Eviction moratorium for NSW renters and $1,500 grants for landlords
NSW renters will be offered protection from being evicted if they can't pay their rent due to the current lockdown, while landlords can access up to $1,500 in grants.
Announced as part of the NSW government's COVID-19 economic support package, the 60-day eviction moratorium means renters whose income is impacted by lockdown can't be asked to move out.
At the same time, landlords who negotiate rental discounts with income-affected tenants are eligible to access up to $1,500 in one-off grant funding.
Shannyn Laird, Head of Customer Experience at property management agency :Different, said it's positive to see the government move with a solution.
"We've had numerous tenants reach out to us, stressed about how they will pay their rent due to lockdown, so this news will provide much-needed comfort," Laird said.
"In saying this, we've already seen parties come to the table early to negotiate and agree on a way forward… we're seeing renters and owners moving faster and [being] more transparent and reasonable with their asks, both in what owners can grant renters and what renters are asking for from their property owner."
What does the rental moratorium mean for renters?
Renters who lose more than 25% of their income over the next 2 months will be able to access a 60-day eviction moratorium for their rental arrears.
Some people mistakenly believe that a rental eviction moratorium means they can stop paying rent for a period of time, but that's not the case – it just means they can't be evicted for not paying rent.
Fair Trading and the Tenants' Union of NSW recommend that impacted tenants contact their landlord or property manager to discuss options around rental reductions, discounts or delayed payments.
When does it come into effect?
The new rule is effective immediately and runs until September 11. Throughout this period, tenants who can't pay their rent in full due to loss of income due to lockdown can't be evicted.
Who is eligible?
Any person listed on a rental agreement who has suffered a minimum 25% reduction in income due to COVID-19 is eligible for protection against being evicted.
As well as giving peace of mind to renters that they won't suddenly find themselves homeless, the main goal of the moratorium is to "help reduce community movement and the potential spread of the virus during this phase of the pandemic", confirmed Fair Trading.
What about landlords?
Any residential landlord who agrees to reduce rent for COVID-19 impacted tenants is eligible for a grant of up to $1,500 per tenancy or land tax reductions, depending on their circumstances.
The land tax relief will be equal to the value of rent reductions provided by landlords to financially distressed tenants, valued at up to 100% of the 2021 land tax year liability.
All up, the NSW government has earmarked up to $210m to help landlords and tenants manage through this period.
How can landlords access the grant or land tax discount?
As these announcements have just been made, the legislation to underpin the moratorium and application processes have not yet been finalised. More details will be made available by Fair Trading as soon as possible.
In the meantime, "we will be mandating that there will be no lockouts or evictions during this period of time," said NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.