Tenancy & Landlord Information

On 13 April 2020, the NSW Government announced a $440 million tax relief package spilt between the commercial and residential sector to support tenants and landlords affected by Government-enforced COVID19 restrictions.

The measures will apply to commercial leases where the tenant is in financial distress due to COVID-19, including but not limited to shops, cafes, gyms, hairdressers, restaurants, offices, warehouses and industrial sites.

The land tax relief is expected to be divided approximately 50-50 with around $220 million going to the commercial sector and a further $220 million expected to benefit the residential sector.  

Commercial landlords will be offered the land tax concession if they pass the savings on to tenants through a rent reduction. 

The land tax relief is expected to be divided approximately 50-50 with around $220 million going to the commercial sector and a further $220 million expected to benefit the residential sector.  

Commercial landlords will be offered the land tax concession if they pass the savings on to tenants through a rent reduction. 

Eligible landlords will be able to apply for a land tax concession of up to 25 per cent of their 2020 (calendar year) land tax liability on relevant properties. A further land tax deferral for any outstanding amounts for a three-month period will also be offered to landlords who claim the land tax concession.

The Government will give effect to the Code of Conduct, which will operate for a temporary period during the pandemic, and include the following key measures:

  • Landlords must negotiate rent relief agreements with tenants in financial distress due to COVID-19 by applying the leasing principles in the Code

  • A ban on the termination of a lease for non-payment of rent;

  • A freeze in rent increases.

 

To facilitate these changes, and deliver increased mediation and advisory services to commercial parties, the NSW Small Business Commission will be bolstered with extra staff and an injection of $10 million from the $1 billion Working for NSW Fund.

Frequently asked Questions

Can a landlord evict someone during this crisis?

 

The Prime Minister announced that the States and Territories have agreed to a six-month moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent to be applied across commercial and residential tenancies impacted by severe rental distress due to coronavirus. 
 
Right now, they can proceed with the same legal processes as usual. However, they must still follow the procedures laid out in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. A renter cannot be evicted without an order from the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), and only the Sheriff can physically remove you. If you have received a notice of termination, Tenants Union are recommending individuals wait for NSW to implement measures before moving home.
 
In the case of commercial rents for buildings owned by state governments, the states are being asked to waive, reduce or defer rents for small businesses.
 
What relief is available to landlords who are adversely affected:
 
The NSW Government has relief available for eligible landlords under the $440 million land tax relief package. Eligible landlords will be able to receive a waiving of land tax or be provided with a rebate of up to 25 per cent if they are accommodating tenants under financial stress.
 
The majority of banks are also offering relief to landlords who do not evict residential or commercial tenants who can't pay rent because of COVID-19. According to The Australian Banking Association, 98 per cent of businesses who have a loan with an Australian bank will now be covered by the six-month deferral of loan repayments. Some banks are also now offering customers the option to defer home loan repayments for up to six months.
 
What if an individual is already in arrears:
 
Tenants can attempt to negotiate with their landlord – if they are already in arrears, it's better to be proactive.
 
Can my landlord continue with inspections, including open homes?
 
The NSW government has banned open house inspections where premises are up for sale or lease. Landlords and agents can still show a single party the premises after they have made an appointment with the tenant(s) for individuals.However, they must take the following measures to protect tenants:

  • asking every person intending to attend an inspection if they have returned to Australia from overseas in the past 14 days and also if they are currently experiencing fever, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath (the current main symptoms associated with Covid-19). If the answer is yes, then the landlord or agent should tell the person that they cannot enter the house until they have self-isolated for 14 days or they have had a Covid-19 test that has come back negative for the virus

  • provide masks to make sure people are attending and who may be infected but are showing no symptoms can't unknowingly transmit the virus through air droplets

  • providing sanitiser/hand wash for people to use when attending an inspection and making sure they and the agent use it

  • ensure no one touches anything

 
I have lost income, what can I do?
 
Until the NSW Government introduces measures to implement the announced moratorium individuals can attempt to negotiate with your landlord about paying a reduced or no rent for a short period. You cannot be evicted from your home for rent arrears without an order from the Tribunal, and only the Sheriff can physically evict you from your home.

I am supposed to be at Tribunal, should I still go? What will happen to my case?
 
NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal has now announced changes to their procedures on their website. You can apply to have a phone hearing. Ensure you inform the Tribunal if you are in a higher risk category, for example, if you are immune suppressed or a carer for elderly relatives, so they can consider this when assessing and prioritising your request. While you can do a phone hearing on a mobile, in general landlines are preferred because of the reliability of the line.
 
I'm in public or community housing. Will my rent go up due to increasing social support payments?
 
Renters in public and community housing have expressed concern that their rent may increase because pensioner and other income support payments are being raised. There are two payments, the Economic Support payments of $750 and Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight. These two payments are not assessable for calculating rents in public and community housing. So, your rent should not increase.
 
Can real estate agents conduct auctions in a private setting with just the buyers? 
 
No. As of midnight Wednesday, 25 March 2020, the Australian Government stated that all in-room and on-site real estate auctions must not continue.
 

 

Office address: 2/12 Elgin Street, Maitland NSW 2320 | Mail: PO Box 920, Maitland NSW 2320

Phone: 02 4933 1617 | Fax: 02 4933 4782 | Email: maitland@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Authorised by Jay Suvaal, Country Labor Party, 9/377 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW 2000

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