In my first post in this series on the economic fallout of covid-19, I asked whether banks are the heroes of our current economy. The answer was a resounding no. But now, as thousands across Australia are losing income, either from reduced hours, a decrease in business, or even a complete loss of employment, many are now struggling to afford the basics. Including rent. As a result, many have turned their attention to landlords.
The Prime Minister has announced a six-month moratorium on commercial and residential evictions, with renters encouraged to contact their landlords or real estate agents if they’re facing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus shutdown.
But (surprise!) it seems that simply expecting tenants and landlords to work it out themselves isn’t working.
Stuck in the middle with you
In recent days, I’ve seen numerous renters on Reddit posting about their landlords’ refusal to play ball. Some are reportedly demanding rents be paid in full even when tenants have suffered significant financial losses.
On the other hand, in spite of the eviction moratorium designed to protect tenants (which may differ in its application from state to state), and the drastic increases in financial help now available in the form of the recently doubled JobSeeker payments, and the newly introduced JobKeeper income support, thousands of renters have pledged to undertake a ‘rent strike’.
Caught in the middle of it all are real estate agents, who, the Sydney Morning Herald reports are being “abused by people who are in desperate situations”.
The situation is indeed desperate. But are landlords really the bad guys here?Continue reading “Are landlords the bad guys?”