The Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) has acknowledged the NSW Government’s intention to protect tenants in rental arrears beyond March 27 but has urged Government to provide clarity on what “support” for landlords and tenants actually means ahead of the looming deadline.
The NSW Government today announced its intention to introduce legislation that will see tenants and landlords “supported” to enter a repayment plan for COVID-induced arrears – with tenants only to be evicted if they fail to meet the terms of that plan.
However, REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin says it’s unclear what this support entails, given there has been no support 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 says.
“Consumers and the real estate industry now await 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.
“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 which 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 said.