In the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown in Sydney, many businesses and shops were forced to close causing many Australians to have their jobs impacted, losing income and face financial difficulty. With the announcement of a further 4 weeks of lockdown ending late August, many tenants are facing the prospect of being unable to pay rent.
With the announcement of NEW TEMPORARY MEASURES, both tenants and landlords will receive much needed support from the NSW government. The measures provide hope for all residential tenancies by protecting financially impacted tenants from eviction, while providing assistance to landlords who re-negotiate rent with the tenants.
Tenants – Moratorium on evictions for rental arrears
For the period of 14 July to 11 September 2021, the NSW government has re-introduced the moratorium on eviction and all tenants who are unable to meet their rental payments due the effects of the Covid lockdown cannot be evicted.
To be eligible for the protection, the tenant must fulfil the following criteria:
- Rent paying household members are affected by Covid-19 by loss of employment, work hours or income or had to stop working because they were ill with Covid; and
- Reduction of 25% or more (inclusive of any government assistance) in the household’s take home weekly income compared to the 4 weeks prior to 26 June 2021; and
- Continue to pay at least 25% of the rent payable.
However, this protection only covers rent payments, therefore the tenant can still be evicted for other lawful reasons.
Landlords – BRAND NEW Grant for renegotiation of rent
To encourage Landlords to negotiate with the Tenants, the government is offering a brand new subsidy grant of $1,500 for landlords who offer rent reductions. The grant covers either the rent reduction passed onto the tenant, or the cap of $1,500, whichever is lower.
However, a landlord can claim either the grant or the Covid-19 land tax benefit, but not both.
What can I do if I am affected by Covid-19?
The first thing to do is to reach out to your landlord or agent to negotiate regarding the rental agreement, either for a waiver or reduction of rent, as well as any repayment schedule.
You must also keep all evidence that you meet the eligibility requirements of suffering a financial impact due to COVID-19.
Lastly, it is important to put any variations to the rental agreement in writing!!!
At Sun Lawyers, we can assist you with any negotiations regarding your rental agreement with the other party, as well as putting any variations in writing to prevent future disputes.
In this difficult time, it is important for both parties to be understanding and negotiate in good faith to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. If you believe that you are a Covid-19 impacted tenant or landlord, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time at 02 9267 4988 or Vincent.firstname.lastname@example.org regarding your residential tenancy.