Around the Country – State COVID Rental Policies

As at 17 April

NSW Residential tenancies relief

  • Forced negotiation: Yes
  • Tax relief for landlords: Yes

In a move to further stabilise the position of lessors and lessees, the New South Wales Government has announced $220 million in relief for residential renters and landlords affected by Government-enforced COVID-19 restrictions.

This is the first allocation in the State to residential renters — a group that had yet to receive financial support during the pandemic, with the package targeted at keeping people stable in rentals until the end of 2020.

The NSW Government has ordered a six-month moratorium on new forced evictions if the tenant is in rental arrears because they are suffering financial hardship due to coronavirus with the scheme requiring the landlord or managing agent to enter into negotiations with a tenant to negotiate before the tenancy can end. Hardship applies to tenants who have lost 25 per cent or more of their income.

A two-month moratorium is in place on forced evictions for those suffering financial hardship due to coronavirus. NSW Better Regulation Minister Kevin Anderson said an interim 60-day moratorium would be in place for new applications to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for forced evictions over COVID-19-related rent arrears.

Tenants will be protected from eviction until the tribunal is satisfied that negotiations have been finalised with any unpaid rent to be repaid eventually. Any rent unpaid will accrue as arrears during this period. Landlords that have already filed to evict their tenants will have to wait 60 days for their applications to be processed. When the 60-day moratorium has come to an end, landlords will be able to recover their properties if they are in financial hardship, while tenants will not get a black mark against their names.

The NSW Government has also offered today to support the lessors by waving land tax or providing a rebate of up to 25 per cent if they are accommodating tenants under financial stress, eligible for a land tax concession for the rest of this calendar year. A further land tax deferral for any outstanding amounts for a three-month period will also be offered to landlords who claim the land tax concession.

Whilst the NSW Government can issue an emergency regulation this week to address the eviction moratorium and get things moving, some parts of the full package may need to go back to Parliament.


Victorian response 

  • Forced negotiation: Yes*
  • Tax relief for landlords: Yes*

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews today (15 April) announced a $500 million package aimed at giving certainty to residential and commercial tenants and landlords, with emergency legislation to be put into the Parliament next Thursday.

The measures, which come into effect from 29 March for 6 months, include:

  • A temporary ban on evictions for residential tenancies for 6 months, except in some circumstances;
  • A temporary ban on evictions for commercial tenancies for 6 months for the non-payment of rent for commercial tenancies involving small and medium-sized businesses;
  • pausing rental increases for commercial and residential tenancies for six months;
  • $80 million rental assistance fund for renters facing hardship due of coronavirus. Renter eligibility:
    • renters will need to have registered their revised agreement with Consumer Affairs Victoria or gone through mediation;
    • have less than $5,000 in savings; and
    • still be paying at least 30 per cent of their income in rent.
  • providing $420 million in land tax relief for landlords:
    • If a landlord provides tenants impacted by coronavirus with rent relief, they will be eligible for a 25 per cent discount on their land tax, while any remaining land tax can be deferred until March 2021;
    • A Coronavirus Relief Deputy Commissioner will be established at the State Revenue Office to manage these land tax relief claims;
  • Eligible small and medium-sized businesses can be granted rental waivers or deferrals. Eligibility:
    • Businesses that have an annual turnover under $50 million per year and have experienced more than a 30 per cent reduction in turnover due to coronavirus;

The Victorian government noted partnerships will have to be formed between tenants and landlords, as well as landlords and their banks. Tenants and landlords who struggle to strike a deal over rent reductions will be given access to a fast-tracked dispute resolution service, with Consumer Affairs Victoria or the Victorian Small Business Commission mediating to ensure fair agreements are reached.

Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“More than ever, we need to be working in partnership. Landlords working with tenants. Tenants working with landlords. And Government willing to help those most in need.”

Quote attributable to Treasurer Tim Pallas

“This is about supporting tenants, landlords and small business – and making sure that everyone can make it to the other side of this pandemic.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz

“These are unprecedented measures – but we are facing an unprecedented crisis. With this support, we’ll help tenants cover the rent and keep a roof over their head.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Small Business Adem Somyurek

“This support will help small businesses keep their doors open, keep employing and keep driving the state’s economy.”

Western Australia response 

  • Forced negotiation: Yes*
  • Tax relief for landlords: Expected

As of mid April the state is set to introduce a six-month stop on evictions and rent increases, allowing the extending of fixed-term leases and letting tenants end their tenancy early.

Premier Mark McGowan said it was important landlords and tenants negotiated in good faith towards a “shared beneficial outcome”.

WA will provide:

  • Urgent legislation to address commercial and residential tenancies impacted by rental distress due to COVID-19 to be introduced into State Parliament
  • New laws to implement a moratorium on evictions for residential tenancies and provide urgent support measures for tenants and landlords in response to pandemic

Urgent legislation to implement a range of measures to minimise financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on tenants and landlords of both commercial and residential tenancies will be introduced into State Parliament this week.

The Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 will introduce a moratorium on evictions for small commercial tenancies and provide a range of other measures to offer support for tenants in response to COVID-19, including the introduction of a code of conduct for landlords and tenants.

In addition to providing legislation for commercial tenancies, the State Government has acted swiftly to prepare further measures that are necessary to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on residential tenants and landlords.

The Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 will introduce:

  • a moratorium on eviction for six months except in limited circumstances including, for example: if a tenant is causing serious damage to the property or injury to the landlord or a person in adjacent premises; the landlord or tenant is experiencing undue hardship; a tenant is experiencing family violence and the perpetrator needs to be evicted; the tenant abandons the premises; or the agreement is frustrated;
  • a prohibition on rent increases during the emergency period;
  • that any fixed term tenancy agreement due to expire during the emergency period will continue as a periodic agreement;
  • relieving lessors of the obligation to conduct ordinary repairs if the reason they cannot do so is COVID-19 related financial hardship or a lawful restriction on movement; and
  • enabling a tenant to end a fixed term tenancy prior to its end date without incurring break lease fees (tenants will still be liable for damage and rent arrears).

The laws will apply equally to tenants in public and private housing, park homes as well as boarders and lodgers.

Updated information relating to these changes is available on the Consumer Protection website.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

 “If you are a tenant who cannot pay rent due to the impact of the pandemic you will have protection under the law.

“It is important for residential tenants to understand that what we’re introducing is a moratorium on eviction, not a moratorium on rent.

“Under the proposed reforms, tenants must continue to pay rent. If a tenant can’t pay their rent they will still have to pay it later, so continuing to pay rent will increase your chances of keeping debt to a manageable level.

“Tenants in financial distress due to COVID-19 should contact their landlord or property manager to try and make an arrangement. This could include a reduction to the amount paid for a period of time, for example.

“What we’re introducing are sensible amendments to help landlords and tenants to work together during these challenging and uncertain times.”

 Comments attributed to Commerce Minister John Quigley:

“We expect that as a consequence of the impact of the pandemic, there will be a spike in disputes during the emergency period.

“As a result of these concerns, the legislation will provide a mandatory conciliation step in the dispute resolution process.

“This will act as a buffer between complainants and the Magistrates Court and the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) protecting the Magistrates Court and SAT from being flooded by residential tenancy dispute applications.

“We will also be introducing a code of conduct that will apply broadly to all tenancies for small to medium enterprises that are suffering financial stress or hardship as a result of the pandemic.

“The code of conduct is consistent with the principles announced by the Prime Minister following the National Cabinet meeting earlier this month and creates a framework for good-faith negotiations between landlords and tenants to encourage rent relief and other cost-sharing arrangements.”

QLD response 

  • Forced negotiation: Yes
  • Tax relief for landlords: Yes*

The QLD parliament also announced moves earlier this month to push through legislation protecting renters. New laws are needed to instate a national moratorium on rental terminations to protect tenants who have lost their jobs.

As of mid April the new provisions for QLD haven’t been made into law yet, but will be backdated to March 29, like other jurisdictions. There’s an eviction ban for six months, as well as no rent increases in that time.

Forced negotiation between parties is already part of Queensland law, and essentially means there can be no arbitrary evictions. The package offered tax relief for landlords, if they’re paying land tax.

Queensland has offered a $500-per-week rental relief payment to bridge the four-week gap until expanded Centrelink payments will begin.

Queensland will also provide up to a 25 per cent discount on land tax for the 2020 calendar year as part of a package worth $400 million, on the proviso that savings are passed on to tenants in the form of commensurate rent relief.

It comes after Treasurer Jackie Trad said she understood people were “incredibly fearful” that they may not be able to pay their rent and pledged that the government will backdate the eviction moratorium in Queensland to March 29.

The QLD state government had set up a grant program that offers an emergency rental assistance payment of up to $500 a week, for up to four weeks, for Queenslanders who cannot make rent.

“That is pretty obvious out there in the community that people are incredibly fearful about having an income and being able to make rent, being able to put food on the table, being able to make other sorts of cost-of-living obligations like utility bills,” Ms Trad said.

“We have in fact set up a grants system for those people in the private rental market, so where you’ve lost your job, you’re not going to get any income support from Centrelink until at least the 27th of April.

South Australia

  • Forced negotiation: No
  • Tax relief for landlords: Yes

If you can’t pay the rent, you won’t be evicted in South Australia. Measures passed into law also prevent landlords from increasing rent, and let tenants use video services like FaceTime or video or time-stamped photos to replace routine inspections.

In measures announced on 24 April, the SA State Government has developed a $50 million land tax and rent relief package. The scheme will offer residential and non-residential landlords a 25% reduction on the land tax payable on a parcel of land in the 2019-20 land tax year.

Landlords must reduce the rent of the affected tenant by at least as much as the land tax reduction. Landlords are also eligible when they cannot secure a tenant due to COVID-19.


  • Forced negotiation: No
  • Tax relief for landlords: No

The Apple Isle went out hard in late March, passing the nation’s first laws shielding renters from eviction if they lost their income due to coronavirus.

Tasmanian Parliament has also passed new legislation that would ban inspections, maintenance and evictions for non-payment of rent during the crisis, except in emergencies. The laws also have provisions for either party to end a lease if they are experiencing severe hardship.


  • Forced negotiation: No
  • Tax relief for landlords: Yes*

Our national capital has measures that link financial relief to landlords that reduce rents for tenants.

If landlords agree to lower rents by at least 25 per cent, they can get tax relief. Additionally, households that have experienced a 25 per cent drop in income can defer rates for 12 months.

Emergency legislation passed in early April has cemented some of the changes, such as a ban on evictions for being unable to pay until at least June 30. Others can be made by the Attorney-General without the need to recall Parliament

Households would be able to defer rates for 12 months if they have incomes below $160,000 and have had a 25 per cent reduction in income, and landlords would get tax relief if they agree to lower rents by at least 25 per cent.

The government will offer land tax rebates to landlords who reduce rent for tenants by at least 25 per cent for the next six months, starting from April 1.
To be able to access the maximum rebate amount of $100 a week, landlords would need to reduce their tenant’s rent by $200 a week.

The ACT government has published a series of fact sheets outlining measures that will frame the rights and obligations of tenants, landlords and real estate agents in situations where renters cannot afford their rent.