An Illawarra tenants' advocacy group is encouraging at-risk renters to communicate with landlords, and real estate agents to help reach a compromise during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the coming months, many Illawarra renters will face their work hours being cut, or even lose jobs entirely.
This has led to concerns more households will end up in rental stress, whereby more than 30 per cent of a household's income is spent on rent.
Julia Murray, acting team leader at the Illawarra & South Coast Tenants Service said they were already hearing examples of people in this situation.
"We are especially concerned about the flow-on effects of overcrowding, homelessness and the associated health impacts for individuals and the community," she said.
Ms Murray said the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) have had to significantly modify their normal operations, and the Tenants Service were trying to incorporate these new processes into the advice they provide.
She said everyone in the tenancy relationship has a stake in finding solutions during this period.
"It may be that a landlord might argue that they want to evict a tenant if they have lost their income and can't afford to pay their rent.
"However, the cost and risk of trying to find a new tenant in the current climate may provide a powerful incentive to negotiate a different solution."
Ms Murray said their service, along with other community organisations, have signed up to the 'No Evictions During a Health Crisis' campaign.
"Hearteningly, the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) has responded positively to the raising of these issues, and have put in place policies to alleviate rental stress for their tenants and to halt rent arrears evictions during this period.
"DCJ have also requested that community housing providers follow their lead, thereby extending this approach to all social housing tenants."
Real Estate Institute of Australia president Adrian Kelly said many tenants live from paycheque to paycheque.
He said the real estate industry has a duty of care to look after the interests of tenants and property owners.
"Under normal circumstances if a tenant can no longer afford to pay their rent, we undertake the process of eviction," he said.
"However in these times of the coronavirus pandemic, we are in unchartered waters.
"If a tenant is unable to pay their rent, due to a loss of income, the situation is further exacerbated by the fact they may need to self-isolate for a period of time."
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