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2 July 2020
COVID-19 and section 19 (remedial) notices
It’s important for tenants to know the difference between a section 19 (remedial) and section 14 (rent default) notice. This eBulletin explains section 19 (remedial) notices and when to use them. Next week’s will focus on section 14 (rent default) notices and how they work.
The Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 (the Act) has been created to ease the hardship tenants and landlords are experiencing due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The Act includes a moratorium on evictions during the emergency period, from 30 March 2020 to 29 September 2020, to stop people moving from place to place and reduce homelessness. It is not a moratorium on paying rent and where tenants can afford to pay, they should continue to do so.
There are circumstances where a tenant may be evicted during the emergency period, for example, if a renter is not experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, but is failing to pay rent. The Act provides different notices and processes for non-payment of rent, depending on the tenant’s circumstances. There are two very different scenarios during the emergency period:
The Act enables a landlord to give their tenant written notice (a remedial notice) confirming they have not paid rent and the landlord is willing to enter into a rent repayment agreement. The remedial notice may also let the tenant know if they don’t pay the rent and refuse to enter into a payment agreement during the 60 days from when the notice is served (the remedial period), the landlord may apply to the Magistrates Court to terminate the tenancy.
If you receive a remedial notice, read it carefully. Your landlord may also have applied to the department’s Residential Tenancies Mandatory Conciliation Service which helps landlords and tenants resolve COVID-19 tenancy issues without going to court. If you are involved in a dispute that is being conciliated you must participate – failure to do so is an offence and you may be fined.
Should you reach an agreement before or through the conciliation process, then no further action to terminate can be taken. After the 60-day remedial period has expired, if you have not paid the arrears or refuse to make a repayment agreement or engage in the conciliation, then your landlord may apply to Magistrates Court for a termination order. The court may also order recovery of rent arrears and you risk being blacklisted on a tenancy database.
Please refer to the department's Residential tenancies - COVID-19 response page for more information about renting rights and responsibilities during the COVID-19 emergency period.
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