On Monday 13 April 2020, the NSW Government announced a funding boost and new emergency measures to protect tenancies.
Land tax waivers
In a further bid to encourage agreements on rent reductions, the Government has also allocated $440 million for land tax waivers or rebates for business and residential landlords. Landlords will be eligible for a waiver or rebate of up to 25% if they pass the benefit on to tenants who are facing financial hardship through a rent reduction or waiver.
Commercial landlords must pass on the relief to business tenants with a turnover of less than $50 million, and who have demonstrated a 30% loss of revenue as a result of COVID-19. This includes any business who is eligible for the JobKeeper payment.
If you are seeking a rent review for a commercial tenancy, we have created a template letter here that may assist you with negotiations. Remember to insert your details and edit appropriately before sending.
6-month moratorium for forced residential tenancy evictions
Residential tenants and landlords who are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 will be assisted with a 6-month moratorium for forced evictions, and new requirements that negotiations for rent adjustments are made in good faith.
The new obligations mean that households who are unable to pay rent due to loss of income of 25% or more must enter negotiations with the landlord or agent before they are forced to end the tenancy. Tenants are protected from eviction until NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) is satisfied that negotiation attempts were made.
If parties are unwilling or unable to reach an agreement and a tenant is facing eviction, NSW Fair Trading is offering a dispute resolution service to assist parties negotiate. NCAT is also available to make orders if a resolution cannot be reached under the current circumstances.
If you are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, you are permitted to negotiate with your landlord about paying a reduced amount of rent, or a waiver or deferral of rent, for a short period of time. However, to the extent it is possible, landlords and tenants should continue to honour existing tenancy agreements.
Please contact a member of the Cheney Suthers team if you require further advice relating to a tenancy agreement.