COVID-19 has had a significant impact on residential tenancies and some tenants may have fallen behind in paying rent. The amount you may be behind is known as rent arrears.
If you are unable to pay your rent arrears, you can apply to the Residential Tenancy Commissioner (RTC) for a payment plan. If your application is approved, the RTC will issue a Rent Arrears Payment Order which will include your rent arrears repayment schedule. The Order is binding and failing to make payments as directed, means you could face eviction.
Before lodging an application, we encourage tenants and landlords to discuss the rent issue and agree together on the general terms of their repayment plan. Use the Residential Tenancies Rent Arrears repayment agreement template (DOCX, 27.5 KB). This can be used to support your application for a payment plan order.
What is a Rent Arrears Payment Order
A Rent Arrears Payment Order is an Order issued by the Commissioner that outlines how rent in arrears is to be paid by the tenant to the landlord or agent. The Order helps landlords and tenants who have rent arrears arising from the COVID-19 emergency period starting 27 March 2020 and ending on 31 January 2021. The goal is for parties to agree to a fair and achievable repayment plan and to formalise the plan as an Order.
If you are having difficulty reaching an agreement, you can still submit an application for an Order.
Who is eligible to apply?
You can submit an application for an Order if you have:
- either a verbal or written residential tenancy agreement and
- outstanding rent that has arisen during the COVID-19 emergency period.
Landlords or property agent’s, you are unable to submit an application for an Order on behalf of a tenant.
Before applying for an Order
Before you apply, make sure you fit the following criteria:
- applications are made within 12 months of incurring the debt
- you may be required to provide the following documentation to support your application:
- a copy of the tenancy agreement, or if you don’t have one, a Statutory Declaration from your landlord
- a copy of correspondence regarding the debt, or an agreement for rent arrears repayment between you and your landlord
- copies of any other relevant documents (Notice to Vacate if one has been issued)
- if you have been unable to reach a repay agreement with your landlord you will also need to provide:
- pay slips or a letter from your employer
- confirmation of any future work or circumstances that may change your ability to meet repayments
- applications must be submitted in full at the time of applying and cannot be saved for a later time.
If you are unable to complete the online form, download the Rent Arrears Payment Order application form (DOCX, 161.3 KB). Post the paper application to:
Residential Tenancy Commissioner
PO Box 56
ROSNY PARK TAS 7018
Working out the repayments
The Commissioner will ensure that repayments are reasonable. You may be asked to fill out some extra details to help the Commissioner in making this decision. Use a repayment and household budget calculator (XLSX, 26.7 KB) to help work out the repayments.
What if I am not happy with the Order?
If you are not happy with the Order, you can appeal the order to the Magistrates Court of Tasmania, within seven days of receiving the Order. Either the tenant or the landlord can lodge an appeal.
Will the landlord be informed of the application?
We encourage landlords and tenants to discuss the repayment of rent arrears in the first instance. We will notify landlords when an application is received. All parties will receive a copy of the Order once it is made.
How to apply
Tenants can apply by filling in the online form. Tenants will need to attach a copy of their residential tenancy agreement and evidence of their rent arrears.
Tenants are encouraged to make a repayment plan with their landlord before they submit their application. If you agree to a repayment plan, you can fill out the Residential Tenancies Rent Arrears repayment agreement template (DOCX, 27.5 KB) and submit along with your application.
Need more help?
Read the FAQs for tenants and landlords for more information about Rent Arrears Payment Orders.
Many organisations in Tasmania can offer material support (including food, support for utility bills and household items). To find out more visit the COVID-19 emergency relief support website.
The Good Shepherd, in collaboration with the Federal Government and NAB, is offering Household Relief - hardship support hotline and loans without Interest for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Loans of up to $3,000 are available for rent, rates, body corporate fees and utility bills – with no interest, charges or fees.
More information is available relating to rental relief available for tenants and landlords.