Agent says tenants and landlords need more help

Security for residential tenants impacted by COVID-19 has been boosted by an increase in the NSW Government’s Residential Tenancy Support Package and extension of the eviction moratorium.

The support package has been increased up to $4,500 per tenancy and the eviction moratorium has been extended until November 11.

Selling principal for Ray White Woy Woy and Daleys Point, Simon Eyre, said although clients have been grateful for any assistance, the payments are not enough to ‘relieve the intense pressure’ some families are under – both tenants and landlords.

“In regards to the COVID assistance, we received our first $1,500 payments for two out of the four affected tenants on Friday,” Eyre said.

“It has taken that long since [the start of the] lockdown started to get any relief for both tenants & landlords.

“The [Government] have since announced another two lots of $1,500 in assistance; the last payment you have to wait to September 24 to apply.

“The idea behind it is great, however it’s taken way too long to roll out and it’s capped at certain amounts which, at the moment, isn’t enough!”

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson, said the new payments would incentivise landlords to offer rent reductions to tenants who are doing it tough and the extension of the eviction moratorium would provide welcome peace of mind for tenants.

“The Residential Tenancy Support Package will now provide payments of up to $4,500 per tenancy as long as landlords reduce rent for their tenants by at least that much and have not claimed land tax relief,” Anderson said.

“This is a further $1,500 increase and comes as part of our commitment to supporting people who have taken a hit due to COVID-19.

“During times like this it is crucial that we all dig deep and do what we can to help each other out, so I am strongly encouraging landlords to work out a rent reduction for their tenants and then make the most of this rebate.”

Anderson said the extension to the eviction moratorium would give tenants who had experienced a downturn in their income due to COVID-19 one less thing to worry about while they were getting back on their feet.

“Following the moratorium, for the period November 12, 2021, to February 12, 2022, transitional measures will apply and will limit when terminations can occur for rental debt accrued during the moratorium,” he said.

If you have agreed to a repayment plan, a landlord will only be able to terminate your tenancy for this debt if you have failed to make two or consecutive repayments and it is fair and reasonable in the circumstances.

If you have not been able to agree on a repayment plan, a landlord will be able to terminate your tenancy for this debt if the landlord has tried, in good faith, to negotiate a repayment plan through Fair Trading, and it is fair and reasonable in the circumstances.

Landlords also have the option to apply for the COVID-19 land tax benefit instead of applying for the Residential Tenancy Support Payment, which is an offset of the land tax liability equal to the rent reduction granted.

Tenants and landlords are encouraged to enter negotiations in good faith but if you are unable to resolve the issue privately, you can contact Fair Trading who will act as a mediator.

Maisy Rae and Sue Murray