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ASIC urged to rein in agents as tenants told to use super for rent

The corporate regulator has been urged to caution landlords and property managers against encouraging tenants to dip into their superannuation to cover rent.

Shadow assistant treasurer Stephen Jones wrote to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission this week raising concerns about “unqualified financial advice” being given by real estate agents to tenants who are struggling to pay.

Tensions over unpaid rent are rising, with some property managers suggesting tenants chip in with their superannuation.

Tensions over unpaid rent are rising, with some property managers suggesting tenants chip in with their superannuation. Credit:Jim Rice

In the letter to ASIC commissioner James Shipton, seen by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Mr Jones pointed to media reports of real estate agents advising tenants to use the federal government’s early superannuation access measures to keep up with their rent payments.

The scheme, which starts this month, allows people suffering financial hardship due to the coronavirus outbreak to withdraw up to $20,000 from their super if they’ve lost 20 per cent or more of their work. It has been criticised by super funds and Labor, which have described dipping into retirement funds as a “last resort” for the million Australians expected to lose their jobs by December.

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