Renter Protections package must be comprehensive to improve Housing Security

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
16 July 2020
  • Short notice of extension unacceptable, no extension date indicated yet.

With the Minister for Housing confirming he will extend the rent freeze and moratorium on evictions in some way, Labour Housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan has called for the Minister to commit to a more comprehensive overhaul of protections for renters, and to ensure the July Stimulus includes a major investment in retrofitting of homes and plans to jump start the construction of social housing.

Senator Moynihan said:

“The Minister for Housing had said in response to a Labour motion last week that he would look to extend the ban on rent increases and evictions but it looks likely it will only be a short extension. That is not enough and creates further uncertainty for renters. That the ban is only being extended at such short notice is unacceptable and damages housing security. The Minister also hasn’t told us how long he will extend it for.

“We want the ban on evictions extended until the end of the year as a minimum, and it is our view that it is legal to freeze rents until such time as there is sufficient supply of new housing. If the Minister is engaging with the Attorney General on the law in this area, I would urge him to examine the numerous bills and amendments we have brought forward over the last four years to improve protections for renters. The law on evictions needs to be extensively changed to give tenants improved security of tenure. The reduction in homelessness proves that the measures have worked to reduce the number of people losing their homes.

“We have also sought action on rent arrears, and the growing volume of rent debts. Workers in the hospitality sector have been dealt a blow with the further delay in the opening of pubs, and many of these will be renters. It is essential that the Government comprehensively extend protections, and provide more financial support to workers.

“The Government will also announce the July Stimulus next week. It is our view that this must focus on investment in public services, with a focus on housing. We want a comprehensive package to jump start the construction of social housing, and now is also the time to invest in retrofitting of homes to create sustainable jobs and help us meet our climate change targets.”

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