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 Wales6 month transitional period starting 29 March 2021. Support from Fair Trading. Eligibility criteria apply.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 COVID-19 arrangements to help with transition back to normal tenancy period until 30 April 2021QLD Government's Residential Rent Hub
Western AustraliaAn extension to the Residential Rent Relief Grant SchemeDepartment of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
South AustraliaSeveral initiatives to help tenants and landlords in place until 31 May 2021Consumer and Business Services
TasmaniaAdditional support to be put in place between 1 April - 30 June 2021Consumer, Building and Occupational Services
Northern TerritoryNo new support measures in place, renters encouraged to have open discussions with landlordsNT Consumer Affairs
Australian Capital TerritoryTransition period with measures in place until 30 April 2021 unless extendedACT Government's Justice and Community Safety

New South Wales

What support is available for NSW renters?
From 25 March 2021, a six-month transitional period has begun. This period means that COVID-19 impacted tenants who accrued rent arrears between 15 April 2020 and 26 March 2021 (the moratorium period) will not be subject to the standard tenancy eviction rules for those arrears. These transitional measures will end on 26 September 2021.

Fair Trading will assist tenants and landlords with negotiating repayment plans for arrears accrued during the moratorium period. Landlords can only evict these tenants for these arrears if they have first attempted in good faith to arrange a repayment plan. It also has to be fair and reasonable to evict.

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

How do I get more information about the transitional period in NSW?
Further details, including payment negotiation templates, 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.


You might also like:
1 million people ‘rental-ready’ with their own Renter Resume
Rental applications – What happens after you apply?
Your step-by-step guide to end of lease cleaning

Queensland

What support is available for QLD renters?
The Queensland Government has extended some COVID-19 arrangements for residential tenancies to 30 April 2021. These apply to all general tenancies and rooming accommodation, including social housing.

These arrangements are 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.

What will continue until 30 April 2021?
Arrangements that will continue to apply until 30 April 2021 include:

  • Provisions that allow tenants experiencing domestic and family violence to end their tenancies quickly
  • Protections for tenants against being listed on a tenancy database for rent arrears caused by COVID-19 impacts
  • Limits on reletting costs for eligible tenants who end their fixed-term tenancies early
  • Short-term tenancy statement extensions for moveable dwellings
  • Entry restrictions and requirements to support COVID-19 social distancing measures
  • Relaxed repair and maintenance obligations

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 soften the blow of expected rent increases. This latest extension will target tenants who may struggle to pay expected rent increases now the moratorium has ended.

Who qualifies for support in WA?
To be eligible for this fourth phase in assistance, tenants facing a significant rent increase greater than the normal market rate of 5% a year can apply. However, their landlord must agree to a fixed-term lease of at least six months duration, starting from the moratorium end date. The grant is capped at $2,000 per tenancy.

WA tenants also need to be in financial hardship by being in receipt of a Centrelink payment (excluding JobKeeper), having less than $10,000 in savings, and paying more than 25% of their income in rent per week.

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


You might also like:
Renter Resume – How to create a winning rental application
How to write a rent reduction letter
Rental inspection checklist: Tips to organise your home

South Australia

What support is available to SA renters?
The SA Government has endorsed several initiatives to help tenants and landlords whose incomes have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures apply to residential tenancies, rooming houses and residential parks. The initiatives can be expected to be in place until 31 May 2021, or 28 days after all relevant declarations relating to COVID-19 have ceased – whichever comes first.

What initiatives are in place until 31 May 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.

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. Financial support is available for residential tenancies in the private market and those experiencing financial hardship due to the impact of COVD-19. 

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

Additional support will be 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.


You might also like:
Mould in rental properties – Who is responsible, landlords or tenants?
What could get me blacklisted on a rental tenancy database?
Plumbing maintenance: Who is responsible, landlords or tenants?

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?
Now that the moratorium has ended, the ACT Government has put in place measures to continue to support tenants and landlords and to provide a smooth transition out of the moratorium.

These measures are:

  • A transition period that limits evictions based on rent arrears accrued during the moratorium for COVID-19 impacted households in certain circumstances;
  • The continued ability to negotiate reduced rent;
  • A requirement for the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) to consider making a payment order instead of an eviction order for COVID-19 impacted household;
  • The continued ability for a tenant in a COVID-19 impacted household to terminate their fixed-term tenancy agreement early and without penalty;
  • Continued restrictions on a negative listing being made about a person from a COVID-19 impacted household on tenancy databases;
  • The ability for a tenant from a COVID-19 impacted household who had previous ACAT orders suspended during the moratorium to apply to ACAT to vary or set aside those orders;
  • Tenants on pre-6 April 2020 fixed-term tenancies may continue to pay just two weeks rent in advance. All other tenants are already able to do this.

These measures commenced on 23 October 2020 and will operate until 30 April 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.

You might also like:
No rental ledger: How do I show I can pay the rent?
Can my landlord or property manager take photos of my home?
Manage your moving costs with RentBond

Rent.com.au

Find your next rental property today on Rent.com.au and get great tips, advice and services. Like the small details? Between Suburb Reviews, WalkScore®, NBN status, commute times and pet-friendliness, we've got everything you need to find your perfect rental.