COVID -19: Rent

This is a guide to managing your rent payments if you have been financially impacted by the pandemic.

This page provides information about what to do if you have COVID-induced rent arrears, as well as what else may be available to help you.

Information on this page:
Please click the links below to visit each section

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COVID-19 tenancy protections

Most State and Territory Governments made changes to the rental laws in response to the pandemic to protect tenants impacted by COVID-19. These changes included limiting evictions for accrued rental arrears, financial assistance and bans on rent increases.

These COVID-19 tenancy protection measures have ended in all states and territories.  This means that:

  • If you still have rent arrears, that were accrued during the COVID-19 protection period, and your landlord has issued you with a termination notice, you should check if the protections under the previous COVID-19 tenancy measures still apply to you.
  • If you have accrued rental arrears since these special protections finished, then the normal rules of terminating a tenancy will apply.

If you continue to be impacted by COVID-19, and you are in rent arrears, you should contact your nearest Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Service for free information and advice about your situation. See Step 03 below for contact details.

There are four main steps

01

Do you have rent arrears because of the pandemic?

If you still have rent arrears, that were accrued during the COVID-19 protection period, you should:

  • Keep paying your rent plus a portion of your rent arrears if possible each week so you don’t get any further behind.
  • If you haven’t already done so, make a formal repayment plan with your landlord or rental agent, to deal with your arrears – you make it a formal plan by getting it in writing so you have a record of what happened.
  • Check if the protections for evictions due to rental arrears, under the previous COVID-19 tenancy measures, still apply to you. See Step 02 below.
  • Prepare a financial statement to support your repayment plan. See “How to work out what you can afford to pay” below.
  • If you have been issued with a termination notice, or your landlord is threatening eviction, get free advice immediately from your nearest Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Service. See Step 03 below for contact details.

 

If you can afford to pay something
Even if you are still negotiating with your landlord or agent, keep paying the amount you can afford in addition to your regular rent payment and let your landlord or agent know.

If you can’t afford to pay anything
Call us on 1800 007 007 straight away for advice.

  • Depending on what State or Territory you live in you may be eligible for other assistance such as Rent Relief grants and Utility Relief schemes. Check your State or Territory Government websites below for specific details and further announcements. about what financial assistance is available.
  • If your income has been impacted by COVID-19, you may be eligible for a Household Relief Loan Without Interest. These loans of up to $3,000, repayable over 24 months, can be used to pay rent (to a real estate agent, not a private landlord), utility bills, or body corporate fees.  Check your eligibility and find out more here.

If you are not affected by the pandemic but struggling to pay your rent and need information on what steps you can take, see our page Debt Problems: Rent.

02

Do any protections apply?

The table below summarises protections that were in place for each State and Territory for:

  • limiting evictions of tenants with COVID-induced rent arrears; and
  • limiting rent increases;

There are also links to get more information about each of these.

State/ Territory Limiting evictions Rent increases banned? More information
ACT Limited transition period protections extended until 18 Feb 2022.  Includes ACAT requirement to consider making a payment order instead of an eviction order for COVID-impacted tenants. Expired 22 Oct 2020 Information for tenants
NSW Transition period freeze on evictions from 12 Nov 2021 to 12 Feb 2022 (for Covid induced arrears accrued between 14 July 2021 and 11 November 2021 only). Expired 15 Oct 2020 COVID-19 Residential tenancy   Renters’ Guide to COVID-19
NT No limit on evictions but some support for tenants affected by Covid-19. None to date Rental changes due to COivd-19
QLD Eviction moratorium ended 30 September 2020.  Some protections extended to 30 April 2022. No COVID-19 Changes
SA Ended 1 December 2021 Ended 1 December 2021 Rental advice due to COVID-19
TAS Ended 31 Jan 2021 Ended 31 Jan 2021 No specific assistance
VIC Ended 28 March 2021 Ended 28 March 2021 Housing Victoria – Help with Renting  COVID-19 Guide for Renters
WA Ended 28 March 2021 Ended 28 March 2021 Residential Tenancies – COVID-19 response

03

Contact your local free tenancy service (when needed)

Get advice about what to do in your circumstances. Your local tenancy service will know exactly what is happening in your area and give you tips on how to negotiate with your landlord and what to do if you cannot agree. Do not hesitate to keep calling your tenancy service for help when needed.

  Tenancy advice

New South Wales –       Tenants’ Union of NSW
Northern Territory –    Tenants’ Advice Service, Darwin Community Legal Service
Queensland –                   Tenants Queensland
South Australia –            RentRight SA
Tasmania –                          Tenants’ Union of Tasmania
Victoria –                             Tenants Victoria
Western Australia –      Tenancy WA

04

Speak to one of our financial counsellors

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some help in dealing with your financial stress, please contact one of our financial counsellors.

Financial counsellors aren’t judgemental about your circumstances – they’re here to offer you free, confidential and independent support and advice.

To speak to a financial counsellor you can:

  • Call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.  The National Debt Helpline is available 9:30 am to 4:30 pm weekdays.
  • Use our live chat service by clicking the chat icon in the bottom right corner of your screen.  Live chat is available 9:30am to 4:30pm weekdays. If you send a message outside these hours a financial counsellor will get back to you during operating hours.
  • Make an appointment to see a financial counsellor in your local area.  Find a local financial counsellor on this map.