COVID -19 changes: Rent

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a challenging time for everyone in Australia (and the world). This is a guide to managing your rent payments for your home if you have been financially impacted by the pandemic.

This page is about steps you can take to look after yourself and your family financially during the COVID-19 pandemic

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

Five changes you need to know about

  1. Most State and Territory Governments have now made changes to the rental laws to protect people financially impacted by the pandemic
  2. The changes have included limits on evictions for people struggling to pay rent on their home
  3. Tenants and landlords are encouraged (and assistance may also be provided) to negotiate a temporary reduction in rent.
  4. Early termination of leases may also be available
  5. Rent relief payments (one-off payments to assist with rent) may also be available.

What do the changes mean?

It means that if you are struggling to pay your rent, help is available.

There are four main steps

01

Are you in financial difficulty because of the pandemic?

If you are still employed and have not been financially affected by the pandemic, keep paying your rent.

If you have been financially impacted by the pandemic, then you do need to take action.

  • The moratorium on evictions protects ‘impacted tenants’ from eviction, but this does not mean  you can just stop paying rent, or just pay less rent. Keep paying as much as you can afford to avoid letting rent arrears (rent owed) to pile up as this will leave you in a worse position.
  • Where possible, negotiate a temporary rent reduction with your landlord. Make sure that you keep a written record of all contact and negotiations with you agent or landlord.  When you reach an agreement ask that it be put in writing.  This is important should there be a dispute in future.
  • Rent relief schemes, that encourage landlords to reduce rent by providing them with financial support to do so, are available in many States and Territories. You can access this help by speaking with your landlord/agent.
  • Rent Relief grants,that provide rent relief payments of up to $2,000 to help tenants experiencing rental hardship due to COVID 19, have been announced by the Victorian and Western Australian Governments. Check your State or Territory Government websites for further announcements.

If you are not affected by the pandemic but need information on rent, check out our general information on rent.

02

Check out the changes for your State or Territory online

The table below shows how each State and Territory is (or is not):

  • Putting in place restrictions that limit evictions;
  • Stopping rent increases occurring for a period of time.

To check on additional protections and assistance do check out the links for more information.

State/Territory Limiting evictions Rent increases More information
ACT 6 months 6 months Residential Tenancy Relief   Changes to tenancy laws
NSW Up to 6 months COVID-19 Residential tenancy   Renters’ Guide to COVID-19
NT None to date None to date No specific assistance
QLD 6 months 6 months COVID-19 Changes
SA 6 months 6 months Rental advice due to COVID-19
TAS Until 30 Sept 2020 Until 30 Sept 2020 Residential tenancy – Changes to residential tenancies in Tasmania during COVID-19
VIC 6 months 6 months Housing Victoria – Help with Renting  COVID-19 Guide for Renters
WA 6 months 6 months 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

ACT –                                     Tenants’ Union ACT
Northern Territory –    Tenants’ Advice Service, Darwin Community Legal Service
NSW –                                   Tenants’ Union of NSW
Queensland –                   Tenants Queensland
South Australia –            Tenants Information and Advisory Service
Tasmania –                          Tenants’ Union of Tasmania
Victoria –                             Tenants Victoria
Western Australia –      TenancyWA

04

Speak to one of our financial counsellors

If your problem still hasn’t been solved, or you’re feeling overwhelmed, call us on 1800 007 007 to speak with one of our financial counsellors.

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