Experts were predicting exorbitant rents and an eviction avalanche following the March 28 end to the COVID-19-inspired rent price moratorium, with many market observers sure State Government protections were the only thing keeping tenants in homes. Now a month on from the emergency period’s termination, West Real Estate spoke to five Perth real estate agents about how tenancies were tracking.
AIMEE RUSSELL – HOUSESMART REAL ESTATE
In most cases landlords have kept existing tenants. Landlords want tenant retention and investment properties are long-term in most cases. Though we are seeing many landlords sell their properties due to COVID-19-created financial circumstances, which generally requires property to be vacant. Most rent increases have been fair and take into account market movements. Past rents were very low and owners have taken this opportunity to return to market levels; and you may see increases as high as, for example, $100 per week.
ANA VIZCAINO – DETHRIDGE GROVES REAL ESTATE
Most landlords value existing tenants and have kept them. Some tenants have moved on from tenancies where rents have re-aligned with market rates. In most cases, rent increases for tenants have been fair and the market is catching up on losses from the past four to five years. Desirable properties are attracting significant numbers of prospective tenants, many of whom will offer well above advertised prices.
Properties are leasing quickly and vacancy rates are lower than the long-term average. We have not yet reached peak of the rental market, as supply remains tight and demand high. Perth rents are really affordable compared to east coast cities and we predict rents will continue to rise for the rest of the year and beyond, or until we get some more investor stock into the market.
BRENDAN LEAHY – NAKED EDGE REAL ESTATE
Most landlords have kept their existing tenants. The only tenancies that have been terminated are from landlords looking to sell, and one tenancy was terminated due to rent arrears accrued in the emergency period. We were very fortunate that we were able to work with almost all of our tenants whose income was affected by COVID-19 to keep the rent coming in.
Rent increases have been between $20 and $50 per week, while there was one Canning Vale increase of $110 per week, from $450 to $560. All increases align with the current market. Most landlords have been mindful of putting increases in place if they know the tenant can’t afford it.
ELYSHA CAINES – LEAF ASSET REAL ESTATE
We did not have many defaulting tenants through COVID-19 and we were able to minimise long-term issues. Only owners wishing to sell or move back in have issued notices. The majority of properties have been issued with an increase to reflect the current rental market. Owners have had low rental return for many years now and a lot of rents are not covering the property mortgage, so this will give some relief to struggling owners and keep investors in the rental market. Tenants are aware of the market and expect an increase.
STACEY KOUROULIS – CENTRAL PARAGON PROPERTY
We have not had really any landlords give tenants notice to vacate following the moratorium ending. Most increases were $20 to $50. In some areas rents jumped $150 to $200, though we are encouraging healthier moves. Landlords deem increases fair because they had to cop falling rent previously, but tenants are dealing with instant increases, rather than in small, easier-to-manage increments over time.
I believe the government’s long moratorium period has played a big part in rent spikes and tight vacancy rates, as little of the rent relief grant was initially used, prompting the government to offer it for second and third rounds, which probably signals the 12-month moratorium was more than necessary.