Calls on Gov’t to recognise how coronavirus pandemic affecting landlord/tenant relations
Senior Opposition Member, Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) has called on the Andrew A. Fahie (R1) government to seriously address landlord and tenant relations over rent due, as the Territory continues to experience the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Honourable Fraser, a Third District community member who has been home from a tourism-dependent job is now complaining about not being able to pay rent.
“What is the likelihood that you would ever have money to pay your rent?,” he said during an Opposition Press Conference on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
No job, no rent - Hon Fraser
Mr Fraser said the scenario is now a wake-up call for the government to recognise the reality of what is taking place in the Territory.
“I was listening to the radio, and I heard someone raise the issue about landlords giving tenants a break. I hope no one comes to me and tell me they want a break because I need my money. These are the things that you hear, and I know it is only going to get worse,” he said.
“So the best thing that can happen is we nail it now, we should have nailed already!” Hon Fraser noted, while calling the particular issue a wound that will get worse 'down the road."
Opposition Leader, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8), reinforcing Hon Fraser's call, said the Government must now "find the balance" to address the issues, “learn to co-exist with COVID-19 and our economy,” he said.
“We talk about the tenant, but a lot of the landlords depend on their rent for their survival, so if the landlords don’t have their rents from their tenants, how can they survive and move forward?” Hon Penn questioned.
Banks must give landlords 'a break' - Premier
Meanwhile, Premier Fahie during a special edition of 'Honestly Speaking', aired on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, on ZBVI 780AM said he is aware that some landlords would owe the banks, and as such, Government has engaged those institutions on behalf of landlords.
The Government is expected to announce a stimulus package to address the issues; however, have said they are facing some UK backed challenges with accessing financing.
"That's why we've been speaking with the banks to give landlords with their loans a break. They have certain things in place but we asking them to stretch it a litter further than where it is because all of us have to take a loss somehow or the other with this."