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Landlords offered incentives to negotiate on rent or tenants able to opt-out early

NSW landlords are being offered incentives to negotiate reduced rental rates for tenants facing financial difficulties as a result of coronavirus, and tenants whose landlords don’t come to the negotiating table may be able to end their tenancy early.

As part of the NSW Government’s $440 million land tax relief scheme, landlords can now apply for land tax relief of up to 25 per cent if they reduce the rent of their tenants who are in financial distress.

The rent reduction must be provided without any requirement to be paid back at a later date.

The incentive comes on the back of industry reports that some tenants impacted by COVID-19 are having difficulty negotiating rent reduction agreements with their landlords.

As a result, tenants are now able to apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to end their tenancy.

This is an option for tenants whose landlord has not responded to requests for reduced rent or refuses to negotiate either directly with the tenant or through NSW Fair Trading.

Tenants who are unable to come to an agreement with their landlord may also be able to opt-out of the lease.

The Tribunal may make an order for tenants to pay up to two weeks’ rent to compensate landlords.

The law still gives tenants options for other ways to end a tenancy agreement.

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