COVID support measures: Rent relief

As Australia transitions out of the COVID-19 emergency period and moratoriums come to an end, several measures remain to support tenants and landlords.

We’ve rounded up the key changes and financial support measures for each state and territory to help you navigate this period.

State/TerritoryMeasureFurther information
New South Wales60-day freeze on evictions until 11 September 2021. Financial support for landlords.NSW Fair Trading
VictoriaFrom 29 March 2021, rental laws have changed, and rental providers can no longer give a 'no reason' notice to vacate.Consumer Affairs Victoria
QueenslandQLD has extended some temporary regulatory measures to 30 September 2021.QLD Government's Residential Rent Hub
Western AustraliaAn extension to the Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme. Grants for up to 75% of rent arrears (up to a maximum of $4,000) will be paid directly to eligible landlords.Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
South AustraliaSeveral initiatives to help tenants and landlords are in place until 1 September 2021.Consumer and Business Services
TasmaniaThe Tasmanian Government put additional support in place between 1 April - 30 June 2021.Consumer, Building and Occupational Services
Northern TerritoryNo new support measures are in place. Renters are encouraged to have open discussions with landlords.NT Consumer Affairs
Australian Capital TerritoryA payment order provision will operate until 30 September 2021, unless extended.ACT Government's Justice and Community Safety

New South Wales

What support is available for NSW renters?
A COVID-19 support package for tenants and landlords has been announced. These new, temporary measures will support both tenants and landlords. They will help reduce community movement and the potential spread of the virus during this phase of the pandemic.

60-day freeze on evictions | Tenants who can’t pay their rent in full because they are impacted by the recent COVID-19 outbreak can’t be evicted between now and 11 September 2021.

Financial support for landlords | Up to $1,500 per tenancy will be available for landlords who agree to reduce rent for COVID-19 impacted tenants.

Who qualifies for support in NSW?
To be eligible for the restrictions on evictions, a household needs to demonstrate they were ‘COVID-19 impacted’, and that they owe rent or other charges (‘arrears’) that was due during the moratorium period, either with or without landlord agreement. This debt must still be owing. Read more about eligibility criteria here.

How do I get more information about the new short term moratorium on evictions?
Further details about the moratorium and financial support are available on the NSW Fair Trading website


Victoria

What support is available for VIC renters?
If you rent in Victoria, there’s some comfort in the fact that rental providers (landlords) can no longer give a ‘no reason’ notice to vacate.

Some notices also now require evidence. For example, if your rental provider wants to renovate, they must provide evidence of the building permit with the notice to vacate.

Importantly, even if your rental provider can prove the reasons they want to evict you, VCAT must still decide if it’s reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances for the rental provider to do this.

New laws for renters have now come into effect for Victorian tenants. These laws include things like a ban on rent bidding, the information you must be given to help you decide whether to apply for a property and modifications to your rental property. You can read more about some of the changes here.

Do I need to qualify to be eligible?
No. The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 has changed, effective 28 March 2021. The changes apply to renters of rental properties but do not cover rooming houses, caravan or ‘part 4A’ parks and specialist disability accommodation.

How do I get more information about the new rental laws?
See the Victorian Government’s information on the new laws from the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.


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Queensland

What support is available for QLD renters?
The Queensland Government implemented temporary regulatory measures to support residential tenancies impacted by COVID-19, including the National Cabinet-agreed six-month eviction moratorium for rent arrears caused by COVID-19 impacts between 29 March and 29 September 2020.

These arrangements were designed to help the Queensland residential rental market transition back to normal tenancy arrangements and processes under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.

The QLD Government has now extended temporary regulatory measures to 30 September 2021. This will mean Queensland remains ready to respond to COVID-19 risks as we transition back to normal residential tenancy arrangements.

What arrangements continued until 30 September 2021?
Arrangements that apply until 30 September 2021 include:

  • provisions allowing tenants experiencing domestic and family violence to end their tenancies quickly
  • protections for tenants against being listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears caused by COVID-19 impacts
  • limits on re-letting costs for eligible tenants who end their fixed term tenancies early
  • short term tenancy statement extensions for moveable dwellings.

Where can I get more information?
Read more about the laws at the Queensland Government’s Residential Rent Hub.


Western Australia

What support is available to WA renters?
The WA Government has extended the Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme (RRRGS) to offer future rent support for tenants who are struggling financially to meet rent payments after the end of the emergency period. Grants are capped at $2,000 per tenancy.

Rent arrears assistance grants are also still available to help tenants pay their current outstanding rent debt that arose before 1 December 2020. Grants for 75 per cent of rent arrears, up to a maximum of $4,000, will be paid directly to eligible landlords. This includes any rent that was waived or reduced during the moratorium emergency period. 

Who qualifies for support in WA?
To assess your initial eligibility try the Consumer Protection two-minute Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme eligibility check.

How do I apply for financial support?
Further details, including how to apply for the RRRGS, are available on the DMIRS website.


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South Australia

What support is available to SA renters?
Recognising the impact that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had on a number of South Australians, State Parliament endorsed a number of initiatives aimed at helping landlords and tenants whose incomes were affected. These measures apply to residential tenancies, rooming houses and residential parks.

These initiatives can be expected to be in place until 1 September 2021, or 28 days after all relevant declarations relating to COVID-19 have ceased – whichever comes first. 

What initiatives are in place until 1 September 2021?
The measures for SA aim to:

  • Institute a short-term moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent due to severe rental distress as a result of COVID-19
  • Prevent landlords from increasing rent, where the tenant is suffering from financial hardship due to COVID-19
  • Extend the tenant’s ability to arrange to have repairs carried about by agreement with the landlord
  • Provide general protection for tenants who breach their agreement due to complying with a direction under law relating to COVID-19.

SACAT will continue to be able to consider undue hardship to tenants or landlords.

Where tenants have been impacted by COVID-19 but can still pay their rent, they should continue doing so. Where alternative arrangements are needed as a result of COVID-19, tenants and landlords are encouraged to work together on an agreement and – where an agreement cannot be reached – the matter may need to go before the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

Where can I get more information?
If you have questions or concerns about the ongoing initiatives, contact Consumer and Business Services on 131 882 or use Asking Claire, SA’s 24/7 virtual assistant for residential tenancies.


Tasmania

What support is available to TAS renters?
The Tasmanian Government is now transitioning out of the COVID-19 emergency period for residential tenancies. Some of the changes to the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 including changes to rental evictions, rental increases, and general repairs and maintenance expired on 31 January 2021.

The COVID-19 Rent Relief Fund and Landlord Support Fund offered support of up to $2,000 or four weeks rent per fund to eligible tenants and landlords. As a tenant, you could apply for a first, second, third, fourth or fifth support payment if eligible.

Additional support was made available between 1 April 2021 and 30 June 2021.

Where can I get more information?
See the Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS) website for more details.


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Northern Territory

What support is available to NT renters?
No clear support measures have been laid out for people renting in the Northern Territory. According to the Consumer Affairs website, the NT Government has put its time into examining the Residential Tenancies Act 1999 to assist renters remaining in their rental properties for the duration of the crisis.

NT Consumer Affairs encourages any renters experiencing financial distress due to the pandemic and cannot pay their rent to contact their property owner or manager to negotiate a solution as soon as possible.

Where can I get more information?
The Northern Territory Consumer Affairs website has information relating to rental changes due to COVID-19.


Australian Capital Territory

What support is available to ACT renters?
The ACT implemented a 6-month moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent for COVID-19 impacted households between 22 April and 22 October 2020. That eviction moratorium has now ended.

A transitional period with additional measures to support tenants and landlords and provide a smooth transition out of the moratorium was in place from 23 October 2020 to 30 June 2021. Most of the measures under this transitional period have also ended.

Payment order provision
A requirement for the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) to consider making a payment order instead of an eviction order for tenants who were in a COVID-19 impacted household during the moratorium period (the payment order provision) remains.

A payment order is an order that the ACAT can make instead of making a termination and possession order (an eviction order) when the landlord has applied to ACAT to end the tenancy on the basis of rent arrears.

A payment order allows a tenancy to continue and is an order that the tenant pays their rent plus a specified amount towards the arrears.  In other words, it gives the tenant another chance to save their tenancy.

The payment order provision will operate until 30 September 2021 (unless extended).

Where can I get more information?
Visit the ACT Government’s Justice and Community Safety website for details on COVID-19 measures.

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