How to get rental assistance — 5 places to look for help
Sometimes life throws you a curveball, and you need a little help to get by. If you need some help finding rental assistance and figuring how to get it, then look no further. We cover everything from Centrelink Rent Assistance to fast cash jobs that can help.
- Rental Assistance vs Rent Assistance
- Centrelink Rent Assistance
- Other Government Options
- Not-for-Profits and Charities Offering Rental Assistance
- Fast Cash Jobs
- Rent Loans
Rental Assistance vs Rent Assistance
These terms often get used interchangeably, and it can make things a bit confusing.
Rental assistance is a generic term, which refers to many different ways of getting help to pay your rent.
Whereas Rent Assistance is the name of a supplementary Centrelink payment. This payment is provided by the government to help people meet the costs of rent. It is a type of rental assistance.
Centrelink Rent Assistance
Centrelink Rent Assistance is the most common way to get longer-term rent payment help.
This is a supplementary payment, so you must be getting another Centrelink payment to be eligible. The amount you receive with rent assistance will depend on your rent, the number of dependents, if you are partnered, if you live by yourself or in shared accommodation, and your income.
How to get Centrelink Rent Assistance
There isn’t a specific Centrelink form to complete to get a support payment for rent. So you won’t need to submit an additional claim in order to apply (hurray!).
All you need to do is update your accommodation and address information on myGov. From there, you will be contacted automatically if you qualify for Centrelink Rent Assistance. Keep in mind that you will also need to submit proof of rent arrangements.
To be eligible for Rent Assistance from Centrelink you must be getting one of the following payments:
- JobSeeker Payment—between 22 and Age Pension age and looking for work
- Youth Allowance—24 or younger and a student or Australian Apprentice, or 21 or younger and looking for work
- ABSTUDY Living Allowance—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians studying or training
- Austudy—25 or older and studying full-time or an Australian Apprentice
- Age Pension—Australian residents of Age Pension age (currently 66, changing to 67 from 2023)
- Farm Household Allowance—farming families
- Partner Allowance—closed to new claims
- Widow Allowance—new claims are closed
- Special Benefit—if you’re not eligible for any other income support from Centrelink.
You will also need to be paying one of the following:
- Fees in a retirement village
- Board and/or lodging
- Site or mooring fees
The below table lists the minimum fortnightly rent needed in order to be eligible:
|You are||Number of dependent children||Minimum fortnightly rent to be eligible|
|1 of a couple separated due to illness||0||$127.60|
|1 of a couple temporarily separated||0||$127.60|
Source: Services Australia
Can I get Centrelink Rent Assistance if I work?
You can get Rent Assistance from Centrelink if you work and earn under a certain amount. Once you earn over that amount your income will affect your Centrelink payments. How much you can earn before it affects your payment will depend on what other Centrelink payment/s you get.
How much can I get from Centrelink Rent Assistance?
It will depend on your individual living, family, and income circumstances. Centrelink requires your rent to be above a minimum amount (listed above) before they offer support. You will get 75c for every $1 of rent you pay over this amount.
The maximum payment you can get is below, along with the minimum fortnightly rent needed to get it.
|You are||Number of dependent children||Maximum fortnightly payment||Minimum fortnightly rent|
|1 of a couple separated due to illness||0||$318||$142.80|
|1 of a couple temporarily separated||0||$307.07||$134.60|
Source: Services Australia
Will Centrelink Rent Assistance affect my credit score?
Getting Rent Assistance from Centrelink will not affect your credit score. However, not paying your rent can. If you’re worried about missing a rent payment, it’s better to seek help beforehand.
Can Rent Assistance be back paid?
It can be back paid to the date that you applied, but not any earlier. Also, be aware that these payments are not taxable.
Each state also has its own additional set of relief options in place for people affected by COVID-19. More information on what rental assistance your state or territory offers is below.
Other government options
If you don’t qualify for Rent Assistance from Centrelink, then there are other government payments you may be eligible for:
COVID-19 Disaster Payment
You can use the COVID-19 Disaster Payment for rent relief. This financial support is available to those whose livelihood has been disrupted by COVID-19. There are options available for tenants, landlords, and businesses alike.
This payment is constantly changing
Keep in mind that the assistance available will continue to change as the COVID-19 situation develops. So it’s best to check the COVID-19 Disaster Payment page and your state or territory government website for the most up-to-date information.
If you’re a worker struggling to pay rent because of COVID-19, you may be able to get the COVID-19 Disaster Payment. This Centrelink support payment is available to those who have been impacted by a public health order such as a lockdown or hotspot declaration.
If you’re a business, you can visit the Australian Government COVID-19 financial support for small businesses page. There are options available nationwide and within each state and territory.
How much can I get?
How much financial support you get depends on which state or territory you live in. Visit Services Australia for detailed information about your state or territory.
As your state or territory reaches 70% and 80% double dose vaccinations, the amount of support being provided will decrease. Currently, the support payment is being phased out after 80% is reached.
Government rental assistance by state and territory
Each Australian state and territory has different options available for people in financial hardship or struggling to pay rent. Visit the relevant government website listed below to get the information and help specific to your state or territory.
How to get Government rental assistance in your state or territory:
- Queensland—Bond Loans and Rental Grants
- New South Wales—Rental assistance
- Victoria—Help with renting
- South Australia—Help paying bond and rent
- Western Australia—Rental Assistance Options
- Tasmania—Rental Services
- Northern Territory—Help with set up costs for a private rental (rental bond assistance only)
- Australian Capital Territory—Housing Assistance
Not-for-profits and charities offering rental assistance
If you aren’t eligible for government assistance, there are plenty of other avenues you can look down for help. Not-for-profits and charity organisations can be a great option if you’re struggling to pay rent. You will pretty much always be dealing with a person and they’ll be able to look at your individual situation.
How to get rental assistance from charities
A lot of charities have an online presence now that you can contact for help.
Here are some options to check out:
- Tenancy assist with Wesley Mission
- Financial Assistance with The Salvation Army
- Grants and financial support with UnitingCare
- Find Help by state with St Vincent de Paul Society
- Help with money with Anglicare
You can also check the Australian Government Grants Service Directory for a full list of organisations offering emergency financial relief.
Cash jobs to help you pay rent
If you’re a little short on money for rent this week you can always pick up a job or two to help get you the cash you need. One of the wonderful things about the internet is the arrival of task sites like Airtasker, Freelancer, or Fiverr. Because these job listing sites make it super easy to pick up some jobs and cash fast.
One of the easiest ways to earn some extra income on your own schedule is with ride-share jobs with companies like Uber, Ola, or DiDi. Or, if you don’t like talking to people, you could opt for the food delivery side with Uber Eats, Deliveroo, or DoorDash.
You can also sell goods that no longer ‘spark joy’ on Gumtree or eBay—or make something crafty for Etsy if you have a creative flair.
When life hits you with those unexpected bills, or you find yourself in rent arrears, a Rent Loan can help you get cash fast. It’s a quick and easy process, which is handy when you’re in a pinch—or if you need an emergency rent loan.
But also be aware that these loans usually have a higher interest rate. So think about all the options open to you before you make a decision.
How to get rental assistance with a Rent Loan
It’s simple to apply for a Rent Loan. All you need to do is fill out the 100% online application. It only takes minutes, and a real person will review it. Then if it’s approved, you’ll have the cash in your account within the hour.
To be eligible for a Rent Loan you will need to meet 4 simple criteria:
- At least 18 years old
- Employed for at least 3 months
- A permanent resident or valid visa holder of Australia
- Own a vehicle registered in your name
How much can I get with a Rent Loan?
You can borrow between $2000 and $5000 with a Rent Loan. The money can either be deposited into your bank account or directly to your landlord.
Can I get a loan while on Centrelink?
Getting a loan while on Centrelink is possible. However, you may not be eligible for a loan if Centrelink is your only income. As a Responsible Lender, we only offer loans to those who are getting some type of regular wage.
Can I get a loan with bad credit?
Yes, you can! Your credit history won’t matter if you apply for a Rent Loan or Emergency Loan with us. We only need to know about your current financial situation.