Most states and territories have now wound up emergency support for residential tenants and many have moved into a transitional period for support measures.
Except for the Northern Territory, all Australian states and territories had a moratorium in place since 2020. The moratorium was designed to support renters who could not meet their rental commitments during the COVID-19 emergency period.
Each state and territory has dealt with the eviction moratorium differently.
Moratorium: A legally authorised period of delay in the performance of a legal authority, or payment of a debt
Your options once the emergency period ends
Keep in mind that options will vary depending on the state/territory you call home. There are a few scenarios you may encounter once the eviction moratorium comes to an end:
|You renegotiate your current lease||Risks||You may not be able to meet expectations around the increased rent amount. You may agree to pay the increased rent, but be unable to meet this commitment long-term.|
|Benefits||You secure a tenancy|
|Things to consider||What can you afford, and how long would you like your lease to be? What are other properties in your area being leased for? Don't agree to pay more rent than you can afford. If your rent is increased, your landlord could also ask you to increase your rental bond.|
|You end your tenancy and don't take a new lease||Risks||Finding other housing could be difficult, especially given the low vacancy rates in some states. Homelessness.|
|Benefits||Possibly no, or lower rent.|
|Things to consider||What housing options are available to you? You may have limited options. Consider the costs associated with ending a tenancy and moving into a new one, as well as time you'll need to spend applying for rentals, waiting to move and the costs of removalists and relocation.|
|You start a new lease||Risks||You may not be able to find a new rental if your state has a low vacancy rate. You may not be able to afford rent. You may not be able to meet your landlord's expectations long-term|
|Benefits||Your conditions might be better and the rent might be cheaper|
|Things to consider||The cost of ending your lease. Consider things like money and inconvenience, and starting a new tenancy (bond, utility connections, moving expenses).|
|Your agreement is terminated||Risks||There could be a lack of other rental options, which could leave you homeless. Depending on why your lease is terminated, you risk ending up on a database like TICA or NTD, which could jeopardise future applications.|
|Benefits||You could find a better/cheaper property to rent some time in future. You could also live with friends/family rent-free.|
|Things to consider||In some states/territories, the rental market conditions are very tight with a very low vacancy rate.|
How to manage your unexpected costs
Ending your tenancy and need to start a new lease? RentBond is a great way to manage your costs.
You can use RentBond to pay your rental bond, two weeks rent-in-advance and other moving costs. Once approved, you repay the loan over time.
Moving from one rental to another? Or do you only need short-term bond assistance to cover your moving period while you wait on your bond return? RentBond’s 21-day interest-free period can fund your bond at no cost.
All you need to do is repay it within the first 21 days. The RentBond application is 100% online, making it easy to apply, no matter where you live in Australia.
If in doubt, ask for help
When eviction moratoriums end, ordinary tenancy laws will apply again, ending the existing COVID-19 response laws.
Have questions about what happens once the COVID-19 emergency period comes to an end in your state/territory? Get in contact with your local tenancy support organisations. Check out this article to find your go-to contacts for tenancy support.
Rent.com.au’s Facebook Community is a great place to ask questions about your tenancy. The group is a great place to get advice from other renters, agents and landlords. Join the Rent.com.au Community today!
What happens from here?
As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold Australia-wide, we will likely see continued government rules and regulations impacting residential tenancy agreements nationwide.
For information on new rental laws and transitional periods after the moratorium ends in your state and territory, check out our wrap of all available support measures.
You must review your lease and Residential Tenancy Agreement to understand your specific rights and obligations better. Be proactive and engage with your landlord/agent sooner than later, instead of waiting until you can’t pay the rent.
Rent.com.au is Australia's largest company dedicated to renters and is owned and operated by ASX-listed Rent.com.au Limited (RNT:ASX). For over 15 years, Rent.com.au has exclusively focused on making renters' lives easier by making it easier to find a property, secure it, move in and pay rent.