The COVID eviction Moratorium Period which began in April 2020 is coming to an end on 26 March. However a six-month Transition Period will follow. During the Transition Period there will be limited protections against eviction for tenants with COVID-induced arrears.
The Transition Period is good news for impacted tenants – allowing them time to deal with arrears built up so far during the crisis. However the Tenants' Union (along with over 40 other community organisations) is concerned these protections aren't adequate - see our joint Open Letter from earlier this month, especially without the Government committing to any additional financial supports for households experiencing hardship through this period.
Protections during the Moratorium Period – 15 April 2020 to 26 March 2021
During the Moratorium Period from 15 April 2020 to 26 March 2021, the COVID-19 tenancy protections restricted the ability of the landlord to evict impacted tenants for rent arrears. If you are a COVID-19 'impacted tenant' , your landlord may not be able to evict you even if you are in rent arrears or other charges unless the landlord is able to demonstrate:
- they have participated in 'good faith' in the formal rent negotiation process overseen by NSW Fair Trading; and
- it is fair and reasonable in the circumstances to evict you.
These protections and the Moratorium Period ends on 26 March 2021.
However, these rules continue to apply to notices of termination, or NCAT proceedings which arose on or before 26 March 2021.
Protections from 27 March 2021
Restrictions on evictions for arrears from Moratorium Period: From 27 March 2021, COVID-19 ‘impacted tenants’ who have arrears of rent or charges which accrued during the Moratorium Period (15 April 2020 to 26 March 2021), will be provided protection against eviction relating to these arrears during the six-month Transition Period.
The protections provide that landlords will only be able to terminate tenancies of ‘impacted tenants’ if the termination is ‘fair and reasonable’ in the circumstances, and:
- landlords have participated in good faith formal negotiations to enter a repayment plan for arrears, or
- tenants have failed to comply with a repayment plan for arrears.
No blacklisting of impacted tenants for arrears: Landlords will be prohibited from listing information on a database for an impacted tenant who is in breach solely from non-payment of rent or charges.
Protection against 'no grounds' eviction for impacted tenants: Landlords will also generally not be able to use 'no grounds' provisions (use of section 85) to end periodic tenancies for impacted tenants who have accrued arrears during the Moratorium Period. Landlords will have to demonstrate it is fair and reasonable in the circumstances.
More information and advice
For more information, see our Renters' Guide to COVID-19, which we are keeping up to date to reflect the latest rules.
We have also published a new short resource, COVID-19 and renting, after 26 March 2021, available in both pdf and online formats.
To get advice call your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy service, or the Tenants' Union Advice Line. The Tenant's Union has increased the hours of our Advice Line to provide more help for renters impacted by COVID-19. The Advice Line now operates 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm, Monday-Friday. You can call the Advice Line on 1800 251 101.