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What the six month eviction ban could mean

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Australia’s biggest rental agency has warned tenants they’re unlikely to have rental debts wiped out if they lose their jobs, as the industry awaits legislation over the proposed six-month eviction ban.

Australia's biggest rental agency has warned tenants they're unlikely to have rental debts wiped out if they lose their jobs, as the industry awaits legislation over the proposed six-month eviction ban.

Lisa Pennell from Ray White, which has more than 200,000 rental properties on its books, said they've already been inundated with calls from worried tenants who have lost their jobs, as well as landlords who fear making mortgage payments.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced last week residential evictions would not be allowed for six months.

He said both residential and commercial landlords and tenants should talk to each other to make a plan.

But so far no more details have been confirmed.

Ms Pennell said they're waiting to hear what the rules will be, but warned tenants they shouldn't expect a "free run".

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"There's definitely a lot of confusion," she said.

"It does appear that there will be a moratorium on evictions for not paying rent, but obviously the liability for rent continues on.

"This is not about negating responsibility.

"We have a lot of landlords who are in volatile situations as well.

"There's also a subset of landlords who don't have mortgages and rely on rental income as an income, and if their tenant stops paying rent entirely they won't have money for food.

"It's important to get the detail right but what I would say is important is that tenants understand this is not a free kick."

While banks are offering to discuss breaks on mortgage payments for investors, interest would continue.

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Ms Pennell questioned if tenants will also then be liable for any interest.

Ms Pennell, said the current system, Centre Pay, which seems government assistance paid direct to management agencies and landlords for tenants who qualify for help, should be utilised for any special coronavirus payments.

She said the situation is unprecedented.

Ray White itself has been running for almost 120 years, so has handled some of history's biggest crisis'.

"The White family has been though Spanish flu, wars, the depression, GFC," she said.

"This is a crisis on an unprecedented scale."

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Source: 9News

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