I am still receiving a lot of enquiries around Residential Tenancy Agreements and where Landlords and Tenants sit under the new COVID-19 (COVID) legislation.
Neither Landlords nor Tenants are to blame for COVID. The State Government have introduced a range of measures:-
- Tenants in financial distress due to COVID cannot be evicted if they can’t meet their rent or be listed on a database for rental arrears;
- Fixed-term agreements expiring during COVID will be extended to the 30th September 2020 unless the Tenant asks for a shorter-term;
- Cap break lease fees are available for eligible tenants where the household income is reduced by 75% and they have less than $5,000 in savings;
- Owners obligations for routine repairs are relaxed but there is still an obligation to ensure Tenant safety;
- Tenants may refuse physical inspections especially where the Tenant is a vulnerable person but Tenants must agree to virtual inspections if no physical inspections can take place;
- Tenants and Landlords are encouraged to work together but if an agreement can’t be reached then they are required to undertake a conciliation conference to resolve issues regarding rent disputes, which conciliation agreement then forms part of the Tenancy Agreement.
As always, you should seek independent legal advice to understand your legal rights and obligations under any Tenancy Agreement.