In NSW tenants are in dire need of rent relief.
One in three Australians rent - some 2.5 million households. A 2019 survey showed 40 per cent of tenants are in rental stress - they pay more than 30% of their income in rent.
In Sydney, one of the most expensive cities in the world, an extremely high 64% of all renters are in rental stress.
This is all before the COVID19 crisis.
With lay-offs, reduction of work hours, the prospect of JobSeeker and JobKeeper being removed, pay freezes for front-line workers being proposed, tenants are even more stressed.
Instead of assisting renters, the NSW government introduced a confusing 2-6 month “stay” on evictions, helped commercial renters and provided land tax relief to landlords. They only slightly reduced the penalties for breaking a lease agreement.
They encouraged renters and landlords to negotiate a rent reduction with their landlords.
But renters have limited, to-no bargaining power to negotiate with landlords. What many landlords *have* been negotiating with renters who are in financial stress, is a rent debt. Some renters are accruing thousands of dollars in debt which they will never be able to pay back.
Two eviction attempts in Sydney against an inner-west resident and an international student in the COVID-19 lock down period, shows the danger tenants are in.
We need substantial help for renters. Otherwise more cases will arise of International students, low-paid workers and precariously employed tenants falling through the cracks and suffering homeless.
We are calling for the NSW government to:
1. Stop evictions and extend 60-day moratorium on evictions (expired on Monday June 15) to 6 months and make it comprehensive.
2. Direct financial relief to renters who are struggling to afford their rent.
3. Cancel rental debt and other housing penalties accrued during the COVID-19 period.
4. Give renters the right to terminate a rental contract that is no longer viable, without penalty.
Other state governments have passed stronger rent relief packages and firmer anti-eviction programs. NSW needs to catch-up.
A coalition of housing activists, tenant rights groups, anti-eviction campaigners are coming together to campaign for rent relief and an end to evictions. On August 4, 2020 we will take action across NSW.
How you can help:
Paint and banner ‘Rent Relief Now, Not Evictions’ in the lead up to August 4, and drop it (safely) on from a bridge or a fence where people can view it.
Organise with your friends, family, aid groups, an action on August 4 to coincide with the COVID19-safe action taken outside NSW Parliament. It could be photoshoot in your home, an action outside your local MPs office, or a photoshoot within your MPs office, if they support you!
Help prevent the threat of homelessness.
Take action with us.
Contact Barney 0402 550 603