Increased protections for renters needed as moratorium on evictions ends in NSW

A coalition of 40 tenants’ advocacy groups and NGOs led by the Tenants Union of NSW are calling for greater protections for renters. 

On Friday 26 March the moratorium on evictions ended in NSW, with the JobKeeper subsidy also expiring two days later,

“What we're particularly worried about is the rate of debt that people are accruing,” CEO of the Tenants’ Union of NSW Leo Patterson Ross told SBS News.

From 27 March, COVID ‘impacted’ tenants who have arrears of rent or charges which accrued during the Moratorium Period (15 April 2020 to 26 March 2021), will be provided protection against eviction relating to these arrears during a  six-month Transition Period.

The transition period protections provide that landlords will only be able to terminate tenancies of ‘impacted tenants’ if the termination is ‘fair and reasonable’ in the circumstances, and:

  • landlords have participated in good faith formal negotiations to enter a repayment plan for arrears, or
  • tenants have failed to comply with a repayment plan for arrears.

For further info see Tenants Union COVID-19 renters’ guide: https://www.tenants.org.au/covid19/guide.

Open letter

On 5 March, 40 tenants’ advocacy groups and NGOs including Redfern Legal Centre signed an open letter to government welcoming the transition measures, but raising concerns about the prospect of a new wave of evictions and homelessness on the horizon.

The open letter calls for an extension on key NSW moratorium protections through the transition period and additional financial support to assist COVID impacted renting households.

The letter urges the NSW government to:

  • Extend the eviction restrictions and rent reduction provisions for impacted tenants
  • Provide additional financial supports via for example, No Interest Loan Schemes for tenants struggling with rent or targeted COVID rent relief payments
  • Provide additional funding for services supporting tenants

Read more at tenants.org.au

Download the open letter below