Kelly: We are trying to postpone mortgage repayments

The real estate industry across Australia is extremely concerned for the welfare of their tenants who reside in rental properties.

Across Australia there are over three million rental properties housing approximately eight million people.

With the likelihood of some Tatiara residents losing their jobs due to COVID-19, many of them are justified to feel stressed during these uncertain times.

Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) president Adrian Kelly said the industry absolutely understands the stress and anxiety that many may be feeling at this time.

He also mentioned that his own partner, who is a Qantas employee, has been on of many people being stood down from work.

"We have a responsibility and a duty of care to look after the interests of both our tenants and also that of our property owners," Mr Kelly said.

"Under normal circumstances if a tenant can no longer afford to pay their rent, we undertake the process of eviction."

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.

"A larger problem on the horizon is in the case of a property owner who cannot afford to make mortgage repayments because their tenant can't pay their rent," Mr Kelly said.

"We already have property owners, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney, whose tenants are overseas student currently locked out of the country."

He also stated that many tenants across the country live from pay cheque to pay cheque, and this is particularly the case at the lower end of the market.

"With this in mind I am in the process of writing to the larger banks and financial institutions to make them aware of these imminent situations," Mr Kelly said.

"The postponement of mortgage repayments by the banks and financial institutions, for impacted property owners, is a possible solution - this is what I will be asking the banks to do."

Mr Kelly will also look to contact Federal Minister for Housing Michael Sukkar to discuss the current situation.

"The REIA, the state Real Estate Institutes and all our estate agent members stand ready to assist in what ever way we can to help facilitate this process," Mr Kelly said.

With a number of added stresses being caused by the outbreak, Mr Kelly reassured tenants by stating they will be treated with respect during this tough time.

"During this difficult time, which will pass, we will treat you with respect and understanding whilst maintaining the highest quality of safe work practices possible," Mr Kelly said.

"In return we ask that you also treat our employees in the same manner.

"We need tenants residing in our rental properties as you are an integral part of our industry and indeed, of the Australian economy."