How to cope with the end of JobKeeper and eviction moratoriums
March 29 will signal the end of both JobKeeker and the eviction moratorium in NSW and Victoria, leading to an uncertain future for tenants and landlords alike. But while the future remains unclear, there are still steps both parties can take to minimise the hurt.
The end of JobSeeker and the eviction moratorium is a double whammy. Those still unemployed or on reduced hours face the prospect of eviction, while many landlords will have to grapple with tenants even less able to pay rent.
Confounding matters, the end of the eviction moratorium will also mean the end of rent relief grants of $3000 for landlords and tenants who were able to find middle ground and agree to a rental discount.
"I don't think it will be a cliff, but I do think people will struggle - it's just hard to know what that will look like," says Shannyn Laird, head of customer experience at Different Property Management.
"JobKeeper ending and relief finishing will likely see a lot of distressed owners, especially if the moratorium is extended."
Laird says that the most important thing for landlords trying to protect rental income is to work with the property manager and weigh up what vacancy will cost versus what a rent reduction will net them in the long-term.
However, the economy has recovered somewhat, so landlords should make decisions based on current information.
"Landlords need to look at any agreements they made with their tenants last year and ensure they're based now on the current position of the tenant; some tenants did well out of JobKeeper and were able to net some savings."
At the same time, Laird says landlords need to ensure they're pricing themselves appropriately given the current market by looking at vacancy rates and the rents in their area.
Tenants, on the other hand, need to be up to speed on changes beyond simply the end of JobKeeper and the eviction moratorium.
Victoria has rolled out a bevy of changes to its tenancy laws, covering everything from bonds and vacancy orders to property alterations.
"We have seen tenants adjust their lifestyle. If they're predominantly working from home that second car or gym membership are some areas that could save money that can go towards rent."
For city-based tenants unable to find common ground with their landlords, shopping around for cheaper properties remains an option, with metro vacancy higher than the rural areas which have seen an influx of those seeking a tree-change.