In the recent case of Tawadros v Grubisic [2020] NSWCATD 1 the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) dismissed the application of an early termination order by the landlords, ruling in favour of the tenants. The case involved Mr Tawadros and Ms Roufael (the Landlords) who sought to terminate their residential tenancy agreement with Ms Grubisic and Mr Cardinale (the Tenants) early pursuant to s93 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. S93 permits NCAT for making an order for early termination in special circumstances where it is satisfied that the landlord would otherwise suffer undue hardship if the agreement is not terminated. In considering the landlords application, NCAT defined special circumstances as “circumstances that are out of the ordinary” and concluded on the evidence that the Landlords had established special circumstances, as the situation created by COVID-19 can be unusual or uncommon. However, the tribunal was not satisfied that the Landlords would suffer “undue hardship” if the agreement wasn’t terminated as they failed to provide evidence of hardship which was excessive to the circumstances of the case and dismissed the landlord’s application. . This case illustrates the rights of tenants and obligations of landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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