Evictions surge after WA moratorium lifts

·2-min read

West Australian service providers are being overwhelmed by people seeking help with housing evictions, financial problems and domestic violence.

A report by the Housing Emergency Response Group finds the number of people sleeping rough and waiting for social housing has also spiked since a year-long moratorium on rental evictions expired at the end of March.

At least 1256 termination notices have been issued to private tenants since then, equivalent to more than 100 per week.

Rental vacancy rates have meanwhile sunk to record lows in recent months.

"Unfortunately, this report shows many individuals and families are in enormous stress," WA Council of Social Services policy director Chris Twomey said.

"Ensuring adequate ongoing emergency relief funding along with increased investment in social and affordable housing is critical."

Among the trends identified in the report are a surge in the number of people seeking assistance with debt and financial problems.

Community legal group Circle Green said requests for assistance in court with tenancy issues had more than tripled between October and June.

The Financial Counsellors Network meanwhile reported a 122 per cent increase in clients who had been impacted by family and domestic violence from April to May.

More than 560 applicants have joined the social housing waitlist since the moratorium ended, taking the total number to almost 17,000.

WA is on track to post a record $4.3 billion budget surplus, fuelled by a surge in the iron ore price, when the budget is handed down in September.

The McGowan government has touted a $1 billion investment in housing initiatives, including a $30 million residential rent relief grant scheme.

Housing Minister John Carey said there had been a significant increase in demand for housing supply, partly driven by an influx of returned residents, but predicted WA's hot housing market would eventually bolster rental stocks.

He said there had been about 26,000 building approvals granted over the past 12 months, 10,000 of which he expected to enter the rental market.

"We know that the housing market is under pressure - it's a question of supply," he told reporters on Thursday.

"That issue's being addressed but in the meantime, we are rolling out a significant range of measures including a grant scheme for tenants."

He added that heavy demand for builders had prevented the government from building more public housing.

"We want to build public housing but just like private home builders, mums and dads, we're all facing a similar constraint," he said.

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