In light of the recent lockdown of Greater Sydney, the NSW and Commonwealth Government have announced temporary relief packages for retail, commercial and residential tenants.
The Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation 2021 was introduced on 13 July 2021.
Between now and 20 August 2021, if an ‘impacted lessee’ (see below) breaches the lease by:
- failing to pay rent or outgoings; or
- failing to be open for the specified business hours;
then enforcement action may not be taken by the landlord without first referring the matter to mediation. If mediation fails to resolve the issue, the landlord may take action.
An ‘impacted lessee’ is defined as a tenant who:
- Qualifies for any of the following grants:
- Micro-business COVID-19 Support Grant;
- COVID-19 NSW Business Grant; or
- Job Saver Grant; and
- had a turnover less than $50 million in the 2020–2021 financial year.
To prove that a tenant is an ‘impacted lessee’, the tenant must give a statement and provide evidence that this is the case.
The Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency Response) Amendment Regulation 2021 provides for substantial rent reductions and eviction protection for certain residential tenants.
From now until 11 September 2021, a residential tenant is entitled to a reduction of their rent if they are an ‘impacted tenant’. An ‘impacted tenant’ is a rent paying member of the household who:
- lost employment or income as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- had a reduction in work hours or income as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; or
- had to stop working, or materially reduce the member’s work hours, because of:
- the member’s illness with COVID-19;
- another member of the household’s illness with COVID-19; or
- the member’s carer responsibilities for a family member ill with COVID-19; and
the weekly household income for the household has been reduced by at least 25% compared to the average of the weekly household income for the 4 weeks immediately preceding 26 June 2021.
A residential tenant must provide notice to the landlord that they are an impacted tenant.
If you have a question about eligibility, have been evicted from your property or wish to negotiate a rental reduction with your landlord or agent, call us for advice or if you have any questions on 135 355.
Image Credit - G-Stock Studio © Shutterstock.com