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COVID-19 – Rent Moratorium + Financial Support



For a period of six months from 15 April 2020, the NSW Government has introduced an interim moratorium on evictions of tenants by landlords who are looking to evict due to rental arrears. Conversely, in support of landlords, the NSW Government is offering some financial relief as outlined in new legislation.

The COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 contains the interim laws which apply for six months from 29 March 2020. Combined with the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, landlords and tenants are obliged to comply with and work within new parameters designed to brace the rental market during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residential Landlords – Financial Support Package

The NSW Government has devised financial support for eligible residential landlords who are experiencing financial hardship.

A Land Tax concession is part of the NSW Government’s financial support package. A Land Tax waiver or a rebate of up to 25% of land tax (Jan – Dec 2020 year) is available to eligible landlords and if these savings are then passed on to those tenants experiencing financial hardship of at least 25% income loss.

If you would like YML Group to manage the Land Tax reduction application process for you, please do the following:

Click on the link below to engage us and provide us with your bank account details: https://app.hellosign.com/s/16cLMkVc

Last month, the NSW Upper House proposed an amendment that would see landlords receive up to $2500 per tenancy. This funding would be required to be passed on to tenants as rent reductions.

To be eligible for the $2500 funding, a landlord would need to provide evidence that a tenant has lost at least 25% of their income, has no more than $5000 in savings and pays at least 30% of their income towards rent.

Moratorium on Evictions

Landlords are temporarily banned from terminating a lease or applying for eviction orders due to rental arrears if their tenants are struggling financially to pay rent for reasons relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The moratorium is for 60 days from 15 April 2020, during which time a landlord is required to negotiate – in good faith – a rent relief agreement with a tenant. If, after 60 days, a tenant is still unable to meet his/her rent obligation, then a landlord may choose to issue a termination notice or seek an eviction order from the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Rent Negotiations in Good Faith

A moratorium on evictions allows time for tenants to receive any government financial support they may be entitled to receive, as well as helping to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus by enabling tenants to remain in place. Therefore, NSW Fair Trading has increased funding to facilitate mediation between landlords and tenants, where needed, at no cost to either party.

A rent relief agreement between a landlord and a tenant may be made upon a tenant first providing evidence of a loss of at least 25% of their income due to COVID-19 factors, such as a job termination or reduced hours of work.

Rent Relief Agreement

A rent relief agreement should be made in writing and signed by both the landlord and the tenant. Any temporary agreement made between a landlord and a tenant may consider:
  • Any current rent arrears
  • A reduction in rent, OR
  • A waiver of rent,
  • A repayment plan, as agreed.
Landlords also experiencing financial hardship with mortgage repayments should negotiate with their mortgage lenders for a reduction or a waiver of their repayments, thus better enabling landlords to provide rent relief for their tenants.

Tenancy Terminations

If, or when, the time comes that a landlord finds that themselves in a position to seek termination of a lease, there are numerous reasons to do so. These can be seen on a flowchart provided by NSW Fair Trading

To view the various types of tenancy termination, go to:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/818802/Flowchart-for-landlords-termination-of-tenancy-options.pdf

Next Steps

It is important to obtain accurate information about the COVID-19 rental property changes in relation to your individual mortgage and rental property circumstances. We at YML Group – at the forefront of the latest related news and regulations – can help assess your mortgages and put you in an optimum financial position during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How can YML help?

Talk to our team today to see how YML Group can assist you. Contact us on (02) 8383 4400 or by visiting the Contact Us page on our website.

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