This blog post is for disabled young people in Victoria. It has information about the COVID-19 Rent Relief Grant.
Last updated 5 October 2020.
Go to our COVID-19 blog post for more information and resources for disabled young people.
Some of the words in this blog post are in bold. We have explained what these words mean in our COVID-19 glossary.
What is the COVID-19 Rent Relief Grant?
Many people in Victoria have lost their jobs because of COVID-19. If you cannot afford to pay your rent you can get help from the Victorian government.
You can apply for a one-off payment, called the COVID-19 Rent Relief Grant, that will go towards paying your rent.
The payment, of up to $2000, will be paid directly to your landlord to cover part of your rent.
Am I eligible?
To get the rent relief money:
You must be paying at least 30% of the money that you earn in rent.
Everyone in your house has to earn less than $1,903 per week in total.
You do not have to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
If you are not eligible for the Rent Relief Grant, you may be able to get other support, such as Commonwealth Rent Assistance through Centrelink.
What should I do if I cannot afford my rent?
If you cannot pay your rent you should contact your landlord or property manager.
The first thing you need to do is talk to them. They may be able to give you some other options to help you pay your rent. For example: Lowering your rent or letting you make payments later than usual.
When you reach an agreement, make sure it is in writing. Send the agreement to Consumer Affairs Victoria.
How do I talk with my landlord or property manager?
Talking about money can be hard. You and your landlord or property manager may want different things.
You do not have to talk to them by yourself. You can ask a family member or a friend to support you. Or you could go to an advocacy service and ask them for support.
There are different ways you can communicate with your landlord or property manager. You can:
- Make a phone call
Have a video chat
Send an email
You can ask someone you trust to support you. They can help you write an email or be part of a phone call or video chat.
When you communicate with your landlord it is important to have a goal. For example: Your goal could be to explain to your landlord that you are struggling to pay rent because of COVID-19.
If you explain that you are cannot afford to pay rent, your landlord may agree to lower your rent for several months.
If you are not sure where to start download Tenants Victoria’s template.
Make sure you fill in the form with your own details and situation.
You can also:
- Talk to your landlord about what makes you a good tenant. Example: You have always paid your rent on time before COVID-19.
Do not stop paying your rent. Pay as much as you can. This will show the landlord that you are trying.
Make sure you understand as much as you can about the the COVID-19 Rent Relief Grant. If you find it hard to understand, ask someone to help you.
If you and your landlord or property manager have tried to communicate but you cannot agree about what to do, you can try mediation.
Mediation is when a person who is not involved in a situation supports the people involved to work out their differences.
The person who is not involved is called a mediator. They will support the people involved to solve their problem so that they are all happy.
Mediation is a free service.
You can find out more about mediation on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website. Fill out this Consumer Affairs Victoria form to apply for mediation. https://online.justice.vic.gov.au/cav-forms/covidcomplaint.doj
What do I do when we reach an agreement?
When you reach an agreement with your landlord or property manager, make sure it is in writing. You need to register your new rental agreement with Consumer Affairs Victoria.
How do I register my rental agreement?
You have to register your agreement with Consumer Affairs Victoria. This means that you have to fill out this Consumer Affairs Victoria online form with details of your rental agreement.
What happens next?
Once you have completed the online form you will get an email with information about what else you need to send. Starting from the day you get the email, you have 14 business days to send the information.
If the Department of Health and Human Services doesn’t get the information within 14 business days, you may not get rental support money.
Business days are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The Department of Health and Human Services has to approve your application. Then your rental relief money should be paid within 2 weeks.
The Department of Health and Human Services will let you know when the money has been paid. They will also let you know if you are not able to get the rent relief money.
The money does not have to be paid back.
The Consumer Affairs Victoria website has more helpful information including:
RentRight, a smart phone app
Support for vulnerable or disadvantaged tenants Tenants Victoria gives free advice to people that rent residential accommodation in Victoria. You can call them on 1300 792 387 for rental advice.
For more information and resources about COVID-19 for disabled young people read our COVID-19 blog post.