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This document is a Request for Rent Payment Extension or Discount for Residential Lease Due to COVID-19/Coronavirus. Because of the global pandemic, many people are experiencing severe economic hardship, through the loss of their jobs, or reduction of their hours, or many other factors. One of the main payments many people face each month is their rent payment. In this document, a tenant can request, from their landlord, an extension of time to pay their rent.
There has been some discussion in Australia about new laws to prevent landlords from evicting tenants during the coronavirus pandemic. However, even if such laws are passed, it is unlikely that tenants will be relieved of their obligations to pay rent. Instead, if a tenant fails to pay rent, then this will continue to accumulate. If it remains unpaid when the moratorium is lifted, then the tenant may be evicted, and may have a large lump sum in backdated rent to pay.
Furthermore, in order to maintain a positive relationship with the landlord, it is important to be proactive and to communicate openly about the tenant's inability to pay the rent. Tenants who fail to do this may struggle to get any cooperation from their landlord, for example, if repairs to property are required, or if the tenant needs a rental reference in future.
This document is only intended for use in relation to residential leases. To request a rent payment extension in relation to commercial or retail leases, see our Request for a Rent Payment Extension or Discount for Commercial Lease Due to COVID-19/Coronavirus document.
How to use this document
The coronavirus situation is changing rapidly. Before preparing this letter, it is a good idea to check for up-to-date information from the state or federal government, or from consumer affairs offices, tenant unions or tenant advice services in each state and territory. Community legal centres may also provide assistance.
The federal government has been discussing a moratorium on evictions of tenants who are unable to meet their rental commitments, and state and territory governments may pass laws to prevent landlords from evicting tenants during the coronavirus pandemic. However, as of the time of writing, these laws are not yet in effect. Therefore, all tenants are encouraged to review the situation in their state or territory at the time that they are preparing this letter, and if in doubt, to seek legal advice.
This document asks just a few simple questions about the rent situation and then it auto-populates with a complete letter.
Identifying and contact details of the landlord and tenant are asked, as well as some basic information about the rent, such as when it is due and how long of an extension tenant is requesting. Finally, it asks an easy question about whether the lease contains provisions on the late payment of rent.
After this document is filled out, it should be printed, signed, and copied. One copy may be sent to the landlord and one kept with the tenant. It can also be digitally signed and emailed, which might be more convenient for all parties.
Regarding a landlord's rights when a tenant is late with their rent, different laws may apply to this matter depending on which state or territory the property is located in, and whether the property has been leased for residential, commercial or retail purposes.
Each state and territory also has its own legislation regarding residential tenancies.
New laws may be passed in the states and territories regarding evictions during the coronavirus pandemic. Check for up to date laws and if in doubt, seek legal advice.
Further information or legal assistance, particularly in relation to residential properties is available from consumer affairs offices, tenant unions or tenant advice services in each state and territory. Community legal centres may also provide assistance.
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