Am I a COVID-19 'impacted tenant'?
A COVID-19 'impacted tenant' is defined as a tenant in a household (meaning any tenants or other persons living together in the same residential premises) which has had a reduction or loss of work and/or income because of the pandemic AND as a result, the weekly household income has been reduced by 25%.
Your renting household needs to be able to demonstrate any 1 or more rent paying members of the household have:
- lost employment or income as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, or 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 the member’s work hours, because of – the member’s illness with COVID-19, or another member of the household’s illness with COVID-19, or the member’s carer responsibilities for a family member ill with COVID-19
And as a result of the above factors
- the weekly household income for the household has been reduced by at least 25% compared to the weekly household income for the household before the occurrence of any of the matters
The 25% reduction in household income is assessed on income after tax, and is assessed on total household income - not just any one individual in the household. This includes any government assistance, such as the new job keeper payments. The ‘household’ is understood to be everyone living in the home contributing to rent, not just those listed on the tenancy agreement.
See also 'Eligibility' in Six month moratorium on residential tenancy evictions during COVID-19 (NSW Fair Trading website).
What if I am NOT an 'impacted tenant'?
If you do not qualify as a COVID-19 'impacted tenant' – for example your household income is reduced by 20% – you may still enter into negotiation with the landlord and access the NSW Fair Trading Dispute Resolution process. NSW Fair Trading will consider an application for assistance by a tenant whose income has reduced by less than 25%. Each case will be assessed on its merits and will require the tenant to provide evidence of any additional hardship.
While you will not receive the same protection against eviction, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal still has discretion about whether to proceed with rent arrears evictions. Each case will be assessed on its merits and will require the tenant to provide evidence of any additional hardship.