As a tenant, you are responsible for any rent payable under your residential tenancy agreement, unless you and your landlord agree otherwise.

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, landlords across Australia have been asked to consider whether they can support their tenants by either reducing the rent for a period or waiving part of the rent arrears.

You and your landlord need to agree on how any rent arrears are going to be paid and when.

Where possible you should try to come to a mutual agreement with your landlord about any rent reductions and any repayment that’s required. Any agreement you make should be put in writing.

If you have trouble negotiating with your landlord, reach out to your local tenancy support service for advice.

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What does ‘mutual agreement’ mean?

The goal of a mutual agreement is to reach a fair and achievable solution that works for everyone. In WA, for example, the COVID-19 Residential Tenancies Mandatory Conciliation Service helps tenants and landlords to reach an agreement. Through this service, a Consumer Protection conciliator facilitates an informal discussion between a landlord and tenant about a rental issue that arose during the emergency period.

I think I’m suffering from COVID-19 related financial hardship, but my landlord won’t accept this

If you are struggling financially and think it’s a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but your landlord does not agree, contact your local tenancy support service for advice.

The moratorium is not an excuse for not paying your rent

The current six-month moratorium on evictions is not a moratorium on rent. There’s a moratorium in place because we’re in extraordinary economic circumstances right now, but this does not change your requirement to pay the rent. These details need to be negotiated individually between you and your landlord.

Unless you have an arrangement in place with your landlord that takes into account your financial circumstances, you are still required to pay the rent.

Lauren Vardy
Lauren Vardy

Lauren Vardy is the Content Manager at Rent.com.au, Australia's largest company dedicated to renters (ASX:RNT). Lauren has worked with Rent.com.au since 2015 and manages the Rent.com.au Blog. Formerly a journalist with Fairfax Media and Rural Press, Lauren has worked with multiple media groups in Australia and internationally on a freelance basis through publications including the Esperance Express, Southeast Asia Globe, Colosoul Magazine, The Sunday Times, and more.