Help on hand for stressed tenants and landlords

In a bid to increase security for tenants and financial support for landlords amid the current lockdown, the NSW Government has extended its Residential Tenancy Support Package.

The package applies to eligible COVID-19 impacted tenants and consists of a 60-day freeze on evictions and assistance for landlords who reduce rent.

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson, said the package will now be paid for a second month and eligible landlords can now apply for up to $3,000 to cover the two months from July 14, 2021, assuming they have reduced rent for their tenant by at least that much.

“The NSW Government is ensuring both residential tenants and landlords have ongoing support by extending financial assistance for private landlords who pass on rent relief,” Anderson said.

“It is vital we help keep a roof over the heads of those who may be suffering financial hardship at this difficult time.”

Anderson said landlords who have already applied can make an additional application and those who are yet to apply will be able to make one application for the total amount of rent waived up to $1,500 a month.

Principal of Ray White Umina Beach, John Ienna, said his agency had not seen many tenancies affected by the lockdown.

“COVID-effected tenants are minimal at this stage [and the] $1500 support is adequate thus far,” Ienna said.

“Tenants seem to be coping so measures seem sufficient.

“I have one commercial landlord who does not pay land tax who has COVID-effected tenants.

“She has waived rent but can’t get any assistance back from the government.

“She has slipped through the net.”

However, Anderson said landlords will now have the option to apply for the COVID-19 land tax benefit instead of applying for the support payment, which is an offset of the land tax liability equal to the rent reduction granted.

Eligible COVID-19 impacted residential tenants who cannot meet their residential rent payments will be protected from eviction during the moratorium period commencing from July 14 and finishing at the end of September 11, 2021.

To be eligible for the new measures, a tenant needs to show that rent paying members of the household are impacted by COVID-19 and have: lost employment, work hours or income due to COVID restrictions, or had to stop working because they or other members of their household were ill with COVID-19.

Tenants must also be able to show that the households take home weekly income has reduced by 25% or more compacred to the weekly income received in the four weeks prior to June 26, 2021 and continue to pay at least 25% of the rent payable.

More information is available on the support package by visiting the NSW Fair Trading website.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, has also offered his assistance in accessing the support package.

“Tenants and landlords on the Central Coast are encouraged to access this financial support which is available now through the NSW Fair Trading website, or contact me directly for assistance,” Crouch said.

“I personally want to ensure that no one slips through the cracks during this incredibly difficult time.”

Maisy Rae