‘You need to pay your rent’ during pandemic
A LISMORE property owner losing $4000 after her tenant refused to pay rent for two months just before the COVID-19 pandemic peaked has prompted NSW Fair Trading to spell out the rules around the issue.
Kyogle's Maire Barron said her tenant was a Centrelink recipient but had stopped paying rent at the end of February.
They then used coronavirus as an excuse not to pay.
Ms Barron said her real estate agent had sent the tenant an eviction notice after their rent payment was two weeks late.
The agent applied for a New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal on April 2, but due to COVID-19 the tribunal wouldn't go ahead until May 28.
The tenant had since moved out, but Ms Barron said the prolonged tribunal date meant the tenant could have legally been living there rent-free until the end of June, as the tenant would have received another eviction notice after the tribunal.
In response, a NSW Fair Trading spokesman said all tenants who are not impacted by COVID-19 must honour their existing tenancy agreements, including paying all rent and charges in full, otherwise landlords can take action under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.
On April 13, the NSW Government announced its temporary rental support measures for residential tenants and landlords facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
The package includes an interim 60-day stop on landlords seeking to evict tenants due to rental arrears as a result of COVID-19, together with a longer six month restrictions on rental arrears evictions for those financially disadvantaged by COVID-19.
"The moratorium on evictions only applies to NSW tenants whose household income has decreased by 25 per cent because of loss of income or employment, illness or caring for a household member with illness as a result of COVID-19," the NSW Fair Trading spokesman said.
"A lease agreement is a legally binding document. If the tenant fails to adhere to the agreement, such as failing to pay rent or damaging the property, the landlord may take action under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010."
Information for tenants, landlords and agents regarding agreements under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 is available on the NSW Fair Trading website at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting.
For more on the NSW Government's six month moratorium on residential tenancy evictions during COVID-19 visit https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/resolving-rental-problems/_nocache