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Extend eviction moratorium: Tenants’ Union of NSW

By Bianca Dabu
20 August 2021 | 1 minute read
Extend eviction moratorium

While financial support for NSW tenants and landlords will now stretch for another month, the government has reaffirmed that the eviction moratorium is still set to cease on 11 September 2021.

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson recently extended the Residential Tenancy Support package across NSW, stating: “The NSW government is ensuring both residential tenants and landlords have ongoing support by extending financial assistance for private landlords who pass on rent relief.

“Keeping people safe doesn’t just mean reducing the health threats of the virus. It is vital we help keep a roof over the heads of those who may be suffering financial hardship at this difficult time.”

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Under the extended package, eligible landlords — that is, those who have reduced or waived rent for their tenants — can now apply for up to $3,000 to cover the two months from 14 July 2021, as outlined in a government statement dated 16 August 2021.

Since then, the Premier has announced a four-week extension of Greater Sydney’s lockdown, through to 28 September 2021. It is not yet clear whether this support will again be extended.

The Tenants’ Union of NSW has welcomed the announcement of the increase in rent relief support, which they said will help renting households avoid building up debt.

However, they’ve also expressed the concern that financial assistance provides only one element of the protections necessary to ensure tenants are taken care of.

According to the union, “rent relief support, alongside the continuation of the current eviction moratorium, is crucial to ensure households impacted by lockdown can save their tenancies in the longer term”.

The 60-day stop on evictions that is currently in place is set to end on 11 September 2021.

The Tenants’ Union are now asking the government to extend the moratorium to 31 January 2022, in order to give impacted households time to recover.

To support their call for the extension of eviction moratoriums, the Tenants’ Union cited recent research from the United States which found that the expiration of eviction moratoriums in the country did lead to increased COVID-19 incidence and mortality.

“[This] makes clear the necessity of preventing evictions as a public health measure to limit COVID-19 cases and deaths,” they said.

As well as urging an extension of the moratorium, the union has also implored the government to address the limited protection provided by the current eviction moratorium.

“The protection against eviction the current eviction moratorium provides is limited to restrictions on eviction for rent arrears for some renters (‘impacted tenants’). NSW renters — including ‘impacted renters’ — continue to be evicted for a range of other reasons, including no reason at all or no-grounds evictions,” according to the Tenants’ Union.

“If the NSW government wants to protect against evictions in NSW through lockdown, we need to strengthen the eviction moratorium.”

On top of the extension and revision of the eviction moratorium, the Tenants’ Union of NSW recommended the following to further strengthen the protections for tenants amid lockdown:

  • Strengthening current restrictions around access to occupied residential rental premises in the public health orders to make clear that routine property inspections and access for valuers is not considered essential during lockdown.
  • Access to $750 per week income support for all adult residents in lockdown areas who do not have employment or who have lost income during lockdown.
  • A broad-based “cost of living” payment or voucher for use against energy or other utility bills for all households impacted by lockdown.
Extend eviction moratorium: Tenants’ Union of NSW
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