Property investors in Western Australia will be allowed to hike rents after the deadline of the emergency period for the Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act on 28 March.

The deadline of the emergency period means the end for the moratorium on evictions and rent price increases.

Damian Collins, president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA), said the decision of the state government to extend the moratorium on evictions and price increases in September had a "debilitating effect" on the rental market.

"Since the announcement in September, the Perth vacancy rate has dropped below 1%, the lowest level we’ve seen in 40 years. There is very little available rental stock on the market and those people who are actively looking for somewhere to rent are finding it very difficult to secure a place to live," he said.

Collins said the end of the moratorium will be able to fix the state's rental shortage, as investors will have more incentive to buy a property.

"This should increase the number of properties available to rent and help create a more balanced market,” he said. "We need to encourage investor activity in WA. It is continuously overlooked how important property investors are to maintaining a healthy, affordable and balanced rental market.

Furthermore, Collins said investors will be able to increase rent prices for the first time in 12 months to reflect the changes that have occurred in the market over the last year. Data from REIWA showed that the median rent weekly rent price in Perth has increased to $400 in February from $360 in the same month last year.

"We encourage owners and tenants to be reasonable in rent negotiations and to speak with your property managers about what is a fair outcome for both parties,” Collins said.