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Last Wednesday it was announced a temporary ban on evictions and rent increases for six months and offered land tax relief for landlords who offered rent reductions. With most states only offering cash to landlords (Victoria is offering $420 million in land tax relief for them), the Education State is also offering $80 million in relief payments for renters.


The $440 million NSW package aims to keep everyone in place for the next six months. There's a six-month moratorium on new forced evictions, if the tenant is in rental arrears because they've lost 25 per cent or more of their income due to coronavirus.

Unlike the suggestions for renters to proactively approach landlords if they're in trouble, the scheme insists that landlords or the managing agent must begin negotiations with a tenant who is struggling to make rental payments.

In a sign of the seriousness of the measures, there's a 60-day stop on new applications to force evictions over rent arrears. At the end of that time, landlords can recover their property — if they're in financial hardship — and tenants won't get a 'black mark' against their name.


The Sunshine State's new provisions haven't been made into law yet, but will be backdated to March 29, like other jurisdictions. There's an eviction ban for six months, as well as no rent increases in that time.

Forced negotiation between parties is already part of Queensland law, and essentially means there can be no arbitrary evictions. The package offered tax relief for landlords, if they're paying land tax.

Alone among the states, Queensland has offered a $500-per-week rental relief payment to bridge the four-week gap until expanded Centrelink payments will begin.


The Apple Isle went out hard in late March,passing the nation's first laws shielding renters from eviction if they lost their income due to coronavirus.

Tasmanian Parliament has also passed new legislation that would ban inspections, maintenance and evictions for non-payment of rent during the crisis, except in emergencies. The laws also have provisions for either party to end a lease if they are experiencing severe hardship.


Our national capital has measures that link financial relief to landlords that reduce rents for tenants.

If landlords agree to lower rents by at least 25 per cent, they can get tax relief. Additionally, households that have experienced a 25 per cent drop in income can defer rates for 12 months.

Emergency legislation passed last week has cemented some of the changes, such as a ban on evictions for being unable to pay until at least June 30. Others can be made by the Attorney-General without the need to recall Parliament.

Tenants' Union ACT spokesperson Deb Pippen said the initial response was promising, but lacked detail.

"The potential is there, but we just don't know what's going to happen. Tenants are still being given rent increases. Just something that says 'No rental increases in this period of time' would be a start. We don't want people trying to make money out of this situation," she said.


If you can't pay the rent, you won't be evicted in South Australia. Measures passed into law also prevent landlords from increasing rent, and let tenants use video services like FaceTime or video or time-stamped photos to replace routine inspections.

Not-for-profit organisation SYC, which helps people on low incomes who rent, welcomed the changes.

"SYC is pleased that the SA Government is moving towards these sensible and timely changes," chief executive Paul Edginton said in a statement. A sign of the crisis has been a 700 per cent surge in visits to the organisation's website since the the pandemic began.

"The huge spike in enquiries to our service clearly shows that some of our most vulnerable residential tenants are very concerned about their housing outlook, particularly those who have been so severely impacted by recent business closures and job losses," he said.


West seems best for renters so far, with the state to introduce a six-month stop on evictions and rent increases, allowing the extending of fixed-term leases and letting tenants end their tenancy early.

Premier Mark McGowan said on Tuesdayit was important landlords and tenants negotiated in good faith towards a "shared beneficial outcome".

The Premier has said he was prepared to amend the laws, which aren't yet passed, if renters who haven't seen their income affected by coronavirus stop paying rent.


Darwin Community Legal Service's Ms Spence has concerns about the slow pace of the response in the Territory. The Government has said it is working on measures to create "fairer terms" for new leases and longer negotiating periods between tenants and landlords.

"But we don't know what this will look like, we don't know if they are going to consider measures similar to those of other states … these comments give us no reassurance," she said.

"We have implored that they consider measures which reflect the Prime Minister's announcement of a moratorium on evictions and other tenant protections similar to Western Australia's."

Contact jason@realrenta.com if you need assistance with varying rental payments on your rental ledger.

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Jason Gwerder
Wednesday, 22 April 2020

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