Residential tenants in at least one part of Tasmania have been told that rent increases that were deferred during the COVID moratorium will be implemented from February 1, raising fears of mass increases statewide.
The moratorium on rent increases started on April 23 to provide support to tenants at a time when unemployment was rising rapidly.
The government extended the moratorium in September, and then again in December, before deciding to end it this month.
It also means rental arrears repayments must begin again, with payment plans negotiated through the Residential Tenancy Commissioner.
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On Sunday, Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O'Connor displayed an email from a Hobart real estate agent to tenants which outlined an intention to immediately implement deferred rental increases.
"We will begin to implement all outstanding rent increases that were deferred during the COVID emergency period on the 1st of February," the email reads.
Ms O'Connor said ending the moratorium was the wrong move, given Tasmania's increasingly tight rental market.
"The Gutwein Government knew this was going to happen. They know that the rental market is tight, and they know people are still suffering economically as a result of the pandemic," she said.
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"And yet, they are prepared to throw tenants out onto the mercy of the market that has no space for them.
"Hobart has the lowest vacancy rate in the country and rents are on the rise, at the same time as Commonwealth support will be drying up in a couple of months. It's a very concerning scenario."
In Hobart on Monday, there were 13 rental properties available for $300-a-week or less. All of them were one-bedroom. In Launceston, there were about 25, the vast majority being small units, or small houses in the outer suburbs.
Ms O'Connor said Tasmania should implement a model similar to the ACT where landlords must apply to the tenancy commissioner if they want to increase rent above inflation.
The government extended the Rent Relief Fund and Landlord Support Fund to March 31.
Last week, Building Minister Elise Archer said the government had been proactive in supporting Tasmanians through the pandemic.
"More than $2.8 million in support has already been paid to more than 3400 landlords and tenants who have been financially impacted by COVID-19, representing approximately 81 per cent of rent arrears," she said.
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