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Rental moratorium: Where are we at?

Jones and Co property

With just over three months until Western Australia emerges from its rental moratorium, landlords are being urged to turn their attention to what they need to do to prepare.

The moratorium, which ends on March 28, was introduced by the State Government to stop tenants from being dumped onto the rental market during the pandemic. The moratorium also prevented landlords from evicting tenants for not paying rent if they were suffering financial hardship due to the COVID-19 economic crisis.

Jones and Co director Kelly Jones said it was very important for landlords to discuss options with their property manager.

The moratorium has allowed tenants to remain in a rental property even after their lease had expired. But when the emergency legislation ends, regular laws will return.

“Landlords need to weigh up the pain of rental discounts with the threat of vacancies amid a potentially softer market,” Kelly said. “

In some cases both parties will want to extend, so new leases should be in place so that tenants are able to remain in the property after March 28. In others, where tenants will be required to leave, notice periods will apply.

Kelly said many landlords had been squeezed financially as a result of their tenants being in difficult position during the pandemic.

“I also know landlords who have been hit twice,” she said. “They’ve lost their jobs and they are receiving less rental income. At the same time the property costs and mortgage repayments are the same so it’s be a very tough time.

“And there are also some landlords who prior to the pandemic lived interstate or overseas, that have moved back to WA have been waiting patiently for the moratorium to end so they can move back into their own properties.”

For more information call the Landlord hotline on 1300 304054 or visit Consumer Protection.

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