New Covid-19 rental legislations – a state by state guide

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in March that Australia would implement a six-month moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants during the COVID pandemic.

The moratorium is designed to support tenants who are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic whilst also supporting landlords to meet their mortgage payments through rental grants and tax relief. 

Whilst the moratorium was announced by the Federal Government, tenancy agreements are legislated at a State level, so there are variations from state to state. With recent changes in Covid-19 rental legislation, this article aims to outline the changes in legislation and the relief available for tenants and landlords. 

So, what type of relief is available for tenants and landlords?


For tenants:

NSW has legislated an interim 60-day stop on landlords seeking to evict tenants due to rental arrears as a result of COVID-19. For the applicable tenants, this means that eviction notices regarding financial disadvantage by COVID-19 are postponed. During this time, tenants are given time to apply for Government financial support and for tenant-landlord negotiations to occur. Landlords are encouraged to negotiate with their tenants, and can only provide a termination notice after the interim 60 days if it is deemed reasonable. Any tenants who believe they are impacted by COVID-19 should contact their landlord immediately to reach an agreement. Fair trading will be able to assist during this agreement period.

To meet the requirement for 60 day stop on evictions, a household needs to demonstrate their financial hardship by COVID-19:

  1. Rent-paying members experiencing a 25% reduction of household income due to COVID-19 related outcomes including individuals who have stopped or have reduced hours due to COVID-19 closures.
  2. Rent-paying members who have reduced hours worked due to carer responsibilities as a result of COVID-19


In addition, landlords are still able to use the usual termination process for tenants who are not paying rent for reasons other than COVID-19 but will require a 90 day notice when ending fixed term agreements, periodic agreements and tenancy as a result of a breach in agreement other than non-payment of rent, property damage, illegal activities etc). 


For landlords:

Land tax relief is also available for eligible NSW landlords, allowing those eligible the ability to pay 25% less on 2020 land tax with a three-month deferral available for outstanding land tax payments. For eligibility:

  1. The landlord must have already reduced the rent by at least as the tax reduction for any period between 1st April and 30th September 2020
  2. Have a tenant who is suffering from financial distress as a result of COVID-19
  3. Ensure land tax is directly related to the property which rent has been reduced


More information and application details can be found here.


For tenants:

Victoria has legislated a Rent Relief Package providing one off grant payments of up to $2,000 (or 4 weeks rent, whichever is less) for tenants experiencing rental hardship due to COVID-19. This payment is directly paid to agents or landlords to contribute to the continual rental payments, under a new rental agreement. 

To meet the grant requirement in Victoria, the tenant must meet the following to qualify:

  1. Are currently paying at least 30% of income in rent
  2. Have a household income of less than $1,903 per week
  3. Have less than $5,000 total in cash or savings
  4. Registered for a revised rental agreement with CAV or gone through mediation


A new rent agreement must be lodged with the CAV. Supporting documents such as payslips, bank statements, letters from employer or records supporting reduced pay may be required. For more information on eligibility visit CAV rental relief.


For landlords:

A 25% reduction in land tax is also available to eligible Victorian landlords. Qualification for this assistance is classified as the following:

  1. Landlords to have a tenant financially impacted by COVID-19
  2. Landlords who are unable to secure a tenant due to COVID-19
  3. Landlord and tenant must have agreed to a reduction in rent
  4. Pass on the equivalent amount of land tax reduction to rent relief for your tenant. 


For more information or applying for land tax relief in Victoria, visit here. 



For Tenants: 

The Western Australian State Government is making $30 million available for grants up to $2,000 (or 4 weeks rent, whichever is less) for residential tenants who have lost their jobs and are facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

WA’s one-off payment of up to 4 weeks rent is eligible for tenants who:

  1. Have lost their job after 20 March
  2. Have an approved or lodged an application with Centrelink to receive income support
  3. Have less than $10,000 total in cash and savings
  4. Are currently paying rent at least 25% of the total household income
  5. Have lodged revised agreement with Consumer Protection WA
  6. Have agreed to a reduction in rent with landlords or engaged in dispute resolution service.


To apply, applications can be lodged via CCP.


For Landlords:

Landlords in Western Australia will no longer incur a land tax deferral penalty fee if the given taxpayer is impacted by COVID-19.

  1. From March 23rd, the commission has remitted late payment penalty in full if the taxpayer has been directly or indirectly financially affected by COVID-19.


To check if this is available to you visit here.


For Tenants:

Prior to April 27, Tenants who have evidence regarding the termination of work and have lodged an application to receive Centrelink income support and have less than $10,000 total in cash and savings were eligible for a rental one off payment of up to four weeks rent (or $2,000 max). 

At the time of writing this article, the application process has closed for Queensland’s rental relief grant. For more information, visit Queensland’s rental assistance page. 


For Landlords:

Queensland landlords have access to a 25% land tax relief for the 2019-2020 assessment year, along with a three month deferral on land tax liabilities. Application for land tax rebate can be applied up until 30 June 2020.

For more information visit and via OSR Online

South Australia

For Tenants:

South Australia is instituting a short term blanket ban on eviction for non payment of rent due to severe rental distress as a result of COVID-19. This blanket ban is most likely the result of low instances of COVID-19 in the state. Unlike other states, If an agreement can not be reached between the landlord and tenant, the landlord may still apply directly for Tribunal.


For Landlords:

Effected landlords may also apply for a 25% land tax reduction for the 2019-2020 tax year and be able to defer the 2019-2020 3rd and 4th quarterly land tax payments for up to six months. 

Frequently asked questions:


What if the tenant is not paying rent for reasons that are not COVID-19 related? Normal procedure apply Normal procedure apply Normal procedure apply Normal procedure apply Normal procedure apply
When can a termination notice be sent to tenants for non-payment of rent associated with Covid-19? When tenant rental payment is more than 60 days and negotiation with landlord failed Not until the 6 month Moratorium on eviction ends unless presented with a tribunal order. After 30 September  After 30 September After 30 September
What is the normal process to terminate tenancy? 2 weeks notice for fixed term

3 week notice for periodic term

4 weeks notice for both periodic and fixed term leases. 2 weeks notice for both periodic and fixed term leases. 3 weeks for periodic term

30 days for fixed term leases

3 weeks for periodic term

4 weeks for fixed term leases

Have there been any changes to lease break? Normal procedure apply

2 weeks notice for fixed term

3 week notice for period term

Yes, Tenants who have suffered severe hardship only need to provide 2-weeks notice Yes. A break lease fee cap is applied under certain circumstances where the tenant has been impacted by COVID-19. Yes, 

21 days notice is required for periodic term

Termination date for fixed term can be earlier than the end date of the tenancy, if the tenant’s financial hardship is caused by COVID-19

Lease break fee Normal fees apply *Fixed-term tenants may be liable for lease break fee if moved out before the end of lease

*subject to future regulation change

Break lease fee is now capped at one weeks rent ONLY when the tenant has experienced a 75% loss of income and have less than $5,000 in cash and savings No lease break fee if tenants terminate a fixed term tenancy due to COVID-19 N/A
Other major changes in tenancy COVID-19 impacted renters can not be listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears. COVID-19 impacted renters can not be listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears. COVID-19 impacted renters can not be listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears.

Fixed term agreements will be extended to 30 September 2020

N/A COVID-19 impacted renters can not be listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears.


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