Residential tenancy support package

The Residential tenancy support package applied to eligible COVID-19 impacted tenants and landlords.

The support package included:

  • a freeze on evictions until 11 November 2021, and
  • financial assistance for landlords and tenants when rent was reduced.

Applications for financial assistance closed on 31 December 2021

A transitional period is now in place for eligible COVID-19 impacted tenants to protect them from eviction for arrears that accrued during the moratorium period (14 July - 11 November 2021).

Protection from evictions – transitional period

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:

  • the landlord and tenant have agreed to an arrears repayment plan and:
    • 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

  • the landlord and tenant have not agreed to a repayment plan and:
    • 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 NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (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.

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 was 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. it could 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.

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.