Need urgent housing?
If you are in immediate danger Call 000.
Are you homeless or at risk of homelessness?
Free 24 hour phone line. Someone will take your call to get you help nearby. If after hours, they will refer you to the Salvation Army Crisis Services.
Are you escaping family violence?
Free 24 hour phone line. Someone will take your call from Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre.
If you are experiencing rental hardship due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for assistance.

The Victorian Government has recently announced rent relief grants for Victorians experiencing rental hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. 

The package provides a one off grant to help Victorian renters maintain safe, secure and stable accommodation.

NOTE: Applications closed at 11:59pm on 28 March 2021.

On this page

Questions and answers

What is the rent-relief grant?

The Victorian Government has established a rental assistance fund to provide rent relief payments of up to $3,000 to Victorians experiencing rental hardship due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The one off grant is specifically for renters living in their primary residence to help them maintain safe, secure and stable accommodation. It is paid directly to the renter's agent or residential rental provider to contribute to the renter's rental payments after a rent reduction agreement has been lodged with Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Have settings for the rent relief grant changed?

Yes, the Victorian Government has increased the grant from $2,000 to $3,000 and extended the time you can lodge your grant application until 28 March 2021. The amount of personal savings you can hold to be eligible for the grant also increased from $5,000 to $10,000 on 4 September 2020. 

I have already applied for the initial grant amount of $2,000, but haven’t heard the outcome of my application. Do I need to reapply to receive the increased amount of $3,000?

No. We will calculate the full amount up to the $3,000 limit with the details you provided in your existing application. 

I received a grant before the increase came in on 20 August 2020. Am I eligible to receive another payment at the higher rate of $3,000?

Yes. If you continue to meet the eligibility criteria and have already received a grant of up to $2,000, we will automatically calculate whether you are eligible for an additional payment of up to $1,000. We will contact you to confirm your tenancy is still current and eligible. You do not need to take any action. 

I applied for the grant or my application was rejected before the personal savings limit was increased to $10,000. Will my application be re-assessed with the new savings limit?

Yes. You do not need to do anything. We will advise you if you are eligible for the grant taking into account the new savings limit. If you have already received a grant, the new saving limit will not affect you or the amount of grant you have received. 

Who is eligible for the grant?

The grant will assist renters in Victoria experiencing financial hardship due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

To be eligible for the grant you will need to have registered a reduced rental agreement with Consumer Affairs Victoria.  Deferral of rent is not considered a rent reduction and therefore does not meet the eligibility criteria.  Your household income must be less than $1,903 per week, and you have less than $10,000 in savings and still be paying at least 30 per cent of your income in rent. 

There are no citizenship or permanent residency requirements for applicants. Applicants that may be eligible include casual workers on holiday and working visas, international students, skilled visa holders, seasonal workers, New Zealand citizens and all refugee and temporary protection visa holders.

Am I eligible if I live in a multi-occupancy house with a shared lease?

Yes. If you are one of the lease holders in your home and meet the eligibility criteria you may qualify for a grant that represents your portion of the rent.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty paying your rent due to a loss or reduction of income due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, in the first instance you and the other renters on the lease should contact your agent or residential rental provider to negotiate an alternative arrangement such as rent reduction.

Should I stop paying my rent?

No. To avoid breaching your residential rental agreement it is important you continue to pay your rent, or have a rental credit.

If you are experiencing rental hardship, in the first instance you should contact your agent or residential rental provider to discuss your individual circumstances.

Consumer Affairs Victoria’s dispute resolution service may be able to provide advice on how to resolve rent issues.

For more information, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) and your rights page.

I’m a residential rental provider, does this mean I don’t need to agree to a rent reduction with my renter??

Residential rental providers should still negotiate in good faith with their renters.
To be eligible for rent relief renters must have either:

  1. negotiated a rental reduction with their real estate agent or residential rental provider; or
  2. have undertaken a dispute resolution or mediation process with Consumer Affairs Victoria

The amount of the rental relief grant paid on behalf of renters is based on reduced rent arrangements negotiated between the renter and residential rental provider. The grant should be treated as a deposit amount to the rental balance and has the same effect as if the renter had made a rental payment. The grant should not be used as a top-up for the residential rental provider to make up the difference between the previous rent and the reduced rent agreed as part of a rent deduction.

How do I apply for a grant - Applications have now closed

Applications for a grant closed at 11:59pm on 28 March 2021.

Late applications were accepted for a two week period, until 11:59pm on 11 April 2021 where a new rental agreement had been lodged with Consumer Affairs Victoria by 11.59pm on 28 March 2021.

What happens after I complete my application?

If you need to provide additional information, you will receive an email with the detail required to complete the assessment of your application. You will have 14 business days from that email to provide this. If we don’t receive it within this timeframe, your application may be assessed as ineligible.

How soon will relief payments be available?

Once your application has been approved, your rental relief payment will typically be processed within two weeks. The payment is made directly to your agent or residential rental provider. The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing will inform you once the payment is made.

What if I leave my tenancy before my application is processed?

If your tenancy circumstances change before you receive the grant you will need to advise us. Please email RentRelief@dhhs.vic.gov.au. In the event that you do not advise us of your change of circumstances in time and the grant is paid to your agent or residential rental provider, the grant will be treated as follows: 

  • if your tenancy ended on or after 28 September 2020, your agent or residential rental provider will be required to return the grant to the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing if your tenancy ended before 28 September 2020, your agent or residential rental provider is required to refund any unused credit to you.
What can the grant be used for?

The rent relief grant is specifically for the purpose of supporting eligible people experiencing rental hardship. 

The payment will be made directly by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing to your residential rental provider or real estate agent as a credit towards your rental payments. The grant should be treated as a deposit amount to the rental balance and has the same effect as if you had made a rental payment.

How is the amount of the grant calculated?

We will calculate the amount of grant to a maximum $3,000 you can be paid when we assess your application. The amount of grant is dependent on your income, and the level of reduced rent you are paying. The grant is to be calculated as follows:

  • Where the amount the person is paying on rent is above 30% of their income and this difference between 30% of their income and their rent is:
    • more than $77 per week the applicant will receive the full $3,000 grant
    • less than $77 per week, the grant will be calculated as 39 weeks multiplied by this amount.
How are single and couple applicants assessed for the grant?

If an applicant is single, then their application will be assessed against each of the eligibility criteria.
If the applicant is a member of a couple, then their application will be assessed against each of the eligibility criteria as follows:

  • Only one person needs to demonstrate their income or working hours have been affected by a COVID-19 event
  • Only one person needs to have an agreement registered with Consumer Affairs Victoria to reduce rent
  • Only one person in the couple needs to be listed on a bond or other accommodation agreement
  • The couple is jointly assessed on income, assets and rental stress
  • If all of the criteria are satisfied, the couple is eligible for one rental grant.
     
What if I leave my tenancy or it ends before I receive the grant?

If your tenancy circumstances change before you receive the grant you will need to advise us. Please email RentRelief@dhhs.vic.gov.au. In the event that you do not advise us of your change of circumstances in time and the grant is paid to your agent or residential rental provider, the grant will be treated as follows: 

  • If your tenancy ended on or after 28 September 2020, your agent or residential rental provider will be required to return the grant to the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing
  • If your tenancy ended before 28 September 2020, your agent or residential rental provider is required to refund any unused credit to you.
What if I leave my tenancy and I have not used any or all of the grant credit?

If your tenancy ends on or after 28 September 2020 and you have not used the full credit amount from the grant, your agent or residential rental provider is responsible for returning the unused credit to the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing. You and your real estate agent or residential rental provider must agree on the unused grant amount to be returned to the department. If you cannot agree on this amount, you can seek help from Consumer Affairs Victoria. If your tenancy ended before 28 September 2020, your residential rental provider or agent should refund any unused credit to you.

What if I am in urgent need of somewhere to stay?

If you or someone you know is in immediate need of crisis or emergency accommodation, please contact the statewide after-hours service on 1800 825 955 (free call) Monday to Friday and 24 hours on weekends and public holidays. This number will direct your call to a service closest to you, or if the call is outside business hours, it will be directed to Salvation Army Crisis Services.

If the housing issue relates to family violence, please phone the Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre on 1800 015 188 (free call) or (03) 9322 3555 open 24 hours.

What if I’m not eligible but I’m at risk of losing my tenancy for other reasons?

Other rental support programs are available for people either at risk of or experiencing homelessness. These include:

  • RentAssist Bond Loan – If you want to rent privately and need assistance with the bond, you may be able to borrow the money for an interest free loan
  • Commonwealth Rental Assistance - a payment to assist with rental costs for eligible people getting a Centrelink payment
  • Financial help for private renters - information about concessions, hardship support, loans, financial advice and counselling
  • In home support – programs and services that may help people stay in their rented home 
  • Rental advice – organisations that provide specialist advice on renting, tenancy issues and relationship and general dispute resolution 

You can find out more about these services at help with renting page.

If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness, you may also 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.

To find out more information contact 1800 825 955 (free call) Monday to Friday and 24 hours on weekends and public holidays.

How many grant applications and payments have been approved?

Number of renters assisted to 24 May 2021

33,619

Total grant amount approved to 24 May 2021

$79,071,846

Where can I find more information?

For residential tenancy matters, contact Consumer Affairs Victoria or Tenants Victoria.

If you need to contact the department about your grant application please email RentRelief@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

If you would like to access the COVID-19 Rent Relief Grant Operational Guidelines, visit the Housing and homelessness - coronavirus (COVID-19) page on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

For the latest information and health advice about COVID-19, visit Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) page on the Department of Health and Human Services website.