FAQs – for renters during the COVID-19 crisis
What is the rental moratorium?
From March until the end of September there is a statewide ban on evictions.
And there will be no rent increases until after October 15, this includes social housing rental properties owned and managed by us.
What should I do if I can’t pay my rent?
Don’t ignore the problem. Not paying rent is a breach of your tenancy agreement.
Contact your tenancy and property manager as soon as possible if you are in rental hardship.
What does rental hardship mean?
Rental hardship is where a tenant is paying more than 30 per cent of their income in rent and may have limited personal savings and/or access to other benefits or support.
If your hardship is due to the coronavirus pandemic you may have access to a range of financial assistance, including Commonwealth income support payments, or the State Government’s rent relief scheme.
What is the rent relief scheme?
Eligible tenants will receive up to $2000 in relief payments under the scheme.
Tenants must prove they are in rental distress, i.e., paying more than 30 per cent of their wage or entitlements on rent, and must have less than $5000 in savings in the bank.
For detailed information about the scheme and eligibility contact Consumer Affairs Victoria.
What income supports are available?
The Commonwealth has temporarily expanded eligibility to income support payments and established a new Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight starting on 27 April 2020. This supplement will be paid to existing and new recipients of the eligible payment categories (see table below) including Jobseeker (formerly Newstart).
The Government is also providing two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession cardholders. The first payment has been made, and the second payment will be available to people who are eligible payment recipients and concession card holders on 10 July 2020.
A person can be eligible to receive both the first and second support payment, however, they can only receive one $750 payment in each round of payments, even if they qualify in each round of the payments in multiple ways.
Who is eligible for these income supports?
To be eligible, you must have been residing in Australia and be receiving one of the following payments, or hold one of the following concession cards, at any time from 12 March 2020 to 13 April 2020, inclusive:
BENEFITS ELIGIBLE FOR ECONOMIC SUPPORT PAYMENTS
|Payment / card||2020 First Economic Support Payment $750||2020 Second Economic Support Payment $750||Eligible for Coronavirus supplement $550 p/fortnight|
|Disability Support Pension||✓||✓|
|Widow B Pension||✓||✓|
|ABSTUDY (Living Allowance)||✓||✓|
|Newstart Allowance / JobSeeker Payment||✓||✓|
|Partner Allowance / JobSeeker Payment||✓||✓|
|Sickness Allowance / JobSeeker Payment||✓||✓|
|Widow Allowance / JobSeeker Payment||✓||✓|
|Family Tax Benefit||✓ (Per recipient)||✓ (Per recipient)|
|Double Orphan Pension||✓||✓|
|Carer Allowance||✓ (Per recipient)||✓ (Per recipient)|
|Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) holders||✓||✓|
|Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders||✓||✓|
|Veteran Service Pension; Veteran Income Support Supplement; Veteran Compensation payments, including lump sum payments; War Widow(er) Pension; and Veteran Payment.||✓||✓|
|DVA PCC holders; DVA Education Scheme recipients; Disability Pensioners at the temporary special rate; DVA Income support pensioners at $0 rate.||✓||✓|
|Veteran Gold Card holders||✓||✓|
|Farm Household Allowance||✓||✓|
What if I am homeless or at risk of becoming homeless?
You may be eligible for assistance under the Private Rental Assistance Program (PRAP). The program aims to secure and sustain housing in the private rental market through financial assistance for rent in advance, rental arrears and rental subsidies, minor property modifications, and skills training including financial management and budgeting.
We provide PRAP assistance in Bendigo and Mildura.
What if I am having trouble paying my bills and buying food?
Emergency Relief can help you meet your immediate financial and/or material support needs. The type of one-off assistance can include:
- food, transport or chemist vouchers
- part-payment of utility account/s
- food parcels
- budgeting assistance and/or
- referrals to other services
We are one of many community agencies that provide Emergency Relief. You should make an appointment at an office nearest to you: Preston, Bendigo, Mildura, and Geelong.
I live alone and I am in self-isolation. How can I get food and groceries?
If you are self-isolating due to coronavirus and have little or no food, and no network of family and friends, you are eligible to receive a two-week supply of essential goods.
You can access this service by calling Victoria’s dedicated coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.