With entire industries shutting down and mass unemployment on the rise, renters across the country are in a state of panic about how they’re going to survive the coming months. The federal government has predicted that at least one million people will face unemployment as the COVID-19 pandemic plagues the Australian economy.
Renters are amongst the most vulnerable in the COVID-19 economic crisis. Those who rent are more likely to be casual workers employed by industries that have suffered under new lockdown laws.
The impacts of COVID-19 are set to incite a housing crisis — as renters and those paying off mortgages nationwide risk falling behind on rent or losing their homes. To combat the anxious period ahead of us, The Greens have introduced a stimulus package to help keep renters and homeowners afloat.
“The Government should not be leaving people behind as they deal with the consequences of the coronavirus. If you can’t pay rent or your mortgage, you should not be forced out onto the street. It’s that simple,” a mission statement on The Greens website reads.
The outline of the package is as follows:
- No rental evictions or foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic
- A nationwide rent freeze with no increase in rent for the duration of the crisis
- A mortgage holiday to suspend payments if you need to
- Urgently fund crisis housing
- An increase to Centrelink rent assistance payments
The NSW Parliament passed The COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 earlier today. The bill will allow the Housing Minister to ban evictions for renters and commercial tenants through regulation. It also empowers the minister to call for rent freezes.
The bill was drafted by Greens member for Newtown Jenny Leong.
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“It gives people the security to have discussions about how we can solve the ongoing problem,” Ms Leong shared via Domain. “[We need to] make sure renters don’t have a massive debt and to make sure landlords don’t default on their own mortgages or credits.”