Scully says Government must clarify tenant and landlord rights urgently

Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully has written to the Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation strongly urging the NSW Government to immediately clarify the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords during the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

In the Wollongong local government area (LGA) one in three households are in rented residential tenancies.

Recent media announcements by the Prime Minister and Premier on an eviction moratorium has caused increasing uncertainty and confusion on residential tenancy arrangements during the pandemic.

Mr Scully told the Minister, Kevin Anderson MP, in his letter, “My office has been inundated by concerned landlords and tenants who are equally confused by recent media announcements by the Prime Minister and Premier.

“There is growing tension among landlords and tenants as no one is aware of the ground rules and the ability to negotiate between parties is near impossible.

“A similar situation is occurring within the commercial rental sector”, he wrote.

Mr Scully called on the NSW Government to immediately clarify the following issues:

  • Is the eviction moratorium for tenants financially affected by the COVID-19 virus now operable?
  • Is there an amnesty on eviction for non-payment of rent?
  • Are those who have not been directly and financially affected by COVID-19 still required to pay rent?
  • What is the criteria for tenants to demonstrate an inability to pay rent?
  • How are shortfalls in rent to be made up?
  • Do these same considerations also apply to boarding house rentals?

Mr Scully said, “There are growing incidents of landlords refusing to discuss or negotiate with tenants and also tenants indicating they are refusing to pay rent due to the eviction moratorium. This includes tenants in boarding houses.

“This situation is now becoming untenable for both tenants and landlords.

“At a time when the message is, as we face the COVID-19 virus pandemic, for understanding, compassion and cooperation; this current situation of uncertainty and confusion within the residential and commercial tenancy sector is undermining this sentiment.

“I strongly urge the Government to announce clear guidelines that both landlords and tenants can follow in their discussions and negotiations to make sure that whatever arrangements are made to suit case-by-case situations have certainty for both parties during the COVID-19 pandemic”, Mr Scully said.

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