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In light of the recent heightened COVID-19 case numbers throughout NSW, new temporary measures have been put in place to support both tenants and landlords who are financially impacted as a result of COVID-19.
Specifically, these measures have been introduced to prevent financially impacted residential tenants from being evicted and to assist landlords who agree to renegotiate rent.
The latest information related to these residential tenancy support packages is found on the NSW Fair Trading website, while a summary is as follows.
60 Day Freeze On Evictions For Eligible Tenants
Eligible COVID-impacted residential tenants (see definition below) who cannot meet their rent payments will be protected from eviction during the moratorium period commencing from 14 July and finishing at the end of 11 September 2021.
A landlord or agent may continue to seek a termination in other circumstances including:
What Are "Eligible COVID-19 Impacted Tenants"?
To be eligible for the protection against eviction, a tenant needs to:
The 60 day protection against eviction for rental arrears applies to all tenancy agreements, including informal, unwritten agreements.
What Happens After The Eviction Freeze Ends?
After September 11 2021, if the tenant is behind in paying the rent due under the agreement, the landlord will be able to take termination action in accordance with the usual termination provisions in the Residential Tenancies Act. For this reason, the tenant should continue to pay as much rent as they are able to afford.
Landlords and tenants are encouraged to work together and negotiate rent reductions if a tenant is COVID-19 impacted and is unable to pay the full rent. A rent reduction agreement will vary the rent payable under the tenancy agreement, and if a tenant then pays the reduced rent they will not accrue arrears.
The landlord will be able to claim a rebate up to $1,500 for some or all of the reduced rent (more information on this below).
Can A Tenant Be Terminated For Reasons Other Than Rental Arrears During This Freeze?
The 60 day freeze on evictions does not apply to terminations for reasons other than rental arrears.
What Financial Support Is Available For Landlords In NSW?
The Residential Tenancy Support Payment provides up to $1,500 per tenancy agreement. This grant will be available for landlords who agree to reduce the rent for COVID-19 impacted tenants from 14 July 2021. The rent reduction agreement can run longer than the 60-day moratorium period (i.e. beyond September 11) if the tenant and landlord agree.
The amount for each landlord will be capped at the reduction that is passed onto the tenants, or $1,500, whichever is the lower.
Landlords cannot ask tenants to repay the reduced amount of rent that has been paid to them under the Residential Tenancy Support Payment.
There are also a range of other financial supports available. See nsw.gov.au for further information.
How Can A Landlord Apply for Financial Assistance?
A landlord can claim either the Residential Tenancy Support Payment or the COVID-19 land tax benefit (which is an offset of the land tax liability equal to the rent reduction granted), but not both.
For the purpose of a payment, Fair Trading will need to be satisfied there is a residential tenancy agreement in place such as a lodged rental bond and/or a written agreement.
As at the time of writing, Fair Trading have advised that an online process is being set up to allow landlords or agents to claim the assistance which is paid direct to the landlord or their managing agent. The system will take a couple of weeks to be available. Fair Trading will update agents and landlords as soon as it is available and this information will also be available on the NSW Fair Trading website.
Further information and updates regarding the updated measures for landlords and tenants during COVID-19 may be found on the NSW Fair Trading website.
We provide expert property management in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. Based in Charlestown NSW, we have been delighting property investors with our personal, professional service since 2011. If you found this article helpful or enjoyable, please subscribe or share it with someone else who may benefit.
Carnelian Property Management Newcastle NSW
We are a family-owned and run Charlestown real estate agent offering expert property management across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.