What is the Moratorium?
A moratorium is a temporary ban on something. The evictions moratorium meant that renters who had been negatively affected by COVID-19 and couldn’t make their rent payments could not be evicted by their landlords.
Put in place by PM Scott Morrison, it was designed to protect those exposed to economic hardship by the virus. It also ensured people had a place to live during lockdown periods, particularly if they or family members needed to self-isolate at home.
Although encouraged to negotiate with their landlord and to still keep paying some rent, tenants couldn’t be evicted if they didn’t meet their rental obligations. Only provided they could prove the virus was the cause of their inability to pay rent.
The moratorium started back in March, and here in Queensland it expired at midnight on September 29th 2020.
What does the End of the Evictions Moratorium Mean?
Technically COVID-affected tenants who aren’t paying their rent can now be evicted after due processes are followed. If a tenant is in COVID-hardship, they need to inform their rental agents or lessors that this is the reason for their rental arrears. They will then be issued with a ‘Show Cause Notice’, to which they have to respond with their reasons for not paying. The process then moves onto Dispute Resolution, and if necessary, to the Tribunal.
So basically if a tenant is in a position where rent is difficult to make, they can’t just not pay rent. Their reasons need to be justified, and negotiations need to happen. We would advise tenants to sit down and figure out their budget, and how much rent they can afford to pay. If they’re affected by COVID, new rules state rent shouldn’t exceed 30% of their income. Bear that in mind when making your budget.
What Will the Effects of The Moratorium End Be?
We don’t feel there will be mass evictions as a result. We’re all in the same boat here in Australia, and landlords and agents will be willing to negotiate. It’s important though that tenants also come to the party and don’t view this as a free ticket out of paying rent. It doesn’t work like that. Communicate your position clearly if you’re in financial trouble as a result of COVID.
If you have any questions about how this moratorium is going to affect real estate in Queensland, please get in touch with me, Henry, or a member of The Henry Wong Team®. We love answering all your real estate questions!