Brisbane landlords, Brisbane's rental market

COVID-19 tenancy changes to come

It seems highly likely the government will be making some temporary changes to tenancy laws to support tenants unable to pay their rent due to COVID-19 job losses for example. Here’s what the Prime Minister said on Sunday night (with highlighting by us) and we will be updating our clients as soon as there’s further announcements:

“States also agreed today, and further work will be done on this, are working to identify how relief can be provided for tenants in both commercial tenancies and residential tenancies to ensure that in hardship conditions there will be relief that will be available and ensuring the tenancy legislation is protecting those tenants over the next six months at least. That work will be done by states and territories as it is a state and territory matter, and that work will be led by Western Australia, together with New South Wales, working with all the other states and territories to bring back some model rules that can be applied in hardship cases. So understanding what the trigger might be and how in those circumstances that tenants would be able to maintain their tenancies. Now I know that will mean something for landlords, just as the decision taken today means something for banks, just like the decisions we have already taken as a Commonwealth Government means things for our balance sheets and as a people for the Commonwealth Government as it does for the states. It will also mean something for those, who sadly, might be stood down from their employment and have to look at their annual leave arrangements and sick leave arrangements. All Australians are going to be making sacrifices obviously, in the months ahead, and everyone does have that role to play and that will include landlords, at the end of the day for people who are enduring real hardship.”

JOURNALIST: “What is sort of a tenants relief are you looking at? Would it be rent deferrals? Would it only apply to people who lose their jobs or the businesses are in distress? And when you want the states to have a decision on this, so it can be enacted?”

PRIME MINISTER: “Well, I’m not going to go into too much detail there because the states are only just commencing the work. New South Wales has been doing already quite a bit of work on this and so I’m going to allow them appropriately to take the lead on that and to define, I think, a lot of the issues you’re sitting out there, Mark, and in what circumstances, what would be the hardship triggers? Would this relate to waivers or deferrals? Would it relate to deductions or there are a range of different issues, remembering also that those who become eligible, I should note, this sort of I think goes to a point I think one of you were asking, I think it was you, David, that in those circumstances you would also trigger if you were to go on a Newstart payment or this jobseeker payment, that you also trigger eligibility for a range of other things like the family tax benefit for rental assistance and things like this. So it’s not just the Newstart payment, as important as that would be, it is also a range of other payments that you become eligible for. Even if under the Newstart taper rates, your eligibility for the actual Newstart payment is relatively low. You still trigger all the other eligibility to a range of other payments, which can be quite helpful.”