Arrears and repayment plans
Generally, if rent, water usage charges and/or utility charges under a tenancy agreement remain unpaid for 14 days or more, landlords can issue a non-payment termination notice to tenants.
The eviction moratorium period (the Moratorium Period) between 15 April 2020 and 26 March 2021, protected COVID-19 ‘impacted tenants’ from eviction for failure to pay rent. The Moratorium Period ended on 26 March 2021.
New protections are now available for impacted tenants who had accrued arrears over this Moratorium Period. These new protections will come into effect for 6 months from 27 March 2021 to 26 September 2021.
From 27 March 2021, ‘impacted tenants’ who have arrears of rent of charges (‘arrears’) which accumulated during the Moratorium Period, will be given a six-month transition period in which to pay rent arrears and charges. Only arrears accrued during the Moratorium Period by an ‘impacted tenant’, may be subject to a repayment plan under the new laws. Arrears accrued after 26 March 2021, will not be covered by the new laws concerning repayment plans. For guidance on arrears accrued after 26 March 2021, please see Factsheet 5: Rent arrears.
A Repayment Plan is defined as: a plan to pay back the arrears that specifies the amounts to be paid and the times at which the payments are due.
I have a repayment plan
Your landlord is prevented from serving you with a notice of termination or making a NSW Civil and Administrative (NCAT) application against you if you are an ‘impacted tenant’ and you have agreed to a ‘repayment plan’ with your landlord/agent AND you have complied with the terms of the plan. The landlord cannot take you to the Tribunal unless you have failed to pay 2 consecutive payments under the agreement.
If you are an ‘impacted tenant’ and you have failed to comply with the repayment plan for 2 consecutive payments by the deadlines specified in the plan then the Tribunal may terminate the tenancy, if it is ‘fair and reasonable’ in the circumstances. See COVID-19 Guide: Eviction
Tenants should keep written records of any repayment plans, proof of the repayments made and request updated rent ledgers.
I do not have a repayment plan
If you are an 'impacted tenant' and have accrued arrears of rent or charge during the Moratorium Period and do not have a repayment plan then the landlord must not take action to terminate the tenancy unless:
- the termination is fair and reasonable in the circumstances AND
- the landlord has participated in good faith in a ‘formal arrears repayment negotiation process’ (facilitated by NSW Fair Trading). (See COVID-19 Guide: Negotiating a Repayment Plan)
I am not sure if I have a ‘repayment plan’
Tenants may have negotiated a verbal repayment plan with their landlord, or feel like they were pressured into an unfair agreement.
If you are unsure of whether you have a valid repayment plan under the new laws you should contact your local Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service.