LOCALS struggling to pay their rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been given a lifeline by the state government.
More than $440 million has been allocated to ensure residential and commercial tenants have protection from evictions, while landlords will have access to tax concessions.
The measures, announced on Easter Monday, will only apply to people who have been significantly impacted by the pandemic and must be agreed upon by the tenant and the landlord after negotiation.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said the support measures had been desperately sought after in his electorate.
"People just haven't known what to do when they've fallen into financial hardship," Mr Anderson told the Leader.
"There's certainly been a need for us to look at what measures we have for support but also for the guidelines going forward.
"As well as the six-month moratorium on applications for evictions, there's also a 60-day stop on notice of terminations from landlords to tenants, who are COVID-19 impacted.
"All of these support measures relate to COVID-19 pandemic impacted landlords and tenants."
Commercial properties will also work under the same guidelines. Minister for Small Business Damien Tudehope said the measures were vital to helping businesses "make it to the other side" of the pandemic.
"Small businesses have been looking for something like this for a while," Mr Tudehope said.
"Our main focus is doing what we can to make sure businesses can reopen once the pandemic is over.
"Getting a framework for negation is one of the most important components of that, as we want to help business get though this via mediation."
Mr Anderson said it was crucial for landlords, renters and real estate agents to work on finding mutually beneficial solutions to any rental hardships.
"It's compulsory they work towards an agreeable situation and that may mean rent waving or reduction," he said.
"On the NSW Fair Trading website, there is a template that provides tenants with clear advice on how to start the negotiation process with landlords.
"Landlords certainly want to look after their tenants, so it is beneficial for them to negotiate as well.
"Tenants quite often deal with real estate agents and not the landlord, so we are saying to real estate agents that they have an obligation to provide the mediation process between the two parties to reach an agreed position."
Mr Anderson also announced the measures include a formal negotiation process between landlords and tenants through Fair Trading.
"If they don't land on an agreeable position, then that will be escalated through to the tribunal, who will then adjudicate on the situation," he said.
"There's $2.5 million going to the tenants union to support additional resources for them to offer support for tenants impacted by coronavirus."