The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia is calling for the state government to follow the original deadline of the emergency period tenancy legislation for residential and commercial properties.
Damian Collins, president of REIWA, said there is no need for the state to extend the emergency legislation, given that the state's property markets are starting to go back to normal.
"The emergency legislation was introduced on the basis that the WA economy would face a far greater shock than it actually did and while we understand that the economy is certainly not as strong as it was pre-COVID, applying emergency legislation to all tenancies is not the appropriate response to those who may need assistance," Collins said.
The state government passed the Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 to help tenants who are in financial distress due to the outbreak. The legislation is effective until 30 September but could be extended depending on the current circumstances.
Recently, the Australian Capital Territory extended its own eviction moratorium and other tenant protections amid the COVID-19 outbreak until October.
Collins said extending the legislation in Western Australia will put landlords at a disadvantage, as they could be suffering more than the tenants and are unable to exercise their normal rights under the lease.
Furthermore, it will place their finances at risks as they can no longer defer mortgage repayments. Collins said some might be forced to sell, which would reduce the rental stock.
"With the current vacancy rate sitting at 2%, we can't afford for landlords to take their properties out of the private rental market, as not only will this impact stock levels, it may also increase the median weekly rent," he said.
Commercial landlords could face similar problems when the legislation is extended.
Collins said it is only fair that tenants be expected to meet their obligations as trading conditions return to normal.
"Landlords generally want to keep tenants in most instances, and I am sure that most landlords will work with tenants who need help regardless of whether or not they have legislation in place. However, moving forward and applying emergency legislation to the entire market is simply not warranted," he said.
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