Break fees – news and analysis

Report on the situation for NSW renters during COVID-19 demonstrates struggle ongoing, potentially getting worse

Picture: Report cover - Family in masks in house, covid virus graphic surrounds house
Tenants' Union of NSW Report released today demonstrates the struggle many NSW renters continue to face as a result of COVID-19. The report 'Supporting Renters During the Pandemic' provides evidence of the continued need for support for renting households across NSW during the pandemic and demonstrates the need for an extension and strengthening of moratorium protections.
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Renters' Guide to COVID-19

Renters' Guide to COVID-19
The Renters' Guide to COVID-19 covers common questions about renting in New South Wales during the Coronavirus pandemic. The Tenants' Union of NSW is working hard to keep this Guide up to date.
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We need to talk about the landlord

Graphic of a family in a house, wearing masks, virus outside
We don’t only need to talk about the relationship between tenants and landlords – we also need to talk about the landlords themselves. A key flaw exposed through the response to COVID‑19 is the profile of those who act as landlords in Australia. They are heavily indebted. They are mostly without training or expertise. As a result, they were scared and desperate and clinging firmly to the one power dynamic they felt they had control over. The need for a more compassionate response to tenants was as apparent to everyone as were the barriers.
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No grounds for limiting reform under COVID-19

Graphic of a family in a house, wearing masks, virus outside
Jemima Mowbray looks at the problems renters have faced during COVID‑19, and shows that they are not new or necessarily distinct from the ongoing issues renting households were already facing. The COVID‑19 health crisis has highlighted and exacerbated existing inequalities and problems experienced by renters – most acutely, the problems of housing insecurity and the lack of affordable rental housing.
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Responding to tenancy issues under COVID‑19

Graphic of people in a house, wearing masks, virus outside
The Tenants' Union is attempting to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on tenants, within the limitations we have. In NSW we are already hearing from tenants that landlords have been ignoring requests to negotiate rent reductions from COVID impacted tenants, or delaying responses. They have been offering rent deferrals rather than the reductions as required under the protection framework, and in many cases are deciding for themselves that tenants who meet the definition of ‘impacted tenants’ are not eligible. Too many landlords have not been negotiating in good faith as required under the law, and too many landlords have been using harassment to pursue rental arrears while refusing to participate in rent negotiations with COVID‑19 impacted tenants. Eviction notices have been served to tenants for rental arrears, in spite of the evictions moratorium. No grounds eviction notices are being served to tenants, and landlords are using COVID‑19 as a reason to defer repairs and maintenance.
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COVID-19 factsheet in 7 community languages

Covid-19 community language factsheet
The Tenants' Union has published a basic factsheet in 7 community languages summarising renters rights under COVID-19 regulations. The factsheet has information on paying rent, evictions, the rules on access to rented properties for getting repairs done, inspections for sale of premises, and other issues that renters are facing.
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60 day stop on COVID-19 evictions ends, restrictions on evictions continue

Covid19 graphic
From 14 June the initial 60 day stop on evictions for rent arrears where the household is in financial hardship due to COVID-19 ended. However, there are still restrictions on the eviction of impacted tenants for rent arrears. After 14 June, the landlord may only give a termination notice or apply to the Tribunal if the landlord has participated in the NSW Fair Trading formal rent negotiations process in good faith and only if it is fair and reasonable in the circumstances of the case. Only the Tribunal can determine if the eviction order should be made.
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Rent Reduction Calculator

Text reads "COVID-19 RENT REDUCTION CALCULATOR" with doodle images of houses, dollars and virus particles
We are proud to make this calculator available to people in NSW looking at negotiating rents. It's an unfamiliar process for many people, and it can be tricky working out what you can afford to agree to or what offer you should make! This calculator lets you put in a range of information about your rent and income situation and then allows you to check what different scenarios of reduction look like over time.
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Important changes to rental laws – 23 March 2020

Picture reading "Tenancy law changes: new rules for renting in NSW from 23 March..."
Important changes to tenancy law have come into effect as of 23 March 2020. These changes affect anyone renting a property in NSW (including people who rent both home and site in residential land lease communities). We have been working hard to update our factsheets so that you can be sure that this site is accurate and you're reading the most up-to-date information.
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New Tenancy Law Regulations – have your say

Liv
Liv Todhunter, Tenant Advocate
The Residential Tenancies Amendment (Review) Act 2018 passed late last year – containing a number of positive changes, and some shortcomings. Regulations are currently being drafted; we encourage you to have your say via the Fair Trading website (before 2nd August). Liv Todhunter, Tenant Advocate and Team Leader at the Illawarra and South Coast Tenants’ Advice Service spoke to the Illawarra Mercurcy about the changes.
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