NSW: Rent Relief Now and Housing Defence Coalition organised an action outside New South Wales Parliament on June 16 calling for direct rent relief and to continue the moratorium on evictions which officials ended the previous day.
There have been attempts to evict an inner-west resident and an international student during the COVID-19 lock-down: both evictions were stopped by activists.
An international student who faced eviction from Iglu Chatswood Student Accommodation told Green Left that they had run out of money and had been living off vouchers from the university. “I got an eviction notice from Iglu, due to non-payment. They told me to leave in under two weeks. This was very frightening … I have no other place to go.”
Ella Haber from the Housing Defence Coalition told the protest that the moratorium needed to be extended to six months. “We are demanding the government provide direct financial relief to renters who are struggling to afford their rent and for the government waive rental debt and other housing penalties accrued during COVID-19.
“The government needs to give renters the right to terminate a rental contract that is no longer viable, without incurring penalties,” Haber added.
NSW Tenants Union spokesperson Jemima Mowbray said that 80 groups and research experts had signed a statement supporting renters. It also called for a temporary freeze on rent increases and direct financial relief for tenants.
Shelter NSW spokesperson James Sherriff told the protest that NSW MP Kevin Anderson is sitting on a recommendation to provide $2500 in rent relief for households in financial strain, but is not moving on it.
NSW Greens Housing spokesperson Jenny Leong, President of the Sydney University Representative Council Liam Donohoe, Millers Point Housing Group spokesperson Barney Gardiner and Maritime Union Australia Sydney branch secretary Paul McAleer also spoke.
In the days leading up to the action “Rent relief now” and “Stop evictions” banners were dropped off seven bridges in Sydney’s CBD and bridges in Wollongong and Newcastle.