COVID-19 NEXUS Alert #1

NSW Emergency Measures Legislation



Posted by Allison Anthony | 30 March 2020 | COVID-19

NSW Emergency Measures Legislation – to address the COVID-19 pandemic (focus on retail and residential lease implications)

This alert is current as at 11 April 2020 and will be updated when more information becomes available.  It is provided as general information only and not intended as legal advice.

SNAPSHOT:  NSW legislation has been brought in to implement emergency measures to address issues arising out of COVID-19.  Acts amended include the Retail Leases Act and the Residential Tenancies Act – to the effect that Regulations may be passed which prohibit termination of leases or re-possession by landlords in certain circumstances.


An Act (being COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 No 1) to amend various Acts to implement emergency measures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – including the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW) and Retail Leases Act 1994 (NSW)


Applies in the State of NSW

When did the Act come into effect?

The Act was passed in NSW Parliament on 24 March 2020 and assented to on 25 March 2020.

What Acts are affected by this amending legislation? 

The Act applies to numerous Acts including the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and the Retail Leases Act 1994.

How are retail and residential tenancies affected?

The Act extends the purposes for which a regulation may be made (expiring after six months of its making) under a ‘relevant Act’ for specified matters for the purposes of responding to the public health emergency caused by COVID-19:

NB: ‘relevant Act’ for the purpose of:

  • a residential lease arrangement is the Boarding Houses Act 2012 (NSW), the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 (2013), the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW) or any other Act relating to the leasing of premises or land for residential purposes; and
  • a retail lease arrangement is the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1990 (NSW), the Retail Leases Act 1994 (NSW) or any other Act relating to the leasing of premises or land for commercial purposes.

Specified matters include:

  • prohibiting the recovery of possession of premises by a landlord in particular circumstances
  • prohibiting the termination of a lease by a landlord in particular circumstances
  • regulating or preventing the exercise or enforcement of another right of a landlord in particular circumstances
  • exempting a tenant from the operation of a provision of an Act or any lease/licence agreement

What next?

The impacts on leases, and the ‘particular circumstances’ to which the restrictions apply, will only be known once the relevant regulations are made.  Further updates will be provided once this information comes to light.

This publication is © Nexus Law Group and is for general guidance only. Legal advice should be sought before acting in relation to any specific issues.

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