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Some landlords are giving tenants relief during the coronavirus crisis.

Many international students are worried about not being able to pay rent, that is why we have written this article to explain what you can do. If you are currently looking for a job, please read this article related to High demand jobs during COVID-19 Pandemia.

I have lost income, what can I do?

You can attempt to negotiate with your landlord about paying a reduced or no rent for a short period. This may be in their interests because it may be much more difficult and expensive to replace you than give some reprieve. Some landlords will be more willing to do this, especially if their mortgage costs are not excessive. However, there is no provision within the Residential Tenancies Act to compel landlords to act with leniency in this situation. 
You can not be evicted from your home for rent arrears without an order from the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and only the Sheriff can physically evict you from your home. See more information on our Rent Arrears factsheet.

We recommend the following courses of action

  • As soon as possible seek to negotiate with your landlord for a waiver of any board or rent covering the period of your absence due to the travel ban. As well as being the decent thing to do, it may also be in their commercial interest to avoid missing out on your contract entirely if the ban prevents significant numbers of people starting their studies this year.
  • Contact your local Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service for assistance in negotiating with your landlord if your own efforts come to nothing. Again the rules may be different for different kinds of landlord or renting agreement. Ensure you know your rights regarding any goods left behind. You cannot be evicted from your housing unless the landlord follows the proper legal process.
  • If your housing provider has a relationship with your educational institution, contact your student association or university housing officer (where there is one) for assistance.
  • Contact your student association and tell them about your experience.

If you are planning to ask your landlord to reduce or defer your payment you can use the email template below to ask

Dear [[Landlord name]]

[[I/We]] are making a special appeal to you regarding our home at [[address]]. As you no doubt are aware, the COVID-19 coronavirus is having a serious impact on many in our community.

The advice from health departments is also to practice ‘distancing’ techniques and this makes it hard for people to be out in public, spending and keeping local businesses going. [[Suggestion: talk a bit about your own situation, eg. Unfortunately, this has also impacted our household. We have lost shifts at our workplace etc.]].

[[I/We]] know this will have an impact on you as well. [[I/We]] hope that the government will come to assist the whole community, by looking at rents, mortgage payments, council rates and utilities.

From that perspective, [[I/we]] would like to propose [[a reduced rent to $xxx pw/a pause on the rent depending on your circumstances]] for the next [[month/fortnight]]. If we can come to an arrangement then once this crisis is over and our income picks up again or another relief is introduced then our rent payments can continue sooner.

[[I/We]] would be happy to revisit this arrangement [[monthly/fortnightly]]. If the government does make some decision on these issues, whether it’s rent and mortgage relief or something else, then [[I/we]] expect [[I/we]] will follow that directive.

Could you call [[me/us]] on [[phone number]] to discuss or reply by email at [[your email]].

Thank you for your consideration

[[your name]]