While you’re here… help us stay here.

Are you enjoying open access to policy and research published by a broad range of organisations? Please donate today so that we can continue to provide this service.


This report presents research into the lived experience of landlords and tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic. The primary research approach consisted of four week digital ethnographic diaries, where 38 participants sent updates of their lived experience during the COVID-19 pandemic once a week. The diaries were supported by a broader survey of 111 landlords and tenants.

Key points:

  • Although some tenants were able to temporarily cope due to the JobKeeper and JobSeeker financial support packages provided by the government, many tenants had still requested financial assistance from their landlords.
  • Landlords became more aware of finances, and most were able to manage the unexpected economic implications. However, there were landlords at risk of financial stress who relied on rent for mortgage payments, and/or those that lived with their tenant.
  • The tenants who were concerned about their situation, but had not spoken with their landlords about rental assistance, explained they either did not need rental assistance at this stage, or were concerned by future repercussions, such as poor references or property defects not being fixed.

Policy recommendations:

  • A protective negotiation framework to structure rent negotiations as a more formal process.
  • Clear government guidance for real estate agents, to provide clarity, guidance, and information on acceptable and unacceptable practice in resolving landlord–tenant negotiations.
  • Policy flexibility on moving, that reduces stress and the risk of homelessness for tenants that give 28 days’ notice and commit to moving.
  • A landlord hardship fund, or access to a package of assistance for landlords, for vulnerable landlords, such as those that have lost work, lost rental income and live with their tenant.


Publication Details
License type:
Access Rights Type:
AHURI Final Report 344