Landlords not planning any rent freeze as coronavirus recession looms

A landlord's advocacy group says there are no plans to reduce or freeze rent payments despite predictions the coronavirus pandemic will decimate the economy.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) CEO Bindi Norwell told Newshub despite the crisis it's "business as usual".

"We have not had any feedback via property managers that landlords are considering rental reductions or rent freezes, as rental property owners still have to keep paying their mortgages," Norwell said on Wednesday.

"However, property managers are obviously trying to remain respectful of any potential COVID-19 effects when following up any rental arrears."

Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP) coordinator Ricardo Menéndez says landlords have a responsibility to ensure people do not end up on the streets if the COVID-19 pandemic affects their income.

"[Landlords] should not be complicit in contributing to the hardship of a global pandemic," he told Newshub.

"It is imperative to ensure people are not put at risk."

Menéndez says AAAP would support a rental freeze and an eviction ban in both the public and private sectors, but the Government needs to step in and enforce it.

"We would call on landlords to ban evictions and we would like the Government to intervene."

The coronavirus pandemic is predicted to have a severe impact on New Zealand's economy.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said on Tuesday it would likely be worse than the 2008 global financial crisis.

Norwell says she hopes the Government's multi-billion-dollar support package announced on Tuesday will partially support tenants in the trying times ahead.

The Government's COVID-19 economic support package covers wage support, boosts to the healthcare system, and beneficiaries.

Norwell says the decision is not final as the pandemic is an evolving situation.

"We expect to gain some further insight over the coming weeks as the effects of COVID-19 become more apparent and as we hear more from our members."