NSW Government to announce $440 million coronavirus rental assistance with moratorium on forced evictions

NSW Government to announce $440 million coronavirus rental assistance with a moratorium on forced evictions 

·The NSW State Government is allocating $220 million to residential renters and landlords

·A further $220 million will go towards shops, gyms, hairdressers and businesses affected by COVID-19

·A two-month moratorium is in place on forced evictions for those suffering financial hardship due to coronavirus

Half of that money has been allocated to residential renters — a group that had not yet received financial support during the pandemic.

The package is targeted at keeping people in rentals over the next six months.

The Government has ordered a six-month moratorium on new forced evictions if the tenant is in rental arrears because they are suffering financial hardship due to coronavirus.

It applies to tenants who have lost 25 per cent or more of their income.

Under the scheme, a landlord or managing agent must enter into negotiations with a tenant who is struggling to make rental payments.

We know many people are worried about meeting their financial commitments at the moment," Better Regulation Minister Kevin Anderson said.

"That is why we need more stability for tenants and landlords."

The Minister said that as a sign these new measures were not optional, an interim 60-day moratorium would be in place for new applications to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for forced evictions over COVID-19-related rent arrears.

Tenants will be protected from eviction until the tribunal is satisfied that negotiations have been finalised.

But they will have to repay the rent eventually, as anything unpaid will accrue as arrears during this period.

The Government aims to provide relief to landlords too, by waiving land tax or providing a rebate of up to 25 per cent if they are accommodating tenants under financial stress.

Landlords that have already filed to evict their tenants will have to wait 60 days for their applications to be processed.

When the 60-day moratorium has come to an end, landlords will be able to recover their properties if they are in financial hardship, while tenants will not get a black mark against their names.

The Government is allocating $220 million to this support package while another $220 million will go towards commercial rent.

It applies to businesses such as shops, cafes, gyms, hairdressers, restaurants and offices that are affected by coronavirus restrictions.

The Government said landlords were eligible for a land tax concession of up to 25 per cent for the rest of this calendar year.

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

These new arrangements act on the code of conduct agreed to by the National Cabinet earlier this month.

Under the code, a "good faith" leasing principle is applied between landlords and tenants that are eligible for the Commonwealth JobKeeper program.

It applies to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that have at least a 30 per cent reduction in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This provides a way forward for tenants and landlords so they can reach an agreement during this difficult period and includes an incentive in the form of a land tax reduction," NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said.

"I thank the many landlords who are already supporting their tenants through this period and the banks for showing flexibility with deferring loan repayments.

"We are all in this together and need to work together."

Don’t forget to upload all relevant forms and applications to the RealRenta platform to form part of the tenancy file.

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Jason Gwerder
Tuesday, 14 April 2020

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