Stop on evictions and financial supports for impacted renters
The Tenants’ Union of NSW welcomes this afternoon’s announcement from the Federal and NSW Governments recognising the need to support renting households who might be struggling as a result of the lockdown.
The NSW Government announced the implementation of a 60 day stop on evictions for 'impacted renters', that is renters who have lost significant income (25%) and have fallen into arrears. They also strongly encouraged landlords to provide rent relief to impacted renters by reducing rent or waiving arrears, providing:
- land tax relief for landlords who provide rent relief for renters
- $1500 payment for landlords not eligible for land tax relief, where this is passed through as rent relief for renters.
Additional funding is also being provided to increase the temporary accommodation available for people experiencing homelessness.
The Federal Government with the NSW Government committed to further financial supports, announcing changes to the COVID-19 Disaster Payment, including:
- an increase to the Disaster Relief Payment from $325 to $375 for people who have lost up to 20 hours of work, and from $500 to $600 for people who have lost more than 20 hours work due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney.
- no application of liquid asset means test.
- the relief payments will be a recurring weekly payment, and once eligibility is assessed through Services Australia they will be provided automatically for the duration of the lockdown.
The financial support and the incentive for landlords to reduce rent will make a difference, and we welcome the 60 days stop on evictions.
"The stop on evictions for impacted renters gives those struggling with rent as a result of the lockdown greater certainty about their living situation and their ability to stay home. We are concerned, however, about renters who might otherwise already be facing eviction - those facing eviction for 'no grounds' including end of fixed terms, or for other reasons. This is a bad time for people forced to move to be trying to find a new home, and undoes the strong government messaging to stay home” said Leo Patterson Ross, Chief Executive Officer of the Tenants’ Union.
"We are also worried about what happens after the 60 day stop, even if the lockdown has lifted. We know from experience that the impact of lost income on households is often prolonged and felt over the longer term. Impacted households will need time and support to get back on their feet."
The detail on each of these measures announced is crucial. We will be looking closely at the specifics.
Our guide to COVID-19 will be updated to reflect these announcements as soon as possible: https://www.tenants.org.au/covid19/guide