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.
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. One organisation that assists here is the Mobile Community Pantry run by Anglicare.