The NSW today announced new measures to support tenants and landlords after the Residential Tenancies Act is repealed. Source: Breno Assis from Unsplash.
  • The Residential Tenancies Act designed to protect tenants will end on March 26
  • The State Government is now introducing new legislation to continue support for landlords and tenants
  • REINSW is calling on the Government to provide clarity into these plans before the deadline

As we loom closer towards 26 March – the deadline when the Residential Tenancies Act will be repealed – the NSW State Government announced today that it will support rental repayment plans that enable landlords to recoup COVID-induced arrears, while keeping tenants in their properties.

Introduced in April 2020, the Act was an emergency (and temporary) piece of legislation designed to support tenants and landlords negatively impacted by the pandemic.

“With the economy rebounding and the unemployment rate stabilising, the time is right to transition back to normal tenancy laws,” Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson said.

“That’s why I will introduce legislation in the next fortnight to start a six-month transition from 27 March, when the eviction moratorium and requirement for tenants and landlords to renegotiate rental payments will expire.”

However, REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said it is unclear what this support entails, highlighting the limited support that has been provided for landlords to date.

“At face value, this appears to be an appropriate attempt to respond to the improving economic picture and resilient employment market. But, as ever, the devil will be in the detail,” Mr McKibbin said.

The REINSW is eagerly awaiting the fine print of the revised scheme, including new information on notice periods, repayment plan guidelines, and other specific details in order for tenants, landlords, and property managers to ensure they’re being compliant.

“The issue this announcement intends to solve is unclear. Tenants who are seeking assistance range from people who have sought a small reduction in rent, which the landlord has absorbed, to those who have no means to pay their rent whatsoever, leaving the landlord completely out of pocket,” Mr McKibbin explained.

“The Residential Tenancies Act already contains hardship provisions. It is unclear as to how any new legislation introduced by the NSW Government will solve problems that the existing provisions are unable to deal with.

“Ideally, any new legislation will pave the way for tenants to feel secure while ensuring landlords receive the income to which they are entitled, and which they depend upon.

“But we all need clarity on the fine detail urgently because the current arrangement ends in a few weeks, and Government intervention can create a bureaucratic burden on tenants and landlords,” Mr McKibbin concluded.

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