Evicting Tenants during COVID-19

Perth Property Management News & Market Insights 

19 January 2021

A 6-month moratorium on residential tenancy evictions, from 30th March 2020, became legislated by the McGowan Government within weeks of the announcement.

The laws prevent tenants with incomes adversely affected by COVID-19 from being made homeless during the pandemic.

There have been instances where tenants have interpreted the announcement as 'NO evictions under any circumstances', with a small number ceasing to pay rent even though their incomes were not adversely affected.

We have also seen instances where tenants have caused damage to properties, believing they could not be evicted as a consequence. 

Despite this, the moratorium has been successfully implemented and generally adhered to by both landlords and tenants, with the focus on finding an acceptable solution for both parties.

There are still a number of grounds in which a tenant may be evicted during the moratorium period. 

However, a 'mandatory conciliation' process must first be undertaken before an application may be made to the Magistrate's Court.

Grounds may include;

  • If the owner will suffer undue hardship if the tenant does not move out
  • If the tenant ceases to pay rent when their ability to pay has not been adversely affected by COVID-19
  • When domestic violence is a factor

If a tenant does not uphold an agreement made during the mandatory conciliation process, the landlord may apply to the Magistrate's Court for immediate eviction. Landlords can find a Fact Sheet detailing information regarding the COVID-19 residential emergency period on the DMIRS website.

Private Landlord's Warning

An Xceed Real Estate tenant was recently evicted due to considerable rental arrears and property damage. During the final inspection, the property manager found a letter from the tenant's new, private landlord, expressing concern that the tenant was already behind in paying the bond and rent in advance. The tenant had forged rental references and income details, and convinced the unsuspecting new private landlord that he would catch up on the outstanding amount within a couple of weeks.

Xceed Real Estate Licensee, Daisy Campbell, wants this situation to be a warning for investors considering managing their properties privately, saying;

"Unfortunately, private landlords are often targeted by tenants who have been evicted, as private landlords do not have the same access to valuable information during the application screening process which Property Managers do."

Landlords with tenants who have ceased paying rent can contact Consumer Protection's Landlord Hotline on 1300 304 054, or find valuable information on the DMIRS website.

Alternatively, contact us on hello@xceedre.com.au for more information.