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Parties enter into residential lease agreement
A husband, his wife and two children lived with the
husband's elderly mother in a house that she owned.
This enabled the husband and wife to rent out their home,
becoming landlords under a residential tenancy agreement with the
Under that agreement, the tenants leased the premises for a
period of 52 weeks, commencing on 12 August 2019 and ending on 9
Landlords seek order for early termination of lease due to
On 30 March 2020, the landlords served the tenants with a notice
The notice required the tenants to give vacant possession of the
premises on 9 August 2020, being the end of the 52-week lease
However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the landlords became
worried about putting the husband's elderly mother at risk of
infection by living with her.
On 16 April 2020 they applied to the NSW Civil and
Administrative Tribunal, requesting an order for earlier
termination of the lease.
The landlords claimed that in the special circumstances that
existed, they would suffer undue hardship if the residential
tenancy agreement was not terminated.
The tenants opposed the early termination of the lease, saying
that they would suffer if it was terminated early.
It was up to the tribunal to decide whether to grant the
Both parties appeared at the tribunal via telephone due to the
case a - The case for the landlords
case b - The case for the tenants
The law requires that special circumstances exist to terminate
this lease early. If the Covid-19 pandemic is not a special
circumstance, then I don't know what is.
We live with my mother, who is 77 years old and has chronic
health problems, including diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease
and high blood pressure. By living with her, we are putting her at
significant risk of contracting Covid-19 and dying.
This is especially so since I work in close proximity with
people in the construction industry, putting me at high risk of
contracting the virus and passing it on to my mother.
My wife and children also live with us and have frequent
contact with my mother, further increasing her risk of contracting
This situation is also causing us undue hardship. It makes it
impossible for my elderly mother to self-isolate in accordance with
Australian government health recommendations for people like
Living with my mother during this pandemic is also putting
considerable emotional and financial pressure on the family. The
tenants say that we should just rent somewhere else, but this is
not an option. We cannot afford to pay the mortgage on our home as
well as paying rent on another property.
The tribunal should grant our application for an early
termination order so that we can keep my mother alive by moving out
of her house, back into our own premises.
We would suffer considerable financial hardship if we were
required to vacate the premises. Our moving costs would be
approximately $5,000, at a time when we have already experienced
financial hardship. We recently had to pay thousands of dollars for
our daughter to return home from Peru when she was stranded there
due to Covid-19.
The real reason the landlords want to terminate early is in
retaliation against us for being temporarily in arrears on our rent
while our daughter was stranded, and for insisting that necessary
repairs be made to the premises.
In any event, there is no need for the landlords to move out of
their mother's home. The government has only said that elderly
people should stay at home, not that they should totally isolate
themselves. Nor did the government order people living in the home
of an elderly person to relocate.
The landlords' argument that they can't move into
alternative accommodation because they can't afford both
mortgage and rent makes no sense. If the landlords evict us, they
will no longer receive rent from us and so will be no better off.
Besides that, the landlords have not even tried to find alternative
If we are forced to move out early, it will cause severe
disruption to our family of five and render us homeless.
The tribunal should dismiss the landlords' application for
an early termination order.