COVID-19 Legislation – Information for Landlords

The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 was released on 24 April 2020 and contains temporary amendments to the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 to support sustainable tenancies in the residential rental sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to help you navigate the new legislation, we have compiled the following FAQ’s:

When is tenancy defined as Covid-19 affected tenancy ?
If the tenant suffers significant financial hardship due to one of the following :
– the person, or another person under the person’s care, suffers from COVID-19
– the person is subject to a quarantine direction
– the person’s place of employment is closed, or the trade or business conducted by the person’s employer is restricted
– the person is self-isolating because the person is a vulnerable person, lives with a vulnerable person or is the primary carer for a vulnerable person
– a restriction on travel prevents the person working or returning home
– the COVID-19 emergency prevents the person leaving or returning to Australia
and
– suffers a loss of income of 25% or more; or
– the rent payable by the person is 30% or more of the person’s income.

If there is more than 1 tenant or resident
– there has been a 25% or more reduction in the combined total income of all of the tenants or residents; or
– the rent payable under the agreement is 30% or more of the combined total income of all of the tenants or residents.
If the above doesn’t apply the tenancy is treated like a normal tenancy

What are the details of the eviction moratorium?
If Tenant qualifies to be Covid -19 affected as per above points this new agreement prevents us from ending their tenancy agreement. Relevant period relating to this act started as of 29 March and will end on the 29th September or on the last day of the Covid-19 emergency period ( whichever one happens earlier)

What if a fixed term lease ends prior to 29th September?
If the tenant is suffering excessive hardship because of the COVID-19 emergency, we must, before the term of the agreement ends, offer the tenant an extension of the term to 30 September 2020 or an earlier date requested by the tenant.

What new system / procedures came out of this act?
When a tenant fails to pay rent we are able to issue a Show Cause notice 7 days after their rent was due. If no response is received from the tenant ( eg communication regarding their financial hardship due to Covid 19 ) and their rent remains unpaid we are able to give the tenant a notice to remedy breach under section 280 of the Act for the unpaid rent . If the tenant doesn’t pay rent within 14 days of receiving the Show Case notice or can proof that they suffer financial hardship due to Covid 19, we may request that the tenant enter into a tenancy variation agreement with us. This will allow us to negotiate payment terms for fixed period eg a payment plan or decrease of rent.

Can we still conduct usual inspections, repairs etc?
Yes, all relevant inspections and routine maintenance ( including smoke alarms) can be conducted as normal if agreed upon by the tenant. We also offer the option of conducting virtual inspections or/an video conferencing when possible.

 

Please see below some useful links for further information:

Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020

Facebook Live video with Antonia Mercorella, CEO of The REIQ

Podcast where REIQ speak about this bill

If we can be of any assistance to you, please get in touch with us. We are here to help you!
Email: rentals@pboutique.com.au
Phone: 07 5593 8749