Covid-19 Update: Rent Relief measures announced

16 April 2020

This week the NSW Government announced an interim 60-day stop on landlords seeking to evict tenants due to rental arrears as a result of COVID-19, together with longer six month restrictions on rental arrears evictions for those financially disadvantaged by COVID-19. If you are a landlord or tenant looking to understand what these means for you, please take a read below or save this link for reference later.

 

There has been a lot of confusion on the Tenancy front as a result of a disconnect between the actual specifics and applications of the temporary rental support measures and relief packages that were announced by both State and Federal Governments this week. How they were reported by the media as well as the political messaging that has accompanied these announcements created a chaos of interpretation by many. To clear the air around these measures and to explain how will they affect you if you are a tenant or landlord facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 we have highlighted the following points.

1. Land tax concessions up to 25%

Whilst this sounds appealing on paper, the reality is that only a small percentage of Landlords – approx less than 20% of residential landlords – actually pay Land Tax as it is only applicable to those who own multiple properties and are above the tax free threshold (the commercial tenancy sector will gain the greatest benefit from this). Therefore, most landlords (approx. 80%) will not qualify for this support measure, and consequently will be unable to pass on this opportunity for a saving to tenants.

2. Six-month moratorium on evictions of tenants impacted by COVID-19

Where tenants are financially disadvantaged by COVID-19 and meet the eligibility requirements stipulated, there is a temporary 60 day stop on landlords issuing termination notices or applying for NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal) eviction orders due to rental arrears. However, there are considerations that will negate the 6 month moratorium in cases where there have been no requests for landlord assistance, non-payment of rent or non-disclosure of evidence of hardship.

For a more detailed outline on the new measures for residential tenancy agreements during COVID-19, including official information on the rental assistance package, eligibility, letter templates and advice on how to navigate through this time, click here for the Fair Trading NSW website.

It is critical that any tenant facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 reaches out and makes a respectful approach to their Property Manager to discuss their situation. We are here to help, and the more information and assistance you provide us with, the better served we are to discuss your current needs and situation with your landlord. Most of our landlords have been willing to assist in a variety of ways where they can, but others are sometimes in a more precarious position than their tenants, so it really is a case of understanding both sides of this very challenging situation. We request that respect for each other is paramount.

To discuss your situation further, please call us on 02 9949 7077, or call or email your Property Manager directly.