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The South Australian Tenants' Information and Advisory Service (TIAS) is a free, independent service, helping people maintain their tenancies in private rental, community housing or public housing.

1800 060 462
All COVID-19 related information is subject to change based on latest Government advice. All tenancy agreements are now modified by changes to the Residential Tenancies Act. Please call us or use the contact form below for information specific to your circumstances.

COVID-19 FAQ

  • Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act

    In response to COVID-19, new laws affecting residential tenancies have been introduced in South Australia.

    The laws are effective from 30 March 2020 and have been extended until 28 March 2021.

    See all the details in this Fact Sheet – Amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act

    (This document still lists the original October date for the new laws to end.)

  • What happens if I can't pay my rent?

    Neither a landlord or SACAT are able to end a tenancy or order an eviction if you can’t pay due to financial hardship resulting from COVID-19.

    You might be asked to supply evidence that financial hardship is linked to COVID-19.

    In the event that a tenant is unable to pay their rent, or are in rent arrears, it is critical that they maintain consistent communication with the agent/landlord/housing provider by either text or email so they have a record of correspondence should the matter proceed to the South Australian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) in the future.

    Tenants are strongly encouraged to maintain a ‘rent first’ approach and pay any amount they can towards their rent obligations to the owner.  Tenants may choose to request to enter into a payment plan for their utility bills (electricity, gas, telephone) and/or seek assistance for food from community/charitable organisations.

    There is a legal process that an agent/landlord or housing provider must follow when a tenant falls behind with rental payments:

    • Once a tenant falls behind more than 14 days in rent, they must be served with a Form 2 by their agent/landlord/housing provider. The Form 2 looks like an eviction notice and is serious – it is a warning to the tenant that they owe rent and that they need to pay the rent owing within seven days or leave the property.  The Form 2 cannot be served before a tenant is 14 days late with their rent.
    • If a tenant does not pay all of the money they owe or chooses not to vacate the property, the agent/landlord/housing provider can apply to SACAT for a hearing. This could take 1-4 weeks (maybe longer) to list the matter for a hearing.
    • The tenant will receive a notice from SACAT to attend that hearing and it is in the tenant’s best interest to participate. During the hearing, the tenant will be given an opportunity to explain their personal circumstances.
    • The tenant’s record of contact with their housing provider becomes a critical record of communication that can demonstrate to SACAT and the agent/landlord/housing provider that the tenant has kept the owner informed of their circumstances.
    • A tenant should also bring any record of recent payments and evidence of financial hardship due to COVID-19.

    Remember that only SACAT has the legal authority to order an eviction from a rental property. Attending a SACAT hearing does not mean that the tenant will be automatically evicted from their rental property.  The specific circumstances of the individual tenant will be taken into account at the hearing.

    TIAS Tenancy Advisors can support you over the phone before and during SACAT hearings. We can provide advice and support to talk to your landlord or agent.

  • $1,000 Rent Relief for Landlords

    On 5 June 2020, the South Australian Government announcement that some landlords will be eligible for a once-off grant of up to $1,000.

    The payment is available for residential landlords who reduce the rent of a tenant experiencing rental hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    To be considered as being in rental hardship, a residential tenant will need to have lost employment, have reduced hours or a reduced wage due to the pandemic. They also need to have less than $5,000 in savings and pay more than 30% of their current income in rent.

    The tenant and landlord need to demonstrate that a revised rental agreement has been negotiated as part of the application process.

    More information and an online application form for landlords can be found on the Department of Treasury and Finance Website.

  • Will it go on my record if I get behind on rent during this time?

    A tenant can not currently be recorded on the residential tenancies database if they cannot pay their rent due to COVID-19.

  • Can my landlord increase my rent?

    During this time, a landlord can not increase the rent of a residential tenancy.

  • If I get more money from Centrelink, will my rent go up?

    Tenants in public housing are usually charged a portion of their income as rent. People who receive many types of welfare payment will receive additional COVID-19 stimulus support payments. SA Housing and community housing tenants will not have to pay increased rent because of this additional income.

    If you believe your rent has gone up because of the stimulus payment, talk to your housing provider. For further advice, contact us on 1800 060 462 or by the contact form below.

  • Can I request a pause on paying my rent?

    If you know that it might be hard for you to pay your rent, you should talk to your agent or landlord about your situation.

    You can request a modification to your current rental amount. However, neither party has to agree to this.

    We have prepared a Rent Relief Request Template that you can fill in and email to your landlord or agent. It is a good idea to communicate via email to make sure you have details of any changes that you agree to in writing.

  • Can my landlord still request an inspection?

    Routine inspections can now go ahead as normal, taking into consideration hygiene requirements and social distancing measures where possible.

    Talk to your agent if you or someone in your household is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or self-isolating for any reason.

    From May 11, auctions and open house inspections can resume, as long as they follow physical distancing restrictions set out in the Auctions and open inspections – Step 1 Fact Sheet. Appointments for private inspections can also be made if hygiene and distancing guidelines can be followed.

     

     

  • Can I still have maintenance or repairs done?

    During this time, a tenant may be able to have repairs carried out on the premises without seeking prior approval and may be able to seek the costs or compensation from the landlord. You should always try to talk to your landlord or agent first, wherever possible.

    There are some conditions to this arrangement. Please speak to a tenancy advisory at TIAS for more information.

  • Is there a moratorium (ban) on evictions?

    The state Government has announced that a landlord will not be able to evict a tenant if they are unable to pay their rent due to the loss of income or employment as a result of COVID-19. You will need to be able to show that you are experiencing financial hardship and that it is linked to COVID-19

    Talk to your agent, in the first instance, if you have concerns about paying your rent or being evicted for any other reason. You can ask to make alternative payment arrangements.

    If you can’t reach an agreement, the landlord may apply to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) to try to resolve the matter.

    The Tribunal cannot terminate a residential tenancy for a failure to pay rent where the tenant is suffering financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Tenants can still be evicted for other reasons, but SACAT will take into consideration the effects of this order during a pandemic, and make decisions at their discretion.

    TIAS Tenancy Advisors can support you over the phone at SACAT hearings. We can provide advice and support about how to talk to your landlord or agent.

  • Will I still owe unpaid rent after the pandemic is over?

    Government advice is that tenants should try to negotiate their rent with the landlord. A landlord will not be able to evict a tenant if they are unable to pay their rent due to the loss of income or employment as a result of COVID-19.

    Any rent debt will still need to be repaid in the future unless you have an agreement with your landlord that says otherwise.

    We encourage tenants to keep a diary.

    • List the dates when your rent is ordinarily due, and how much it is.
    • List any rent money you have paid towards this amount.
    • Keep any receipts or statements to show payment has been made.
    • Keep a written record of conversations you have with your agent or landlord, and keep all email records.

    For advice on your situation, please call our tenancy advisors on 1800 060 462 or use the contact form below.

  • Hearings at SACAT

    Please see advice on the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) website: www.sacat.sa.gov.au/about-sacat/public-health-at-sacat

    Our tenancy advisors are still able to support tenants at SACAT hearings via phone, while face-to-face hearings are not taking place.

  • Your COVID-19 Tenancy Experiences

    Sharing your experience can help inform future changes and policy decisions.

     

    3 minute survey – Moving On

    This survey is for all South Australian rentals covered by the Residential Tenancies Act including privately owned properties, community housing and public housing. Shelter SA has developed this survey to study why tenants move out and why more than half of all tenancy bonds are claimed.

Our friendly TIAS advisors are experts in helping people to navigate the challenges of renting and stay in their homes. Priority assistance is given to households who are paying greater than 30% of their income in rent. Download the TIAS Brochure.

  • Assistance is provided to people in:

    Assistance is provided to people in:

    Public Housing
    Private Rental
    Community Housing
    Housing Co-operatives
    Rooming/Boarding Houses

    Public Housing
    Private Rental
    Community Housing
    Housing Co-operatives
    Rooming/Boarding Houses

    Show Less

  • TIAS can help with many tenancy issues.

    TIAS can help with many tenancy issues.

    We provide advice, information and guidance relating to:

    Leases
    Bond disputes
    Property maintenance
    SACAT processes
    Rent arrears
    SA Housing Authority processes and appeals
    Community Housing processes and appeals

    We provide advice, information and guidance relating to:

    Leases
    Bond disputes
    Property maintenance
    SACAT processes
    Rent arrears
    SA Housing Authority processes and appeals
    Community Housing processes and appeals

    Show Less

How to contact TIAS

Freecall 1800 060 462 

Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm (except public holidays)

Book a face-to-face appointment

Available in Northern Adelaide, Western Adelaide, Southern Adelaide and Adelaide Metro.

Find us at SACAT

Available Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30am to 4:30pm for support with hearings.

Submit an enquiry through the form below.

Resources and FAQ

  • Can I break my fixed term lease? [Video]

    No. A fixed term lease is binding and neither party can end the agreement unless there have been a breach of the tenancy conditions.

  • Can I withhold rent because maintenance hasn't been completed at my property? [Video]

    No. Rent is a separate issue to maintenance repairs. Contact your Housing Provider or TIAS for further information on how to have maintenance completed.

  • Can my Housing Provider visit or inspect my property without prior notice?

    No. Your Housing Provider has to give you 7 to 14 days notice of their intention to enter your property to inspect. However, they can attend without prior notification in the case of an emergency or to make urgent repairs.

  • Can my rent be increased?

    Yes, if it is written into your tenancy agreement the rent can be increased every 12 months provided you are given 60 days’ notice in writing.

  • Can TIAS provide emergency housing?

    No. We are sorry, but TIAS does not provide emergency housing.

    You may be able to get help from:

    • Homelessness Gateway Service on 1800 003 308
    • Domestic Violence and Aboriginal Family Violence Gateway Service on 1800 800 098
    • Youth Gateway Service, (Trace-A-Place) on 1800 807 364
    • SA Housing Authority on 131 299
  • How do I get my bond back?

    To have your bond refunded you need to come to an agreement with your Housing Provider. If an agreement isn’t reached you can dispute the bond claim.

    More information

  • I'm sharing with others – can I just move out?

    No. If you name is on the lease you need to arrange for this to be removed prior to leaving the property. If this cannot be arranged you may be liable for any unpaid rent or damage that is caused to the property as long as your name remains on the lease.

    More information

  • I've received a Form 2, am I being evicted on the date stated?

    No. A Form 2 is a warning letter; you need to rectify the breach by the date stated. If you do not rectify the breach by this date the landlord/agent can apply to the SACAT for a hearing to have you evicted. This may result in Vacant Possession being ordered.

  • My lease is ending. What can I do?

    Don’t leave it to the last minute. Contact the landlord/agent approximately 8 weeks prior to the end of the lease to find out if it will be renewed. If it is not renewed and you continue to remain in the property beyond the end of the lease you may be evicted.

    For fixed term tenancies entered into on or after 1 March 2014 either the landlord or the tenant may terminate a fixed term agreement at the end of the term after giving at least 28 days’ written notice.  If this notice is not given by either party, the agreement will continue as a periodic tenancy.

  • What if I can’t pay my rent? [Video]

    Firstly, try to arrange a payment plan with your Housing Provider. If this is unsuccessful or you are in a significant amount of arrears contact the SA Housing Authority and they may be able to provide some financial assistance if you meet the eligibility criteria.

  • What is the difference between shared tenancy and subtenancy?

    A shared tenancy is where two or more people are listed on the lease and share equal responsibilities for the tenancy. A sub tenant/head tenant works differently where the sub-tenant treats the head tenant as their landlord.

  • What type of lease am I on?

    You can either be on a periodic or fixed term lease.

    More information