The COVID-19 pandemic has had a sizeable effect on Australia's housing market, with rental price rises in the nation's capital cities spiking up to 21%, while available affordable housing plummets. With prices expected to continue rising, this will put a lot of financial strain upon individuals and families. As such, we've put together some information and resources to help you to manage this rental pressure.

If you need support or just someone to talk to, our Sonder support team is available to chat at any time.


ACT

Those in need of rental assistance can apply to Services Australia for Rent Assistance, which is eligible for:

  • People with dependent children

  • People without dependent children

  • People in different circumstances

There are also resources available to those in the ACT who are need of emergency accommodation:

  • One Link - Information and connections for support services in the ACT, including services for families and young people, and services for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Ph: 1800 176 468

  • Domestic Violence Crisis Service - 24/7 ph: (02) 6280 0900

  • The Early Morning Centre - A community hub supporting Canberra people who are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing homelessness, and those experiencing social isolation.

Northern Territory

Those in need of rental assistance can apply to Services Australia for Rent Assistance, which is eligible for:

  • People with dependent children

  • People without dependent children

  • People in different circumstances

New South Wales

Those in need of rental assistance can apply to Services Australia for Rent Assistance, which is eligible for:

  • People with dependent children

  • People without dependent children

  • People in different circumstances

For those who are in need of rental support in NSW, Rentstart is available to provide financial assistance to eligible clients to help them set up or maintain a tenancy in the private rental market. There are five types of Rentstart assistance:

  • Rentstart Bond Loan – An interest-free loan where you can apply for up to 100% of a rental bond. In exceptional circumstances, Housing NSW may provide a loan of up to 100% of the bond. Your repayment plan is based on how much of your income is spent on rent.

  • Advance Rent – A grant that is provided to clients who already have a Rentstart Bond Loan, but are finding it difficult to meet the set-up costs of their tenancy. It's also available to help clients who are moving into caravan parks, or registered boarding houses and hostels where a deposit is needed, rather than a bond having to be lodged with the Bond Board. In this instance, up to 100% of the key money, or security bond, or other deposit is provided. Advance Rent is a grant and doesn't need to be repaid.

  • Rentstart Move – This assistance is for those who want to leave public housing or who are no longer eligible for it and have to vacate their property. If a client meets the Rentstart Move criteria, DCJ Housing will provide a bond loan for up to 100% of a private rental bond.

  • Tenancy Assistance – This is a once-only payment in a 12-month period, to help clients who've fallen behind with their rent and/or water bill. The maximum amount of assistance is limited to the equivalent of 4 weeks' rent. It's not provided as a loan and does not have to be repaid.

  • Temporary Accommodation – This is a short-term measure to provide limited accommodation in low-cost motels or caravan parks for clients who are homeless. Usually, the assistance is limited to a few days until clients can make their own more permanent arrangements.

You can check if you're eligible for Rentstart here.

Queensland

Those in need of rental assistance can apply to Services Australia for Rent Assistance, which is eligible for:

  • People with dependent children

  • People without dependent children

  • People in different circumstances

The Queensland government also has a dedicated 'Help with renting' section on its website that has rental and housing resources, including:

Aside from rental programs and assistance, there are also other government resources available for emergency accommodation and homelessness:

South Australia

Those in need of rental assistance can apply to Services Australia for Rent Assistance, which is eligible for:

  • People with dependent children

  • People without dependent children

  • People in different circumstances

South Australia also has a Private Rental Assistance Program Policy which provides financial assistance to eligible customers who:

  • Have difficulty meeting the upfront costs associated with renting privately

  • Need help to maintain their accommodation.

Tasmania

Those in need of rental assistance can apply to Services Australia for Rent Assistance, which is eligible for:

  • People with dependent children

  • People without dependent children

  • People in different circumstances

Tasmania's Department of Communities has a Private Rental Incentives Program that encourages property owners to make their homes available for affordable rent to low income households with low or no support needs. Head over to the website here for more information and to see if you are eligible.

Victoria

Those in need of rental assistance can apply to Services Australia for Rent Assistance, which is eligible for:

  • People with dependent children

  • People without dependent children

  • People in different circumstances

For those in Victoria in need of rental and housing support, the government has a dedicated HousingVIC website where people can find resources and seek assistance. HousingVIC has rental and housing resources that includes:

Victoria also has urgent housing helplines that can be contacted:

  • Homeless/Risk of Homelessness

    • Free 24/7 phone line 1800 825 955 will refer you to help nearby or to Salvation Army Crisis Services

  • Family Violence/Domestic Violence

    • Free 24/7 phone line - Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre - 1800 015 188

Western Australia

Those in need of rental assistance can apply to Services Australia for Rent Assistance, which is eligible for:

  • People with dependent children

  • People without dependent children

  • People in different circumstances

The WA government also provides Rental Assistance Options via the Department of Communities to those on a low to moderate income who have a housing need. These rental housing options include:

In addition to housing options, the Department of Communities and the Federal government also provides financial assistance options:

Related reading:


If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, The Urban Developer

Image credit: Community

All content in Sonder's Help Centre is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

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