Residential tenancy support package

The Residential tenancy support package applies to eligible COVID-19 impacted tenants and landlords. It includes a freeze on evictions and assistance for landlords who reduce rent.

Claim tracker - residential tenancy support payments

From 10 August to 26 November 2021:

  • 19,623 applications received
  • 17,980 applications approved ($44.47 million)
  • 1,199 applications declined
  • 444 applications in progress
  • $35.78 million paid to applicants with a further $1.63 million to be paid on 3 December 2021.

This data was last updated on 26 November 2021.

Financial support for COVID-19 impacted tenants and landlords


The residential tenancy support payment assists COVID-19 impacted tenants and their landlords to maintain tenancies and reduce financial hardship.

The residential tenancy support payment now provides up to $4,500 per tenancy agreement. Landlords who have already claimed up to $1,500 or $3,000 can make a further claim for reduced rent up to a total of $4,500.

The amount for each tenancy is capped at $4,500.

Landlords cannot ask tenants to repay the reduced amount of rent that has been paid to them under the residential tenancy support payment or land tax benefit.

Who can claim?


Applications for the Residential Tenancy Support Payment can be lodged by an eligible tenant, landlord or managing agent where the tenant is a COVID-19 impacted tenant.

A landlord can make a claim for either this payment or the COVID-19 land tax benefit (which is an offset of the land tax liability equal to the rent reduction granted), but not both. Landlords can make separate claims for each premises they own.

From 11 November 2021, COVID-19 impacted tenants whose weekly household income reduced by 25% or more since 14 July 2021 can apply for up to $4,500. This is only available if the landlord or agent has not already applied for the maximum amount available.

Opening applications up to tenants as well as their landlords helps clear rental arrears and will help to avoid disputes and recovery action for rent during the moratorium transitional period.

Important: tenants or operators of boarding houses, properties used for short term rental accommodation, public housing or sub-tenant arrangements are not eligible to apply.

Eligible COVID-19 impacted tenants

To be eligible, a tenant needs to demonstrate that they are a member of a household impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A “household” means any tenants or other people living together in the same residential premises.

A household is impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic if:

  1. any 1 or more rent-paying members of the household*:
    • lost employment or income, or have had a reduction in work hours or income, as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, or
    • had to stop working (or materially reduce their work hours) because they or other members of the household were/are ill with COVID-19, and
  2. show that the household’s weekly income** has reduced by 25% or more (including any government assistance received) compared to the weekly income received in the 4 weeks prior to 26 June 2021.

*A “rent-paying member” of a household is any person who regularly contributes towards the rent payable under a residential tenancy agreement. This includes a member of a household who regularly contributes to the rent but is not named on the rental agreement (e.g. an adult child who contributes to the rental payments of their parent/s).

**household’s weekly income is the net income earned (after tax and/or business-related expenses). It includes any government assistance that is received – either before and/or since COVID-19 support payments were introduced by the NSW and Commonwealth Governments. Savings and superannuation are not included in weekly income.

Before you apply

Tenants wanting to make an application from 11 November 2021 will need to:

  • arrange for all tenants listed on the tenancy agreement to sign the application for the residential tenancy support payment, and
  • get the consent of their landlord and/or agent to provide their personal and rent account details.

Important: Claims can only be paid into a managing agent’s trust account or a landlord’s rent account (not the tenant’s personal account).

Eligibility for support payment:

An applicant is eligible for this payment where:

  • there is a residential tenancy agreement with a tenant/landlord. As proof, you will need a rental bond number and/or a written tenancy agreement
  • the tenant is an eligible COVID-19 impacted tenant,
  • the applicant agrees to be bound by the terms and conditions for the payment and
  • the property that is the subject of the application is the tenant’s principal place of residence

Types of premises that are not eligible:

  • residential premises that are being used for commercial purposes, such as short-term rental accommodation or as a serviced apartment
  • residential premises that are being used as a boarding house or other shared accommodation arrangement.

What tenants should do if they meet the eligibility criteria

1. Contact your agent or landlord to discuss options 

Contact your landlord or agent to discuss the application for the Residential Tenancy Support Payment.

Remember, you will need to pay at least 25% of your rent to remain eligible for the eviction protections unless you and the landlord have agreed in writing to a lesser rent payment.

If you have arrears that occurred before this date, you can still negotiate a repayment plan, but landlords cannot claim a rebate for rent waived that was payable before 14 July.

If you have attempted to negotiate a variation in your rent without success, you can make an application for assistance from 11 November 2021. If your landlord or agent does not provide their consent to share their details (as outlined in '3. Provide consent to share your details' below), Fair Trading can also help.  To request help from Fair Trading, please lodge a property enquiry through the Fair Trading website and:

  1. Complete an Application for rent negotiation form
  2. Attach it to your property enquiry

Do not provide any personal financial documentation with your enquiry. If necessary, this can be provided by you directly to your landlord or agent during negotiations.

2. Provide evidence

You will need to provide evidence to show your agent or landlord that you meet the eligibility requirements of a COVID-19 impacted tenant.

Evidence may include:

  • payslips or bank statements showing reduced income
  • documentation from an employer showing job termination/stand-down or reduced hours
  • evidence of a business closure or business records showing loss of takings
  • Centrelink confirmation of eligibility for financial assistance
  • medical certificates.

3. Provide consent to share your details

  • To make an application, personal details of the tenant, landlord and/or agent are required together with details of the account rent is usually paid into. Privacy laws require parties to provide their consent before these details are shared.
  • To arrange this consent, please request the other parties to the tenancy agreement complete the Consent to provide my details online form.

What landlords and agents should do

1. Negotiate with your tenants

Landlords and agents are encouraged to negotiate in good faith. To confirm a tenant is an eligible COVID-19 impacted tenant you can request reasonable evidence such as:

  • payslips or bank statements showing reduced income
  • documentation from an employer showing job termination/stand-down or reduced hours
  • evidence of a business closure or business records showing loss of takings
  • Centrelink confirmation of eligibility for financial assistance
  • medical certificates.

You can consider a range of variations to the agreement including:

  • waiving rent for a period of time
  • reducing rent now and repaying this later in addition to usual rent payments
  • repayment of existing arrears over a period of time
  • a combination of these.

Note: Only rent waived from 14 July 2021 is eligible to be claimed as a payment.

COVID-19 impacted tenants must pay 25% of the usual rent to remain eligible for the eviction protections, unless you and the tenant agree to a lesser rent payment.

Important:

If you apply for the payment for reduced rent, you need to provide written consent from each tenant to provide their personal information to the NSW Department of Customer Service.

Complete the Consent to provide my details form and make sure it is signed by each tenant.

2. Apply for financial assistance

An online application for financial assistance is now available.

Only the landlord or their managing agent can claim the payment, which is paid direct to the landlord’s account or agent’s trust account as nominated by the applicant.

You will be asked to provide:

  • proof of the residential tenancy arrangement, including the rental bond number or, if no bond has been lodged, a copy of the residential tenancy agreement.

If you don’t have either, you can still apply. We will contact you to discuss your application and ask you to provide other proof that a tenancy agreement exists.

Payments made to managing agents are treated as any other rent payment and will be subject to the usual fees applied under the managing agency agreement.

In most instances, the payment will be received in a short period of time where the details of the tenancy agreement can be verified against rental bond data.  Other circumstances will take longer.

What you need to apply

Tenants making an application will need:

  • a rental bond lodgement number*
  • to retain reasonable evidence** to show your loss of income due to COVID-19
  • to arrange for the landlord and/or managing agent to give their consent to provide us with their personal details. This includes bank account details as all payments must be made into the landlord’s account or agent’s trust account. This must be attached to your application

Landlords or Agents making an application will need:

  • a rental bond number*
  • reasonable evidence** from the tenant to show their loss of income due to COVID-19
  • contact details for all parties to the tenancy agreement
  • to arrange for the tenant to give their consent to provide us with their personal details. This must be attached to your application
  • details of the account where rent is usually received. For agents, this will be the rental trust account

*If no bond is lodged, a copy of the residential tenancy agreement. Or if there is no written agreement, evidence such as rent receipts and proof the tenant resides at the property such as a utilities bill.

If you don’t have either, you can still apply. We will contact you to discuss your application and ask you to provide other proof that a tenancy agreement exists.

**Reasonable evidence includes payslips, notice of termination, reduction in hours, medical certificates.

Payment Information


All claims must be paid directly to the landlord’s account or agent’s trust account. The bank account details must be nominated by the landlord or their managing agent in the consent form.

Tenants who nominate their own bank account details for the payment will be in breach of the terms and conditions for the payment which may result in recovery action by Revenue NSW.

Payments made to managing agents are treated as any other rent payment and will be subject to the usual fees applied under the managing agency agreement.

In most instances, the payment will be received in a short period of time where the details of the tenancy agreement can be verified against rental bond data.  Other circumstances will take longer.

The total amount that can be claimed for each tenancy is capped at $4,500.

Freeze on Evictions - what happens after 11 November 2021?


Eligible COVID-19 impacted tenants who could not meet their residential rent payments were protected from eviction during the moratorium period from 14 July 2021 until the end of 11 November 2021.

The protection against eviction for rental arrears applied to all residential tenancy agreements within the meaning of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (the Act), including verbal agreements.

Following the end of the freeze on evictions, a transitional period will run from 12 November 2021 until the end of 12 February 2022.

During this time, COVID-19 impacted tenants who accrued arrears during the moratorium period (14 July 2021 – 11 November 2021) are exempt from provisions that would allow them to be evicted for those arrears unless:

  • if the landlord and tenant have agreed to an arrears repayment plan:
    • the tenant fails to make repayments in the amounts and at the times required by the plan on two or more consecutive occasions, and
    • it is otherwise fair and reasonable in the circumstances for the tenant not to be exempt.

OR

  • if the landlord and tenant have not agreed to a repayment plan:
    • the landlord and tenant have participated in good faith in a formal arrears repayment negotiation process with NSW Fair Trading, and
    • it is otherwise fair and reasonable in the circumstances for the tenant not to be exempt.


In considering whether it is fair and reasonable in the circumstances for the tenant not to be evicted, the Tribunal must consider:

  • the steps taken by the landlord and tenant to negotiate a repayment plan
  • any payments made by the impacted tenant towards the arrears
  • the nature of any financial hardship experienced by the landlord or tenant, including the general financial position of each party
  • the availability and affordability of reasonable alternative accommodation for the tenant
  • whether the landlord has applied for or received any financial assistance or land tax rebates available to landlords who reduce rent, and
  • any special vulnerability of the tenant.


Exclusions


The freeze on evictions does not apply to social housing tenancies as these have their own processes for dealing with arrears.

Information in community languages

A range of frequently asked questions is available in Arabic, Assyrian, Chinese simplified, Korean and Vietnamese.

An English version of these frequently asked questions is also available.