Temporary Update: The economic effect of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in some tenants facing financial hardship, and in particular, difficulty paying their rent or meeting their tenancy obligations.
The legislative protections have been put in place to avoid tenants facing homelessness during such a public health emergency.
These changes have come into effect as of 30 March 2020 and will cease on either 6 February 2021 or 28 days after all relevant declarations relating to COVID-19 within South Australia have ceased (whichever is earlier) [See s 6(2)].
The major changes include:
The new temporary measures do not mean that all tenants are able to stop paying rent (including water supply and usage), or that tenants are not required to repay rental arrears. Tenants that are able to continue paying their rent should do so. Both landlords and tenants are expected to work together during this time to come to alternative arrangements where appropriate.
If an agreement cannot be reached, and a dispute arises, the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) will continue to hear applications in its original jurisdiction. SACAT has been given a range of discretionary powers that can be used to give effect to the intention of the Act. [See sections 8(4)-(6)]. SACAT has also produced a fact sheet (dated June 2020) on the recent temporary changes here [link opens in new window].
Consumer and Business Services (CBS), and the Tenants Information and Advisory Service (TIAS) have both updated their websites to reflect the temporary changes to residential tenancy law in SA. [links will open in new window]
From June 2018, the ability of the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) to determine disputes where one party is resident interstate has changed and different procedures may apply to these disputes - see Resolving Tenancy Disputes
This section is concerned with renting a home and other types of accommodation covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA), and the relationship between landlords and tenants. The Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA) applies to most residential tenancy agreements.
Not all kinds of tenancies are covered by this Act, for example, caravan park tenants are covered by the Residential Parks Act 2007 (SA), and boarders and lodgers are still regulated by the common law and certain other statutes.
In addition, the rights and obligations of members of a housing co-operative (whether registered or not) differ slightly from those of other tenants, see 'PUBLIC HOUSING'.
The following agreements are not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA) [s 5]:
Agreements where the tenant is a party to a contract for the sale or purchase of the premises that confers a right to occupy the premises for a period of 28 days or less are now covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA). Where the agreement is for a period of more than 28 days the Act does not apply.