Financial support

Your rent payments are a fundamental part of your tenancy. Not paying your rent is a breach of your agreement and can lead to a substantial debt and even losing your home if you don't take steps to manage it.

If you have lost income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic there is financial support available.

The NSW Government has a general webpage that provides a list of all of services and assistance available to NSW residents here. You can go to the COVID-19 Assistance Finder and answer a quick questionnaire that will direct you to the services available to you.

 

COVID-19 Disaster Payments for people not receiving Centrelink payments

 

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is a payment to help workers unable to earn income due to a Covid-19 state public health order. This may involve lockdown, hot spot or movement restrictions.  

You may be eligible if all of the following apply:

  • you have lost hours of work and lost income
  • you don’t have access to appropriate paid leave entitlements through your employer
  • you’re not getting an income support payment (e.g. JobSeeker, Austudy or Disability Support Pension), a state or territory pandemic payment, Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or state small business payment for the same period.

You can find out how to claim the COVID-19 Disaster Payment at:

 https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/covid-19-disaster-payment/how-claim.

CHANGES TO THIS PAYMENT AFTER NSW REACHES 70% VACCINATION TARGET:  

Now that NSW has reached its 70 per cent double vaccination target, there will be no automatic payments of the COVID-19 Disaster Payment. If you're still affected by movement restrictions and continue to be eligible for this payment (e.g. if you or your workplace are still affected by a hotspot declaration), you must reapply for the payment on a weekly basis as needed: servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/covid-19-disaster-payment-new-south-wales-if-you-dont-get-centrelink-or-dva-payment

 

New COVID-19 Disaster Payment for people who receive a Centrelink payment

 

This payment is for people who are already receiving a Centrelink payment and have not been able to work  due to NSW public health orders. 

You may be eligible if all of the following apply:

  • you're getting an income support payment, Abstudy Living Allowance, Dad and Partner Pay or Parental Leave Pay
  • you’re not getting a state or territory pandemic payment, Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or state small business payment for the same period.
  • you live in or work in a Commonwealth declared COVID-19 hot spot that is subject to a state restricted movement order
  • you were unable to earn your usual income of 8 hours or more or a full day's work 
  • you have lost income on or after day 8 and you don’t have access to appropriate paid leave entitlements through your employer

Further details on eligibility can be found here

If you are eligible you will receive an additional $200 per week on top of your usual Centrelink payment. 

Details on how to apply for this payment online can be found here.  

CHANGES TO THIS PAYMENT AFTER NSW REACHES 70% VACCINATION TARGET:  

Now that NSW has reached its 70 per cent double vaccination target, there will be no automatic payments of the COVID-19 Disaster Payment. If you're still affected by movement restrictions and continue to be eligible for this payment (e.g. if you or your workplace are still affected by a hotspot declaration), you must reapply for the payment on a weekly basis as needed: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/covid-19-disaster-payment-new-south-wales-if-you-get-centrelink-or-dva-payment/how-claim   

COVID-19 Financial Incentives for Landlords

 

The NSW Government has introduced financial incentives that can be claimed by landlords who provide a rent reduction to tenants impacted by COVID-19 during this period. If you are an ‘impacted tenant’, you can advise your landlord that if they provide you with a rent reduction, then they can claim one of the following two types of government payments:

1.    Residential Tenancy Support Payment 

On Wednesday 14 July 2021, it was announced that this would be a payment of up to $1,500. On Monday 16 August 2021 this payment was increased to $3,000. This payment has now been increased to $4,500.

Landlords who have already claimed up to $3,000 can make a further claim for reduced rent up to a total of $4,500.

  • The amount for each landlord is capped at the rent reduction passed onto you, or $4,500 – whichever is the lower.
  • Landlords cannot ask you to repay the reduced amount of rent that has been paid to them under the Residential Tenancy Support Payment.
  • Landlords/agents can apply for the Residential Tenancy Support Payment here.
  • To apply, landlords or their managing agent will need to provide:
    • proof to show a tenancy agreement exists (the rental bond lodgement number is preferred, or if no bond has been lodged, a copy of the residential tenancy agreement),
    • a copy of the written agreement they have with you to reduce the rent (entered into on or after 14 July 2021),
    • a consent signed by all tenants to share their personal details with NSW Fair Trading, and
    • a nominated account for payment. 

You will be notified by NSW Fair Trading when they receive an application for this payment by your landlord, and when the payment is approved. You will also be notified when the payment has been made to your landlord. 

Online application for the Residential Tenancy Support Payment

2.    COVID-19 land tax benefit 

  • This incentive is available to landowners who have a have a 2021 land tax liability.
  • Eligible landlords who provide a reduction in rent to a COVID-19  impacted tenant between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021, can receive a reduction in land tax payable for the relevant parcel of land.
  • The amount for each landlord is capped at the rent reduction passed onto you, or 100 per cent of the 2021 land tax attributable to the parcel of land, whichever is the lower. 
  • Landlords can apply for the COVID-19 land tax benefit here.

Regardless of which of the above payments your landlord applies for, when you do reach an agreement with your landlord for a rent reduction, it must be in writing. Tenants can use this NSW Fair Trading template agreement to ensure that their agreement is in writing.

 

 

Other NSW Government assistance 

Payments and Resources

The NSW Government has a general webpage that provides a list of all of services and assistance available to NSW residents here. You can go to the COVID-19 Assistance Finder and answer a quick questionnaire that will direct you to the services available to you.

The Test and Support Payment is a $320 payment you can apply for if you are over 17 years old, have had a COVID-19 test, and need to self-isolate or care for someone who is required to self-isolate. You can find out more about this payment here

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is another type of lumpsum payment available for people in NSW. It is available for people who have been directed by NSW Health to self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone who has COVID-19. You can find out more about this payment here

This Payment Guide helps you to check what payments you can manage and claim if you or your family are affected by COVID-19.

For Private renters

For financial assistance with your tenancy, check out rent assistance products available through the Department of Communities and Justice to see if you meet eligibility requirements, especially if you were already struggling prior to COVID-19.  DCJ Housing offers rent assistance for people  looking for private rental, they can help pay for urgent rental costs and can also help people start a tenancy with an interest-free bond loan, or keep a tenancy with help to pay the rent.

Help setting up a new private rental includes a tenancy guarantee; Rentstart Bond Loan; Advance Rent for Bond Loan and additional assistance for public housing tenants looking to move Help keeping your current private rental includes Tenancy Assistance with rent and water arrears; Rent Choice Assist helps with rent payments; Rent Choice Start Safely for people escaping domestic violence; Rent Choice Veterans for former ADF members; Rent Choice Youth for people aged 16 to 24 years and Private Rental Subsidy for people waiting for public housing.  Note - there is currently a reference to Rent Choice Assist COVID-19, this program closed in July.

Information about these products is available in factsheets in community languages:

Simplified Chinese  |  Traditional Chinese  |  Arabic  |  Dari  |  Farsi  |  Vietnamese

You can find an analysis of rental assistance programs available to tenants in NSW here.

 

Managing bills and debts

 

The Sydney Water Payment Assistance Scheme (PAS) provides emergency relief to customers struggling to pay their water bill. If you are a tenant, who pays your own water usage (you have your own meter), you can enquire about this scheme by calling 13 20 92 . You will need to provide a copy of your tenancy agreement. 

You can also visit one of Sydney Water's community agencies (listed on its website) for a confidential chat about your circumstances. Sydney Water can assist with one of its qualified case coordinators, or accredited community agencies, who will talk to you about your situation and apply PAS credits directly to your Sydney Water bill if you're eligible. To learn more about the assistance available from Sydney Water please see its website here

If you are having trouble paying your energy bills the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has a very useful factsheet about hardship and your rights and what you can do to seek help from your energy provider. You may be eligible for an Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) payment for help with your energy bills.  You can apply for this online via Services NSW or by calling an approved non-government EAPA provider

If you are having trouble paying rent or utilities you may be eligible for a no interest loan of up to $3,000 through Good Shepherd ANZ. More information and applications can be made here.

If you are having trouble paying loans, you can contact your financial institution regarding hardship arrangements. If you find yourself in dispute regarding your claim with a bank you can contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

 

Financial advice

 

You can get free financial advice from a financial counsellor. See the Financial Rights Legal Centre website to find a service near you.

You can call the National Debt Hotline on 1800 007 007 for free and confidential advice from professional financial counsellors. The hotline is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Information and tips

Economic Justice Australia has useful resources about JobSeeker and about other Centrelink payments during COVID-19.

The Moneysmart website has information about support and services for making financial decisions during COVID-19.

 

Food relief

 

If you need assistance with food, you can check Food Relief Services in NSW. Other organisations that assist here are the Mobile Community Pantry run by Anglicare and Addi Road Food Pantry. You will find another useful link posted on the ABC on 28 July 2021 here.