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Over 14k Qld renters on COVID-19 support

Posted on 22 July 2020

Source:  Australian Property Journal - Nelson Yap

OVER 14,000 tenants across Queensland impacted by COVID-19 have requested rent reductions significantly higher the state government's estimates of 3,950 with Brisbane landlords and renters bearing the brunt.

According to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ), agents have been involved in negotiating temporary reduced rents on behalf of more than 14,000 rental tenants with their landlords.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said real estate professionals manage close to 600,000 Queensland households.

"The demand for more effective recognition of our industry during any future crisis of this nature is now more apparent, with property managers overseeing more than a double caseload of temporary rent reduction requests from tenants suddenly faced with the inability to fulfil their rent obligations," she added.

A survey of 1,200 REIQ property management member agencies show that only 6.05% of residential rental tenants qualified as "COVID-19 impacted" under the state government's COVID-19 Emergency Response Regulation, whereby the tenant has suffered a loss of income of 25% or more, or the rent payable is 30% or more of a person's income.

This represents approximately 3,950 renters based on the 2016 Census data of 577,000 residential tenancies. A majority of negotiations achieved a satisfactory outcome with fewer than 800 referred to the Residential Tenancies Authority for further conciliation.

However the REIQ found property managers have proactively negotiated an additional 14% of temporary rent reduction requests beyond the COVID-19 Emergency Response Regulation, representing over 10,800 residential tenancies.

Mercorella said that is more than double the amount of qualified lease renegotiations recognised as "COVID-19 impacted".

The bulk of these temporary rent reduction reviews took place across Brisbane (37.2%), Gold Coast (14.88%), Sunshine Coast (12.09%) and Cairns (6.51%) with the majority of tenants requiring a rent reduction of up to $100 per week (69.3%).

A further 23.72% of rental tenants have required a temporary rent reduction of up to $200; 5.12% a reduction of up to $300; and, 1.86% a reduction of over $300 which represents just over 200 tenants.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Scott Morrison is expected to unveil budget measures next week to support JobKeeper and JobSeeker post September.

This comes as Australia's major lenders announced earlier this month they would extend the home loan repayment holiday for customers post September, in a bid to avoid a "fiscal cliff".

Last week the REINSW revealed that Sydney's vacancy rates has climbed to 4.5% its highest level in 20 years.


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