When Noorlia Mansor lost her job as the coronavirus pandemic reached Melbourne last March, she had no idea how she’d pay her rent, The Age reports.
Laws introduced by the Andrews government to prevent mass evictions helped, along with a landlord willing to negotiate. Rent on her Abbotsford apartment fell from $440 a week to $330.
Months later, with the pandemic in full swing and Melbourne ground to a halt, Mansor was still without a job. Paying even the reduced amount was beyond her. She went to the state administrative tribunal for another rent reduction and succeeded; her rent fell to $170 a week.
But with the moratorium on evictions ending, the 45-year-old is fairly certain her time in her Abbotsford home will soon be up.
“I have no idea what I will do if I can’t find a job in the next few weeks,” says Ms Mansor, whose JobSeeker payments will fall to $616 a fortnight, as the supplement added by the Morrison government also finishes.
Figures obtained under Freedom of Information show that despite the general eviction moratorium and bans on rental increases, landlords are taking tenants to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in a bid to get them out.
In October, applications to end a lease based on a tenant’s inability to pay the rent were at 685 for the month. By February, this had grown to almost 1100.
Rental groups expect a surge of evictions the moment the moratorium ends, and federal unemployment support schemes such as JobKeeper wind up, also on March 28.