The curfew, referred to by the Government as the “moratorium” has been lifted for the wanker tenant.  The 14th June 2020 lifted the curfew on issuing 14 day notices to people in arrears.

The amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act 2010 in relation to the COVID crisis established a system whereby impacted tenants were protected.  It creates a moratorium for 6 months in relation to impacted tenants who cannot be terminated.  It however provided for a provision that stops the protection where tenants are just not paying their rent or not involving themselves in the process.

From 14th June 2020 14 day notices can be issued to tenants who are in arrears who are not impacted by COVID 19.  Remember that, a person is affected by COVID 19 if 25% of the household income has been reduced because a person has lost their job, hours reduced or has contracted the Coronavirus.  This loss of income must be related directly to COVID 19.

The regime has three simple steps: –

  • Negotiation occurred between Landlord and tenant (the manager) regarding possible reductions of rent;
  • Where no agreement can be reached between the parties, either party can make an application to the department of Fair Trading for the appointment of a dispute resolution officer to conciliate between the parties;
  • Where the parties have not been able to conciliate, an application for NCAT to terminate the agreement.

Any legal system is only as good as its administration.  A little warning, NCAT is adopting the position that, if conciliation has not occurred at the Office of Fair Trading level, they will not hear an application for the termination of a tenancy agreement.

As we noted when the amendments first came through, we suggested that you attempt to obtain evidence from the tenant and attempt to negotiate.  When neither is fulfilled, make an application to Fair Trading for conciliation immediately.  If the person has not engaged in the process properly, Fair Trading’s information to NCAT provided regarding the non-participation by the tenant will lead to a positive decision.

I know the process is cumbersome, but it is there to protect the tenant who Is affected.  We have a current client who has tried to get evidence from a Tennant, and they have just refused to give it.  I noted some time ago, just lodge the dispute resolution clause irrespective of whether you have the evidence or not.  Fair Trading will either require the evidence or will make submissions to NCAT on your behalf.

One of the other questions is whether the 14th June changes the 90-day clause in relation to other provisions within the Act.  Section 41(d) provides for 90 day terminations for any “no excuse” termination.  This clause remains in force after the 14th June 2020. It is worth noting, the 30 day termination regarding a sale still applies.

It’s a complicated world, but if we follow the process, it isn’t so difficult.