Rent relief extended for landlords and tenants

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The NSW government has extended its rent relief package to allow landlords to reduce the rent for their tenants without losing too much income.

The Residential Tenancy Support package – which allows landlords to apply for compensation for losses due to reducing rents – will now be paid for a second month.

Eligible landlords can now apply for up to $3,000 to cover the two months from 14 July 2021, assuming they have reduced rent for their tenant by at least that much.

“The NSW Government is ensuring both residential tenants and landlords have ongoing support by extending financial assistance for private landlords who pass on rent relief,” Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said.

“Keeping people safe doesn’t just mean reducing the health threats of the virus. It is vital we help keep a roof over the heads of those who may be suffering financial hardship at this difficult time.”

Mr Anderson said landlords who have already applied can make an additional application and those who are yet to apply will be able to make one application for the total amount of rent waived, up to $1,500 a month.

“We have always encouraged landlords and tenants to work together to negotiate on rental agreements and the NSW Government has now made that conversation easier by supporting landlords so they can reduce rent for their tenants,” Mr Anderson said.

“It’s hard enough having to lockdown in your home while we stop the spread of the virus, but this NSW Government support means you can do that without fear of being evicted.”

Landlords will also have the option to apply for the COVID-19 land tax benefit instead of applying for the Residential Tenancy Support Payment, which is an offset of the land tax liability equal to the rent reduction granted.

Eligible COVID-19 impacted residential tenants who cannot meet their residential rent payments will be protected from eviction during the moratorium period commencing from 14 July and finishing at the end of September 11, 2021.

The Tenants Union (Tenants-NSW) website has a comprehensive factsheet which explains all the information required by both renters and landlords.

“If you are an ‘impacted tenant’,” it says, “you can advise your landlord that if they provide you with a rent reduction, then they can claim one of the two types of government payments:

Tenancy Support Payment

Under the Residential Tenancy Support Payment, the amount for each landlord is capped at the rent reduction passed on to you, or $3,000, whichever is the lower.

Landlords can’t ask renters to repay the reduced amount of rent if they have been compensated under the Residential Tenancy Support Payment.

To apply, Tenants-NSW says, landlords or their managing agent will need to provide:

  • proof to show a tenancy agreement exists (the rental bond lodgement number is preferred, or if no bond has been lodged, a copy of the residential tenancy agreement),
  • a copy of the written agreement they have with you to reduce the rent (entered into on or after 14 July 2021),
  • a consent signed by all tenants to share their personal details with NSW Fair Trading, and
  • a nominated account for payment. 

“You will be notified by NSW Fair Trading when they receive an application for this payment by your landlord, and when the payment is approved. You will also be notified when the payment has been made to your landlord,” the factsheet explains. 

Land Tax Benefit

The COVID-19 land tax benefit is available to landowners who have a have a 2021 land tax liability. Eligible landlords who provide a reduction in rent to a COVID-19 impacted tenant between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021, can receive a reduction in land tax payable for the relevant parcel of land.

The amount for each landlord is capped at the rent reduction passed onto you, or 100 per cent of the 2021 land tax attributable to the parcel of land, whichever is the lower. 

“Regardless of which of the above payments your landlord applies for, when you do reach an agreement with your landlord for a rent reduction, it must be in writing, “ says Tenants-NSW. Renters can use this NSW Fair Trading template agreement.

“The rent reduction provided by your landlord can run for longer than the 60-day moratorium period (beyond 11 September 2021), and landlords can choose to waive more than $1,500 in rent,” says the factsheet.

For further guidance on negotiating a rent reduction with your landlord, see the Renters’ Guide to COVID-19 and the NSW Fair Trading website. To talk to someone, contact your local Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service.

For more information on the package, or to apply, landlords should go to Residential tenancy support package | NSW Fair Trading.

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