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Vulnerable renters put out despite reinstated ban on evictions during lockdown

Households must be able to prove their income has reduced by 25% or more to receive support. Photo: StockSnap.

By SASHA FOOT

The NSW government reintroduced an eviction moratorium for renters this week. Tenants who can’t pay their rent in full due to Sydney’s lockdown cannot be evicted between now and September.

However, the eviction moratorium only applies to households that can prove their income has reduced by 25% or more due to the lockdown.

Madison Scott, a young renter in Newtown and frontwoman of local band Concrete Lawn, is not satisfied with the government’s support packages eligibility thresholds. The disaster payments can’t be acquired by people on youth allowance or other income support payments.

“Although it’s vital to control and minimise the COVID cases in NSW, there is a pathetic level of support for our demographic from the government,” Scott told the Inner West Independent.

“I have friends who are on the maximum Centrelink payment [and] are living on less than $100 a week,” she said, “and those under the age of 22 who aren’t even eligible for said payments, struggling to even pay rent, let alone pay for groceries and bills.”

“Most landlords [are] refusing to buckle under the pleading requests for rent reduction from their tenants, these are trying times financially and emotionally for young people,” Scott said.

Petition plea

Jenny Leong, Member for Newtown, launched a petition this week directed at the Premier to reinstate the zero-eviction policy.

“The millions of people who rent in NSW cannot be forgotten – the pressures of housing stress on top of the stress of this current health crisis – is too much for so many living across our community,” she told the Independent.      

Leong’s petition outlined the importance of affordable rent, the prevention of rent debt and the allocation of an emergency housing fund.

NSW Council of Social Service, Homelessness NSW, and the Tenants Union of NSW have also written to the State and Federal Government urging them to grant financial support to the most vulnerable.

Tenants’ Union of NSW CEO, Leo Patterson Ross said that renters faced with financial difficulties need access to relief payments.

Dylan Griffiths, a Greens candidate for the Inner West Council and a renter in Ashfield said the eviction moratorium does not go far enough.

“A 60-day eviction moratorium is a good start, but Gladys should take permanent action to permanently remove no grounds evictions which effectively turn every rental into an insecure rental,” he said to the Independent.      

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