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If you cannot pay your rent

Information about requesting a rent reduction, deferral or waiver.

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Residential tenancy eviction update

The NSW Government plans to introduce a six-month transition out of the temporary COVID-19 rental eviction moratorium, which expires on 26 March 2021.

A six month transition period means COVID-19 impacted tenants who accrued rent arrears between April 2020 to March 2021 will not be subject to the standard tenancy eviction rules.

Find out more about the eviction moratorium transition.

The restriction on eviction of tenants affected by coronavirus who are behind in their rent has been extended until 26 March 2021.

You’re eligible if your household income has been reduced by 25% or more because you, or a rent paying member of your household, have:

  • either lost or had a reduction in income or employment due to coronavirus, or
  • had to stop working or reduce work hours due to coronavirus illness or carer responsibilities.

During this time, a landlord can only apply for eviction if they show:

  • they’ve tried to negotiate a rent reduction in good faith
  • they went through the rent negotiation process with NSW Fair Trading
  • it’s fair and reasonable in that specific case.

The restriction on evictions does not apply if:

  • the landlord is experiencing financial hardship 
  • you're behind in your rent and not affected by coronavirus
  • you've caused serious damage to the property or injury to the landlord, agent or neighbour
  • the property is being used for illegal purposes
  • you've threatened or abused the landlord, agent or another person
  • the landlord is selling the property.

Requesting a rent reduction, deferral or waiver

A request for a rent reduction, deferral or waiver should made directly to your landlord or agent.

It's important to know what you're agreeing to:

  • a waiver means the agreed amount of rent won't need to be paid back
  • a deferral means you will need to pay back the agreed amount of rent in the future.

Any request for a rent reduction will need to include: 

  • your original household income
  • proof of your change in income due to coronavirus, such as a job termination or stand down letter 
  • the amount of rent you can afford to pay
  • any income support payments you receive.

You can download a template letter from NSW Fair Trading to use when contacting your landlord to request a rent reduction. 

If you reach an agreement with your landlord, you should put in writing any decisions made about:

  • whether the rent will be waived, deferred or reduced
  • the amount and frequency of rent payable
  • how long the agreement is for
  • the date the agreement will be reviewed
  • what happens when the agreement ends
  • a repayment plan, if rent is being deferred.

You can still be evicted during this time if you break the other conditions of your lease.


If you cannot come to an arrangement with your landlord

If you cannot come to an agreement with your landlord, you can take part in the NSW Fair Trading rent negotiation process.

To do this, you'll need to:

If you live in shared housing

The restriction on evictions applies to tenants in shared households who meet the eligibility requirements.

This includes any tenant who is a:

  • tenant named on the lease
  • sub-tenant under a written residential tenancy agreement with the main tenant named on the lease.

If you live in a boarding house

If you're behind in your boarding house fees, you can try to negotiate with the proprietor:

  • for a reduction of fees
  • if any fees owing will be waived (never paid back) or deferred (paid back in the future)
  • on a repayment plan for any fees owed.

If you cannot reach an agreement, you can get help to resolve your dispute at NSW Fair Trading.

If you live in social or community housing

Tenants of social housing aren’t covered by the restriction on evictions. Social housing providers have their own processes when dealing with rental arrears.

It’s important that you tell the organisation that provides your housing straight away if you’re having trouble paying rent:

  • for social housing tenants, contact your client service officer (CSO)
  • for community housing tenants, contact your community housing provider. 


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