Many renters are struggling to afford the rent during the current housing crisis in NSW. However, paying rent is a fundamental obligation of the tenancy agreement. Not paying your rent puts you in breach and can lead to a substantial debt and even losing your home if you do not take steps to manage it.
If you find yourself struggling to pay your rent, consider negotiating with the landlord.
➤ Tenants' Union factsheets and information on rent
➤ Tenants' Union tips for negotiating with the landlord
If you are homeless, contact Link2Home on1800 152 152. See also:
➤ Emergency accommodation
➤ AskIzzy – a search tool to help people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness find shelter, food, health and other critical support services.
➤ Natural disaster events (Services Australia)
➤ What financial help is available? (Services Australia)
➤ Disaster assistance finder (Service NSW)
➤ Disaster Relief Grant for individuals (Service NSW)
➤ How to claim the $1,000 cash disaster payment for the NSW floods (ABC News, 6 July 2022)
➤ Flood Assistance Resources (list of resources, compiled by NSW Council of Social Services – NCOSS)
➤ Storm and flood customer care service (Service NSW)
➤ Financial assistance overview (Service NSW)
➤ Back Home grant (Service NSW)
➤ Flood recovery rental support payment (Service NSW)
The Australian Banking Association has a list of banks providing customers with emergency assistance for floods.
➤ Financial Difficulty (Australian Banking Association)
General Government assistance
Services Australia and Services NSW are general starting points for understanding what government supports may be available to you, including Centrelink.
➤ Services Australia
➤ Services NSW
➤ The NSW Government's Cost of Living hub: Housing lists resources, tips, and tools that may help.
Social housing is secure, affordable housing for people on low incomes with housing needs. 'Social housing' is a term that includes both public and community housing. Public housing is managed by the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ). Community housing is managed by non-government organisations known as social housing providers.
➤ DCJ information on social housing
➤ DCJ application for housing assistance
Affordable Housing is housing for people on low to moderate incomes, and is priced so that they can afford other basic living costs. Affordable Housing in NSW is usually managed by not-for-profit community housing providers, and/or by private organisations.
➤ DCJ information on Affordable Housing
The Aboriginal Housing Office works to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have access to affordable, quality housing. The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) also provides low cost and culturally appropriate housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
➤ Aboriginal Housing Office
➤ DCJ information on Aboriginal Housing
DCJ help for private renters
The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) may provide financial assistance with your private rental tenancy – if you meet eligibility requirements. DCJ Housing offers rent assistance for people looking for private rental, they can help pay for urgent rental costs and can also help people start a tenancy with an interest-free bond loan, or keep a tenancy with help to pay the rent.
➤ DCJ available rent assistance products
➤ DCJ 'Help setting up a new private rental' – supports to set up a new tenancy in the private rental market, including Rentstart Bond Loan; tenancy guarantee and Bond Extra; Private Rental Brokerage Service; Advance Rent for Bond Loan; and additional assistance for public housing tenants looking to move.
➤ DCJ Help keeping your current private rental' – supports include Tenancy Assistance with rent and water arrears; Rent Choice Assist helps with rent payments; Rent Choice Start Safely for people escaping domestic violence; Rent Choice Veterans for former ADF members; Rent Choice Youth for people aged 16 to 24 years and Private Rental Subsidy for people waiting for public housing.
Information about these products is also available in factsheets in community languages.
Other support for rent, bills and debts
If you are having trouble paying loans, you can contact your own financial institution regarding hardship arrangements.
The Australian Banking Association has a list of member banks providing customers with emergency assistance.
➤ Financial Difficulty (Australian Banking Association)
If you find yourself in dispute regarding your claim with a bank you can contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.
➤ Australian Financial Complaints Authority
The Sydney Water Payment Assistance Scheme (PAS) provides emergency relief to customers struggling to pay their water bill. If you are a tenant, who pays your own water usage (you have your own meter), you can enquire about this scheme by calling 13 20 92. There is more information on their website. You will need to provide a copy of your tenancy agreement. You can also visit one of Sydney Water's community agencies for a confidential chat about your circumstances. Sydney Water can assist with one of its qualified case coordinators, or accredited community agencies, who will talk to you about your situation and apply PAS credits directly to your Sydney Water bill if you're eligible.
➤ Sydney Water 'Help with your bill'
➤ Sydney Water's community agencies
If you are having trouble paying your energy bills the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has useful information about hardship and your rights and what you can do to seek help from your energy provider. You may be eligible for an Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) payment for help with your energy bills.
➤ Australian Energy Regulator 'Having trouble paying your energy bills?'
➤ Apply for EAPA via Services NSW
➤ Find a non-government EAPA provider
Financial information and advice
You can get free financial advice from a financial counsellor. You can find a service near you and get other useful information via the Financial Rights Legal Centre.
➤ Financial Rights Legal Centre
You can call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 for free and confidential advice from professional financial counsellors. The hotline is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.
➤ National Debt Helpline website
Economic Justice Australia has many useful resources including about JobSeeker and other Centrelink payments.
➤ Economic Justice Australia
The Moneysmart website has information about support and services for making financial decisions.
➤ Moneysmart website
Page last updated April 2023