first_imgThe federal government has introduced a six-month moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants.LANDLORDS and tenants are confused about what to do in the wake of the federal government’s introduction of a six-month moratorium on residential and commercial evictions, according to industry experts. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the ban, which will apply to tenants who are not able to meet their obligations due to financial distress as a result of the coronavirus crisis.The government wants renters, landlords and banks to negotiate ways to survive the pandemic, but property managers say they have been inundated with calls from distressed property owners and renters.The federal government wants landords, tenants and banks to negotiate how to survive the coronavirus pandemic. Image: istock.“There is a heightened confusion around what this moratorium actually means,” Place Estate Agents director of property management Cathie Crampton said. “What about matters in progress? Tenants already not consistent with their rent payments? Does this mean these owners are going to be looking at acute cash-flow shortages?” The Real Estate Institute of Queensland is calling for clear directives given 35 per cent of the state’s population live in rental accommodation — agreeing there are too many unanswered questions.About 35 per cent of Queensland’s population rent accommodation.REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said she supported the measures provided they were limited to cases where the full amount of rent was not able to be paid as a result of COVID-19. “With the real prospect of unemployment rates rising to a record 15 per cent, the pandemic has people more than in a state of panic,” Ms Mercorella said. “It’s not just a matter of pressing pause on mortgage repayments to set and forget for six months. Many mum and dad investors can barely cover the various costs associated with owning an investment property even with rent coming in so may not have any other choice but to sell their properties.”REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella. Photo: Claudia Baxter.Ms Crampton said the moratorium did not come as a shock, but she wanted to ensure landlords were not disadvantaged.“We want to ensure there is always cash-flow coming in for owners, and we are recommending payment plans be subject to approval by landlord insurers as a way of managing the process,” Ms Crampton said. “We would expect there should be some provision for tenants to continue paying some rent either by a loan scheme or bank reprieves for owners, because as it currently stands, it disadvantages the owner.”Ms Crampton said many landlords had already been providing voluntary relief for their tenants.“We’ve had many proactive owners who have offered rent reductions and reprieves for up to a month,” she said.Dean Yesberg, the head of Ray White Brisbane CBD Residential, said tenants needed to understand that they couldn’t just stop paying rent because they had lost their jobs. Mr Yesberg said some landlords may also have lost their jobs and so needed to fall back on their rental income. However, he said most landlords understood the situation and, where possible, some of them were throwing tenants a lifeline.“We’ve had a couple of our landlords give their tenants a month’s free rent or a short-term reduction in rent, until government assistance kicks in,” Mr Yesberg said. “Generally, most owners would rather their properties be rented than be left standing empty.”Ray White Brisbane CBD head of residential Dean Yesberg.Ramon Mitchell, founder of Gault & Co property advisory, said both landlords and tenants were “overwhelmed and confused” by what to do in relation to changing circumstances.“Property managers are receiving an extraordinary number of calls on what do in relation to rental properties,” Mr Mitchell said.“While tenants are anxious about making rental payments, landlords are under financial and employment pressures as well.”Anglicare Australia has welcomed the moratorium on evictions, saying it will offer protection for millions of renters suffering from rental stress.More from newsCOVID-19 renovation boom: How much Aussies are spending to give their houses a facelift during the pandemic3 days agoWhizzkid buys almost one property a month during COVID-197 days ago“This is a major step forward, offering security to millions of Australians,” Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said.“Across the country, we’ve heard stories from people who are losing their jobs and seeing their hours cut back. Incomes are drying up. People were at serious risk of losing their homes.“This moratorium will help people keep a roof over the heads — and stop them from falling into homelessness.” Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:52Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:52 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. 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This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenWays of limiting the spread of COVID-19 at home00:53 The Property Council has also welcomed the decision, but says more needs to be done.“There is still more to be done however, including in the area of land tax and rate relief for commercial property owners which we will continue to pursue with state and territory governments,” Property Council CEO Ken Morrison said.“Landlords, banks, and government all have a role to play in helping business during this period.”Brisbane landlords Dan Jarvis and Allen Broad own an investment property in Wynnum which is leased by a long-term tenant.Mr Jarvis said he welcomed the moratorium and was confident he could negotiate an arrangement with the tenants if they struggled to pay their weekly rent of $340.“If they can’t, we could negotiate to make it work for both of us,” Mr Jarvis said.“We’d have a lot of empathy for the renter because it’s out of their control. We’ll just have to do the best we can to help each other out.”last_img