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Issue #1925      July 27, 2020

Victoria’s stage-3 lockdown resumes with the same big issues! (RAHU)

Statement from Renting and Housing Union (RAHU)

If we are to effectively isolate and socially distance we need effective rent reductions – not deferrals – and guarantees of the security of our housing.

It is appropriate for the state to institute controls and restrictions to deal with a massive public health issue.

The state must acknowledge the role of housing in containing the virus. Lock-down further highlights the role which safe and appropriate housing plays in our society. If we are denied meaningful rent reductions and are forced to work to meet high rents in private markets or to live in very dense quarters in underfunded public housing units then infection numbers will continue to rise.

Rent deferrals, which renters are being coerced and misled into accepting are only delaying the economic impact of COVID-19. Don’t defer the crisis.

The state should not treat a health issue as a carceral issue. RAHU is strongly in favour of a community-health led response to the current stage-3 lockdown and any continuing restriction imposed on the community as part of a public-health response. The priority should be on care. COVID-19 is a serious illness which requires a serious response. Renters need guarantees that we can limit our current economic opportunities for public health reasons and not be penalised with the threat of eviction – not now, nor when the eviction moratorium is lifted.

RAHU member Zachary Doney said:

“We’re already seeing agents and landlords exploit these uncertain times in their interests. Renters are being saddled with enormous administrative burdens in navigating what should be a simple process of rent reduction. Renters are fearful of the retaliation for this perceived affront.”

“Agents are using a mixture of coercion and deliberately confusing semi-legal language to mislead us into signing reduction agreements which are actually deferral agreements,” Doney said.

Zachary Doney, RAHU member, hospitality worker.

contact@rahu.org.au

Next article – How hard is it to just keep Social Security above the poverty line?

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