Churches Housing has been working with other peak bodies including the Tenants’ Union to ensure that unfair evictions are prevented during the pandemic. This is the letter we have co-signed with 80 other individuals and organisations:
We are a community coalition made up of people and organisations who work with renters and research housing problems.
The COVID19 epidemic is a public health crisis that will be made worse by evictions. We call on the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to ensure no evictions happen during this crisis. The COVID19 epidemic is causing significant economic harm through the cancellation of events, the disruption of supply chains, and a general reduction in public activity and commerce.
Many workers, especially contractors and casual workers, will suffer from lost incomes. Many will fall into rent arrears and be at risk of termination and eviction.
People facing eviction are less able to take actions required to minimise transmission of COVID-19, particularly where they become homeless, and will become more vulnerable to illness. An eviction into homelessness at this time puts great pressure on families and communities in overcrowded homes, crisis accommodation and people sleeping rough.
Support services will already be struggling to deal with increased demand and as a community we cannot afford to make it worse. We call on states and territories to put a stop to evictions.
- Police and court officers should be directed not to carry out or allow any evictions
- Public and community housing providers should immediately cease eviction proceedings against their tenants
- All relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers should make public statements calling on landlords not to begin proceedings to evict any tenant and to offer leniency on arrears
- Housing departments and councils need to work with shared accommodation providers, including boarding and rooming house operators, to ensure residents are not evicted into more severe homelessness and that their accommodation is healthy
- This would not apply to individuals removed for perpetrating violence.
A temporary eviction moratorium is a necessary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The economic costs will need to be shared across the community. Before the stop on evictions is lifted, governments must have a plan to ensure the whole community can recover, and not leave some burdened with debt. Australia is in crisis. We need to come together and ensure no one loses their home.