Housing, residential tenancies and occupancies

Physical distancing and restrictions on the operation of non-essential businesses have led to significant instability and unemployment in various industries (eg hospitality, air travel and tourism, creative arts and entertainment, and sports and recreation) which has, in turn, placed pressure on many people’s ability to access and maintain stable and secure housing, and is also likely to disproportionately effect women. This pressure may manifest as difficulty servicing rent or mortgages or as increased tension and hostility among cohabitants.

Evictions and displacement during this public health emergency may expose affected persons to a greater personal risk of exposure to COVID-19, greater mental and emotional stress, potential involvement with the justice system. It is therefore essential that adequate and equivalent safeguards and supports are accorded to tenants and occupants to ensure they remain able to enjoy an adequate standard of housing as the effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt. Adequate housing options are also essential for homeless people and ‘rough sleepers’, who face greater vulnerabilities during this time.

Resources about COVID-19 and housing, tenancy and occupancy:

ACT COVID-19 website – Information for tenants and occupants

ACT Legal Aid – Tenancy and COVID-19 factsheet

Care Financial Counselling and the Consumer Law Centre – COVID-19 Service Advice (and financial hardship factsheet)

YWCA Canberra – Services during COVID-19

Tenants’ Union ACT – Q&A factsheet about COVID-19 and renting in the ACT

Canberra Community Law – Open Letter seeking moratorium of public housing and community housing evictions during COVID-19

Conflict Resolution Service – Residential Tenancy Mediation during COVID-19

Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute – Brief: How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting housing policy in Australia?; and Brief: What is at stake for people experiencing homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic?

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, COVID-19 Guidance Note about prohibiting evictions