Announcement of NSW Government COVID-19 Legislation

Author: Let's Rent Team, August 11, 2021

The NSW government announced new legislation in relation to Covid affected tenants and landlords yesterday. The following includes a summary of the changes.

Moratorium on evictions for Covid affected households

A new short-term moratorium on evictions is now in place. Tenants who cannot pay their rent in full because they are impacted by the recent COVID-19 outbreak cannot be evicted between 14 July and 11 September 2021.

To be eligible for the moratorium the tenant must:

  • Provide evidence to confirm their employment (work hours or income) is disrupted due to COVID-19 or they have had to stop working because a member of the household was ill with COVID-19.
  • Provide evidence to show the Household weekly income including any government assistance has been reduced by at least 25%. This is calculated by reference to the four-week average income to 26 June 2021
  • Pay at least 25% of the rent payable.

The NSW Government encourages landlords and tenants to negotiate an agreement in the event the tenant is impacted by COVID-19, as above. To ensure that the landlord can claim financial compensation NSW Fair trading recommend the agreement be documented using their template.

What are the options for Landlords?

Fair Trading suggests you consider the following agreements with COVID-impacted tenant.

  • Waive rent for a period of time
  • Agree tenant can pay a reduced rent for a period of time
  • Agree tenant can pay a reduced rent for a period of time and agree on a repayment plan for all unpaid rent.

Please note, that there is no requirement for landlords to enter into rent relief negotiations.

Financial support for landlords

The ‘Residential Tenancy Support Payment’ has been set up to provide financial compensation for landlords who have documented an agreement for rent relief for their COVID-affected tenants from 14 July 2021.

Landlords will be able to claim up to $1500 per tenancy or the reduction that was agreed with the tenant, whichever is lower.

More detail is available on the NSW Fairtrading website.

As always, I will do my best to answer any questions you may have. I am in close contact with the REI who are assisting with explanations and clarifications with Fair Trading.

Take care, stay safe and mask up!

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