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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 329 asked in the Legislative Council on 2 April 2020 by Hon Alison Xamon

Minister responding: Hon J.R. Quigley
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

CORONAVIRUS — RESIDENTIAL TENANCY EVICTIONS

329. Hon ALISON XAMON to the minister representing the Minister for Commerce:

My question is on behalf of Hon Tim Clifford, who is away on urgent parliamentary business. I refer to the Prime Minister's announcement on 29 March of a six-month moratorium on residential tenancy evictions and to the extreme levels of uncertainty and anxiety among tenants who have continued to receive eviction notices from landlords and property managers.

(1) Until this Parliament passes amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act to give effect to the moratorium, will landlords be entitled to continue to evict tenants who cannot pay their rent due to financial distress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

(2) Will the government provide emergency housing or other assistance for tenants who are evicted during this time?

(3) What measures to protect tenants other than a moratorium on evictions is the government considering introducing as part of the COVID-19-related amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act?

Hon DARREN WEST replied:

On behalf of the Minister for Regional Development, I thank Hon Tim Clifford for some notice of the question. On behalf of the Minister for Commerce, I provide the following answer.

(1) There are legislative time frames in relation to a termination of a lease that involve the servicing of notices to a tenant and when an application can be made to a court. If those requirements are not met, the court cannot accept the application. A tenancy agreement can be terminated only by agreement between the tenant and the landlord or by a court order. The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety's Consumer Protection division has information on its website to assist tenants in this situation.

(2)–(3) Any additional measures and reforms by the McGowan government will be consistent with the measures determined by the national cabinet and are aimed at supporting tenants and landlords to stabilise the residential tenancy market.