Australia’s Renters Struggle Despite The Rent Relief Packages
Rakhi Malhotra | On 15, May 2020
COVID-19 has not only challenged the global healthcare system but has deeply affected the economy. In Australia, renters make up almost a third of the households, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to pay rents regularly. Nearly 1.6 million people have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Tia Smith is from Darwin. She lost her construction job. She addressed how the COVID-19 pandemic affected her income, which was moderately high for the household she lived in, to something that was just enough. She could not balance the expenses for too long and had to move into a much cheaper neighbourhood. Packing up and settling for something less was not easy for her. To make it worse, the new house was broken into within days of moving in. Ms Smith felt unsafe and installed a barbed wire on the fence to prevent thieves. She admits feeling overwhelmed at the sudden changes and the invasion of her private space. It will take some time to feel at ease in the new area she added as an afterthought.
The Australian Prime Minister had announced a freeze on evictions for six months from businesses and homes. He had kept in mind the funding that would be needed by the territories and states. Victoria has unveiled a $500-million package for assisting tenants. A $440-million package was declared in New South Wales. A law was passed in Queensland to protect the tenants who cannot pay rent from eviction. A relief plan of around $25 million was chalked out by Western Australia in addition to free six months of rent for government tenants. Evictions will not be allowed in South Australia, Tasmania.
Is It Too Late?
Tamara Spence (advocate), believes that the funds were formulated when the crisis had peaked. She pointed out that a lot of tenants lost their jobs already and struggled to pay rents. Natasha Fyles states that the idea is to ease the existing pressure on the tenants. The 14 days given to a tenant to gather the rent has been extended to 60 days. After this period is over, the landlord can serve the tenant a notice. In case of any tent related negotiation, Fair Trading can be contacted to resolve the issue.
Quarantine Is Important
The biggest concern regarding coronavirus is that its behaviour is yet to be determined by scientists. The symptoms of a COVID-19 positive patient can vary, for some, it is almost like common flu, and for others, it is akin to pneumonia.
Be updated about the symptoms of the disease and be vigilant to stay safe. If you have any travel history, you must be cautious for two weeks after you return. Self-quarantine is essential and if you see symptoms, get yourself tested. If you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive, then you too should seek medical attention immediately. Let’s stay safe and fight this pandemic together!