Coronavirus: Financial relief for homeowners and renters

It is clear the Coronavirus (COVID-19) will hit a lot of Australian families hard.

For people who lose their job or lose hours at work it will make it much harder to pay the mortgage or pay the rent.

No one should lose their home because they, or their family, are affected by the virus.

Labor urges the National Cabinet and the banks to immediately develop and implement a plan to help ensure people don’t lose the home they own or rent because of the virus.

More Australians are behind in their mortgage repayments today than at any time since the Global Financial Crisis and rental stress is through the roof.  This crisis will make this worse.

The National Cabinet and the financial services industry should look at what other countries are doing – including mortgage holidays and eviction moratoriums.

In addition to that, they should also take steps to make sure no one has their power, water, gas or phone cut off because they, or their family, are affected by the virus and can’t pay the bill.

Overnight, both the UK and US Governments have announced measures to protect mortgage-holders from foreclosure and tenants from eviction. We should do the same.

The UK Government has announced it will introduce emergency legislation to ensure that renters affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) are not forced out of their home. 

Landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period. 

The UK Government also announced this week a three-month mortgage payment holiday for homeowners who can’t keep up repayments because of the virus. 

This will also be extended to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to the virus.

In the United States President Trump also announced overnight a moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions for single family homeowners with Federal Housing Administration insured mortgages for the next 60 days.

A practical plan needs to be developed as quickly as possible tailored to the situation in Australia.