Coronavirus: 84,000-strong petition to suspend rent repayments being delivered to Parliament

A petition urging the Government to suspend rent and mortgage repayments during the COVID-19 pandemic will be delivered to Parliament on Thursday.

The petition, which was launched a week before the Government announced it would halt mortgage repayments for six months, has been signed by more than 84,000 people.

It asks that the Government takes seriously the financial pressures the COVID-19 pandemic is placing on renters.

"This is going to have devastating effects on workers and small businesses," the petition reads.

"Many of us just can't afford to pay rent or our mortgage without any income coming in! So let's ask our Government to act in a similar way to Italy, and suspend all rent and mortgage payments while this crisis lasts."

Another petition, calling for the Government to buy unoccupied homes for the homeless and remove all obligations to pay for the costs of temporary emergency housing, will also be delivered to Parliament on Thursday.

That petition had over 10,000 signatures at time of publishing.

The petitions will be accepted by Green Party co-leader and housing spokesperson Marama Davidson. The delivery will be livestreamed on Zoom and Facebook.

Calls for the Government to lower repayment obligations or halt it entirely have picked up markedly in the week since it announced home owners did not have to make mortgage repayments for the next six months.

So far, the only support the Government has offered to renters is a freeze on rental prices for the next six months, leaving some uncertain whether they can afford to keep a roof over their head.