The rental sector has not been immune to the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic. Rent.com.au ran a survey of 1,600 Australian renters and has reported the findings. The results show the impact the virus has had on rent affordability, the response by the industry, the sentiments on the future, and what should be done to amend these sentiments.
The survey shows around half of renters (59%) claim they are bringing in less income due to the pandemic, 33% are unemployed, and 22% say they are currently struggling to pay rent.
Half of those surveyed said they were planning on moving within the next six months. Forty-six percent of that group said they have put off those plans indefinitely, while 30% said the plans to move will be delayed.
Rent.com.au Chief Executive Officer, Greg Bader, said:
“Even though state and federal governments moved relatively quickly to support tenants, there is still a level of confusion and uncertainty in the renting market in terms of process and responsibilities. Over half of the respondents (53%) would like to see more support for renters from our leaders and just 21% believe the response so far has been enough.”
Bader explained that once the pandemic ends, or we near the ending, the 30% of renters who have seen the worst of it when it comes to finances, will continue to experiences the leftover impacts.
“We hope to see the industry and government respond in innovative ways to support renters and the industry-at-large.”
The survey showed that around 75% of renters are afraid to ask their property managers or landlords for help. Of that, only 32% said their property manager or landlord was helpful when confronted about rent.
Bader calls for property managers and landlords to open up communications with their tenants.
“Open and honest communication is the key and can only be an advantage for all parties as we prepare for the months ahead.
“Not all renters are actually seeking financial assistance. In fact, only 35% have asked for a reduction or a deferral in their rent. Of those, 50% have successfully negotiated (or are in the process of doing so), but unfortunately that means that half have been refused.”
Traffic and property inquiries are up for not only Rent.com.au, but other property portals around the world. Experts have said that the market is on the other side of the pandemic and that the worst is behind us. But it seems it will take more than numbers boost tenant confidence again.