On 29 March the federal government announced a six-month moratorium on evictions for struggling renters. Further rental relief options are being examined by the National Cabinet.
If you are on a Jobseeker payment then you may qualify for federal rent assistance.
On 3 April the prime minister said the National Cabinet was working on a "mandatory code" which will outline the eviction moratorium in greater detail.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic the Australian government has announced there will be rental relief in the form of a moratorium on evictions for six months (a moratorium means a temporary ban or suspension). While the details are unclear at this stage the prime minister has said that renters in "financial stress" will not be evicted during the pandemic.
It will be up to state and territory governments to enact the moratoriums, as rental tenancy agreements are legislated at the state level.
If you're a home owner or have a mortgage, lenders have expanded their hardship assistance programs for homeowners. Read on to find tips for struggling renters and current support options, including links to tenancy support organisations.
Can my landlord evict me during the coronavirus pandemic?
There is now a six-month moratorium on evictions in Australia for renters affected by coronavirus. This mean if you are unable to pay rent due to coronavirus-related financial stress then your landlord cannot evict you right now.
This does not mean that you can simply avoid paying rent or violate your lease in other ways, and the normal laws in your state or territory will still apply. But a moratorium means that eviction cannot take please.
Consult your state or territory's tenant's union or advisory service if you think you are being evicted illegally.
In Tasmania, there is also a specific state law that suspends evictions temporarily.
My real estate agent told me to access my superannuation to cover my rent?
If your real estate agent is giving you financial advice they are going beyond their role as an agent and potentially breaching the law. On 03 April the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) wrote a stern letter to real estate institutes reminding them not to provide unsolicited financial advice.
Always do your own research before making a financial decision and get advice from a licensed advisor if possible, or a debt counsellor.
Coronavirus rent support and policies by state
We will continue to update this page with more information as state, territory and federal governments announce changes to tenancy laws in response to the coronavirus.
Under the COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020, the NSW Housing Minister is now empowered to ban evictions via regulation when parliament isn't sitting.
While the language of the bill is quite technical (you can read more about it here) the amendment includes alterations to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 which give the minister authority to alter or enact regulations "prohibiting the recovery of possession of premises by a landlord, owner or proprietor of premises from a tenant or resident of the premises under the relevant Act in particular circumstances." These circumstances are specific to the COVID-19 pandemic and take effect when the NSW parliament is not sitting.
What this looks like in practice is unclear for now but will hopefully result in a moratorium on evictions.
The Tasmanian government has passed "a moratorium on the eviction of tenants for breaching a condition of their residential tenancy agreement, where that breach relates to rent being in arrears. A property owner will not be able to issue a notice to vacate for this reason during the emergency period."
In other words, while you still need to pay rent, your landlord can't evict you during the emergency period. This period is currently 120 days, but could be extended by a further 90 days.
The Tasmanian parliament passed the COVID-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2020 on March 26.
Tips for tenants who can't afford rent because of coronavirus
If you're currently struggling to pay rent because of unemployment or lost income here are some basic steps to take:
Know your rights as a renter. Read up on tenancy laws where you live and check your lease for specific details covering what you and landlord can and can't do.
Talk to your landlord. If you can't make repayments you should communicate this to your landlord. We know, your landlord is unlikely to waive your rental payments. But they need to know your situation and who knows, compassion may prevail (or they may offer a temporary rent reduction).
Get in touch with your local tenancy support service. There are organisations in every state and territory that offer counselling and legal guidance to struggling tenants. We've listed these organisations below.
Check if you're eligible for unemployment benefits. If you've lost your job recently then you may be eligible for a JobSeeker allowance or other payment. This payment has been increased due to COVID-19. If eligible, this could help you cover rent and bills.
Existing government rent support in each state and territory
At the federal level the government offers rent assistance to eligible renters. You typically need to be receiving government support already to qualify.
There is some support for struggling renters at the state/territory level. The following pages are official government sites listing housing and rent information, including tenancy rules and types of rebates, payments and other support you may be eligible for.
Tenancy support organisations in each state and territory
Here's a list of specific organisations that offer support and legal guidance for renters in each state and territory. These are not government services but voluntary organisations and unions that help renters.
Please know that whatever financial and emotional stress you're suffering, you are not alone. Call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 if you need help.
Need to save some quick cash?
If you're struggling to keep up with your finances - you're not alone. You can save plenty of cash by doing some simple admin with your bills and expenses. Maybe switching credit cards or downgrading your mobile phone plan could save some money.
Richard Whitten is Finder's senior home loans writer. He helps Australians understand the ins and outs of mortgages so they can find lower rates and make smarter property decisions. Richard trained as a high school English teacher at the University of Sydney, but found that mortgage management was more rewarding than classroom management. Before working at Finder he lived in Seoul, where he edited textbooks and ran communication courses for Korean corporations.
How likely would you be to recommend finder to a friend or colleague?
Very UnlikelyExtremely Likely
Thank you for your feedback.
Our goal is to create the best possible product, and your thoughts, ideas and suggestions play a major role in helping us identify opportunities to improve.
Important information about this website
finder.com.au is one of Australia's leading comparison websites. We compare from a wide set of banks, insurers and product issuers. We value our editorial independence and follow editorial guidelines.
finder.com.au has access to track details from the product issuers listed on our sites. Although we provide information on the products offered by a wide range of issuers, we don't cover every available product or service.
Please note that the information published on our site should not be construed as personal advice and does not consider your personal needs and circumstances. While our site will provide you with factual information and general advice to help you make better decisions, it isn't a substitute for professional advice. You should consider whether the products or services featured on our site are appropriate for your needs. If you're unsure about anything, seek professional advice before you apply for any product or commit to any plan.
Products marked as 'Promoted' or 'Advertisement' are prominently displayed either as a result of a commercial advertising arrangement or to highlight a particular product, provider or feature. Finder may receive remuneration from the Provider if you click on the related link, purchase or enquire about the product. Finder's decision to show a 'promoted' product is neither a recommendation that the product is appropriate for you nor an indication that the product is the best in its category. We encourage you to use the tools and information we provide to compare your options.
Where our site links to particular products or displays 'Go to site' buttons, we may receive a commission, referral fee or payment when you click on those buttons or apply for a product. You can learn more about how we make money here.
When products are grouped in a table or list, the order in which they are initially sorted may be influenced by a range of factors including price, fees and discounts; commercial partnerships; product features; and brand popularity. We provide tools so you can sort and filter these lists to highlight features that matter to you.
We try to take an open and transparent approach and provide a broad-based comparison service. However, you should be aware that while we are an independently owned service, our comparison service does not include all providers or all products available in the market.
Some product issuers may provide products or offer services through multiple brands, associated companies or different labelling arrangements. This can make it difficult for consumers to compare alternatives or identify the companies behind the products. However, we aim to provide information to enable consumers to understand these issues.
Providing or obtaining an estimated insurance quote through us does not guarantee you can get the insurance. Acceptance by insurance companies is based on things like occupation, health and lifestyle. By providing you with the ability to apply for a credit card or loan, we are not guaranteeing that your application will be approved. Your application for credit products is subject to the Provider's terms and conditions as well as their application and lending criteria.