Wagga tenants' advocates fearing a spike in homelessness are calling on the NSW government to extend its moratorium on evictions.
The coronavirus-led eviction rules expire on October 16, a fortnight after the reduction of the federal government's JobSeeker and JobKeeper welfare payments
The VERTO South West Tenants' Advice Service has already seen a 17 per cent increase from 2019 in renters from Wagga seeking help since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.
VERTO chief executive officer Ron Maxwell said he was concerned some of Wagga's most vulnerable residents could lose their homes.
"The decrease in JobSeeker and JobKeeper is certainly going to have an effect. And we've got the two events occurring at the same time," he said.
Mr Maxwell said Wagga's competitive rental market had a vacancy rate of just 1 per cent in August.
"If people are finding themselves out of accommodation it's very, very difficult for them to get into another suitable accommodation because there's just nothing available," he said.
"It's a real concern which is why we're calling for an extension of the arrangements that the government put in place."
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The NSW government in April introduced a six-month moratorium on evictions for tenant households which lost at least 25 per cent of their income during the pandemic, along with a number of other measures designed to to support renters.
Tenants who are in financial hardship because of COVID-19 have been accruing any unpaid rent as arrears.
Landlords can apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to evict tenants if they can prove they have attempted to negotiate a rental reduction "in good faith" with affected tenants
VERTO's plea follows a report released by the Tenants' Union of NSW which found "many renters" were forced to leave their homes at the height of the coronavirus crisis between April and June.
The 'Supporting Renters Through the Pandemic' report recorded a 60 per cent increase in the number of people seeking advice from tenants' services across the state.
"That's a really significant increase. But the worrying thing is ... the enquiries for advice on 'no grounds evictions' are up by 33 per cent," Mr Maxwell said.
In many of these cases tenants reported that prior to receiving their eviction notice they had reached out to their landlord and requested a rent reduction, the report said.
Mr Maxwell said most Wagga landlords were very cooperative but there were some who "weren't playing by the rules" in attempting to negotiate with their tenants.
"What we've also had is people that have never dealt with us before [seeking help]. We've had about 200 people [since February] in the Wagga region contact us who have never dealt with us before," he said.
"I look at the numbers coming into our call centre and those numbers have been staying up since February. But it's not just Wagga, it's across the board."