Government support for renters welcome

politician giving report about COVID-19 during press conference

Media release: Rent grants a good first step to protect renters

6 September 2021

Tenants Victoria welcomes today’s confirmation from the Victorian Government of targeted financial support for renters hard hit by public health restrictions.

The one-off support by way of grants worth up to $1500 to eligible renters will made via a contribution towards the cost of their rent paid directly to their landlord.

‘This is much needed and will help renters in hard hit sectors such as hospitality, retail and entertainment who have been stood down or lost hours due to the ongoing public health lockdown,’ said Tenants Victoria CEO Jennifer Beveridge.

‘It’s both a good first step, and recognition of what renters financially affected by the lockdowns are experiencing – many have told us they are really hurting from the cumulative financial impact of a succession of lockdowns.’

Ms Beveridge said that Tenants Victoria, along with other housing sector organisations, would continue to work with the Andrews Government and key portfolio ministers Richard Wynne (Housing) and Melissa Horne (Consumer Affairs)  to seek further support for renters including legislative changes.

‘The policy response from the Victorian Government should include the suspension of evictions during a lockdown period, as well as these welcome financial grants for renters.’

Tenants Victoria’s latest report, Pandemic pain, mapped local government areas identified as lockdown ‘rental stress hotspots’: Greater Dandenong, Yarra, Hume, Frankston, Moreland, Melbourne, Brimbank, Maribyrnong, Glen Eira, Port Phillip and Darebin all rank on the list.

Some 684 renters responded to our snapshot survey, conducted over a week in the wake of the fifth lockdown. Among the key points:

  • 69% reported that they had been financially impacted by lockdown
  • Just over half said lockdown had affected their ability to pay rent
  • The average loss per renter was $108 per day

Who is eligible for the rental relief grants

The latest round of rent relief grants will be targeted at Victorian renters who have lost an income of 20 per cent or more due to the pandemic.

To be eligible you must have an annual income limit of $62,860 for singles and $94,300 for couples, and you cannot have more than $2000 in savings – excluding superannuation. You must also provide proof of a rent reduction agreement with your rental provider (landlord) for a period after 27 May 2021 .

The one-off payment is specifically for renters paying more than 30 per cent of their income in rent who are living in a primary residence to help them maintain safe, secure, and stable accommodation.

People eligible to apply for the grants include casual workers on holiday and working visas, international students, skilled visa holders, seasonal workers, New Zealand citizens and all people holding refugee and temporary protection visas.

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