basis that WA's economy would face a much bigger shock than it actually did and well that we understand that the economy is certainly not as strong as it was before COVID, applying emergency legislation to all rental is not the appropriate response to those who might need help, "Collins said.

The state government passed the Residential Tenancies Act (COVID-19 Response) 2020 to help tenants who are in financial difficulty due to the outbreak. The legislation is in effect until September 30, but could be extended depending on current circumstances.

Recently, the Australian Capital Territory extended its own moratorium on evictions and other tenant protection measures amid the COVID-19 outbreak until October.

Collins said the extension of legislation in Western Australia would put landlords at a disadvantage as they might suffer more than tenants and are unable to exercise their normal rights under the lease.

Also, it will put their finances in jeopardy since they can no longer defer mortgage payments. Collins said some may be forced to sell, which would reduce rental stock.

"With a current vacancy rate of 2%, we cannot afford landlords to take their properties off the private rental market, as not only will this impact inventory levels, but it may also increase the median weekly rent, ”he says.

Business owners might face similar problems when legislation is extended.

Collins said it was fair that tenants should be held to their obligations when business conditions return to normal.

"Landlords generally want to keep tenants in most cases, and I'm sure most landlords will work with tenants who need help whether or not they have legislation in place. However, to go ahead and apply the emergency legislation to the entire market is just not justified, "he said.

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