Residential tenancy changes due to COVID-19

The NSW Government has introduced tenancy law changes that apply to both landlords and tenants as a result of COVID-19. Part 6A was inserted into the Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 on 15 April 2020 and Part 13 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 commenced on 14 May 2010. 

For detailed information about the changes and how they affect you visit the NSW Fair Trading website or call 13 32 20. 

In summary until the end of the moratorium period, 15 October 2020, landlords are prohibited from giving a termination notice to or applying to NCAT for termination orders due to rental arrears where tenants are financially impacted by COVID-19. Unless:

  • the termination notice is given or the application is made at least 60 days after the 15 April 2020; and
  • the landlord has participated in good faith in a formal rent negotiation process;
  • and it is fair and reasonable in the circumstances of the case for the landlord to give the termination notice or apply for the order.
A household is impacted by COVID-19 if:

1 or more rent paying members of the household have:

  • Lost employment due to COVID-19;
  • Had a reduction in work hours or income due to COVID-19; or
  • Had to stop working or materially reduce their work hours because of their or another member of the household’s illness with COVID 19, or their carer’s responsibility for a family member ill with COVID-19
And as a result of that the weekly household income has been reduced by at least 25%.

If you are a tenant who is unable to negotiate a rent reduction with your landlord, you can apply to NCAT under the new s228C of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 to terminate the tenancy agreement. You should download and complete the Tenancy application form [PDF 201kB].

If you are either the landlord or the tenant and you are making an urgent application you should download the application form and lodge your application by post or email to NCAT or in person at Service NSW rather than lodging it online.

The Financial statement (COVID-19) [Word 72kB] can be used to demonstrate the financial position of either party by listing the income and expenses of the landlord or the household of the impacted tenant.

The COVID-19 tenancy changes do not apply to social housing tenancy agreements. The other provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 still apply including section 93 hardship to landlord and section 104 hardship to tenant.