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REINSW calls out government for lack of landlord support

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Landlords in NSW have had to bear the financial burden of the pandemic, according to REINSW. Photo: Shutterstock

REINSW calls out government for lack of landlord support

The Real Estate Institute of New South Wales has slammed the NSW state government for “passing the buck” on tenant support, saying its newest COVID Recovery Bill provides no financial assistance for renters or landlords.

The Real Estate Institute of New South Wales has slammed the NSW state government for “passing the buck” on tenant support, saying its newest COVID Recovery Bill provides no financial assistance for renters or landlords.

The NSW government rolled back most COVID-19-related support measures on March 26, ending a moratorium on evictions and a freeze on rental increases.

However, a new bill designed to protect tenants and landlords passed NSW Parliament last week, introducing a six-month transition to ensure tenants with rental arrears due to the pandemic are protected from being evicted.

The NSW government said landlords and tenants would be given support to establish repayment plans, while those whose ability to pay rent had been affected by the pandemic would not be blacklisted on tenancy databases.

REINSW chief executive Tim McKibbin said the legislation placed landlords under pressure to waive what was owed to them, a burden many may not be able to afford. 

“Throughout the pandemic, with its lack of support, the NSW Government directed private citizens to provide financial support to members of the community affected by COVID,” Mr McKibbin said.

“There was no concern as to whether it would send them broke and no empathy for the landlord’s position. That was certainly reinforced last week in Budget Estimates.

“When asked about support for tenants and landlords, Minister Anderson recently claimed, on the record, that ‘we will support them’. 

“This is especially insulting to mum and dad investors who have provided the actual financial support to date.”

Mr McKibbin said around 80 per cent of property investors owned just one rental property, with rental payments depended upon to pay for living expenses or to service a mortgage.

He said while many landlords would remain out of pocket, tenants were not necessarily the winners under the new legislation.

“The daily stress imposed on tenants to find money they don’t have, when the opportunity to support them is available, is unconscionable,” Mr McKibbin said.

“Continue to punish landlords so overtly and the provision of rental accommodation diminishes further. 

“Government has a clear path to support an industry which contributes so much to its revenue.”

Mr McKibbin also questioned Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson, who recently said the “numbers did not stack up” for the government to provide support to landlords, as governments in other states had.’

“It is abundantly obvious the position the NSW Government is taking,” Mr McKibbin said.

“Through a legislative direction they are transferring the financial stress of tenants to landlords.

“The COVID Recovery Bill merely prolongs the unfair playing field set during the pandemic, with landlords continuing to shoulder the burden and the risk, while tenants find themselves at best in the same position or, for those relying on JobKeeper, in a worse position too.”

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