Moratorium critical to keeping people in their homes

Extending WA’s rental eviction moratorium will keep a roof over the heads of thousands of West Australians impacted by COVID-19, says WA’s peak housing and homelessness and tenancy groups Shelter WA and Tenancy WA.

Housing Stress is Here

Shelter WA CEO Michelle Mackenzie, said she appreciated the concerns faced by the State Government in granting the extension, but with more people facing housing stress as a result of the pandemic, it was the best way to manage a very difficult situation.

“This is a positive move and one nobody should take for granted,” she said. “Our members are seeing more people in housing stress because of the pandemic. It is important to keep people in their homes and prevent another wave of homelessness.”

Carmen Acosta, Executive Manager of Tenancy WA supports Ms Mackenzie’s statement and the value of the extension in keeping people in homes, with many of their clients in housing stress.

Landlord Pressure

It is important to note that people not affected by COVID-related hardship are still required to pay their rent. Landlords can also turn to the mandatory conciliation process managed by DMIRS to help them resolve disputes.

“We all understand this is a difficult time for landlords as well,” said Ms Acosta, Executive Manager of Tenancy WA. “But these are unprecedented times and we must deal with the biggest threats first. The last thing we need now is more people living on the streets or sleeping rough and that has to take priority over all else. 

“Having said that, we really do understand that this decision may put some landlords under pressure and that is not something anyone should take for granted. We need support to flow on effects to these people too. 

Ms Mackenzie and Ms Acosta said they would welcome open discussions with industry. “Right now, the private rental market is unaffordable and out of reach to people on low incomes and the supply is just not there, so we all need to think creatively to find solutions.

Social Housing Safety Net

“As a community, we have learnt so much during this pandemic and we need to keep moving forward with innovative plans. A strong social housing safety net is critical to ensuring people have a place to call home and we need both State and Federal Governments to back a plan to create more options both in terms of physical housing and financial support. Poverty traps are a threat to everyone, not just those facing hardship, it affects our economy and community

“Most of all, it is incredibly heart warming to see the progress we are making as a community on understanding the need for everybody to have a safe, secure and affordable place to call home.”

Further Information

Visit the DMIRS Residential Tenancies Mandatory Conciliation Service page here.

To arrange an interview with our CEO Michelle Mackenzie, please contact Heather Bush, Head of Communications and Marketing here.

Fast Facts

  • There are over 700,000 renters in WA.
  • The Perth rental market’s vacancy rate has dropped to 1.6 per cent, which is the lowest it has been since March 2008 – a vacancy rate around 3 per cent is generally considered to create a good balance between supply and demand.
  • The JobKeeper wage subsidy will continue until March but payments will fall after September.
  • The JobSeeker coronavirus supplement will continue for three months but will fall after September.
  • Over 9,000 people experience homelessness every day.
  • Over 14,500 are on the wait list for social housing, including 2000 people who are priority listed.
  • Between January to July 2020, there was an increase of 3.7 percent in public housing wait list applications.