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 one-off lump sum 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.
From 18 July 2021 the COVID-19 Disaster Payment will be available to those outside Commonwealth declared hotspots in NSW that meet the criteria for the payment.
You can find out how to claim the COVID-19 Disaster Payment at:
COVID-19 Disaster Payment amounts from 18 July 2021 to 31 July 2021:
- If you have lost 20 hours or more of work per week due to the COVID-19 lockdown you will be eligible to receive a recurring payment of $600 per week.
- If you have lost between 8 and less than 20 hours per week due to the COVID-19 lockdown, you will be eligible for a payment of $375 per week.
- If you have lost a full day of your usual work hours per week due to the COVID-19 lockdown, you will be eligible for a payment of $375 per week.
INCREASE to payments from 1 August to 28 August 2021:
- If you have lost 20 hours or more of work per week due to COVID-19 lockdown you will be eligible to receive a recurring payment of $750 per week
- If you have lost between 8 and less than 20 hours per week due to the COVID-19 lockdown, you will be eligible for a payment of $450 per week.
- If you have lost a full day of your usual work hours per week due to the COVID-19 lockdown, you will be eligible for a payment of $450 per week.
The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is another type of lumpsum payment available for people in NSW. It is available for people who must self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone who has COVID-19. You can find out more about this other type of payment here.
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.
Residential Tenancy Support Payment
If you are an impacted tenant and your landlord waives some of your rent from 14th July, they can claim the amount waived (up to $1500) under the Residential Tenancy Support Payment or as a deduction of any land tax (but not both).
They will need to provide evidence that they have waived the rent, such as rent receipts as well as prove a tenancy exists. The rental waiver can cover a longer period than the current 60 day moratorium, and landlords are able to waive more than $1500.
The online form for landlords to use to claim the money will not be live for a couple of weeks.
Other NSW Government assistance for private renters:
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
You can also 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.
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.
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.
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.
You can also find helpful guidance and tips on managing your finances on the Moneysmart website.
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.