Frequently Asked Questions about Rent

This page has been set up to provide answers to frequently asked questions by Unison tenants about rental payments. Content will be updated as new announcements are made by Federal and State Governments. 

 

Do I have to pay rent?

Yes, rent is really important to not-for-profit housing associations, like Unison. Unison will continue to collect and monitor rent payments closely. This will be a focus as we rely on rental income for the continuation of cleaning, maintenance and other services.

Our goal is for our tenants to maintain their tenancies and we do not want tenants to accumulate arrears that will create additional financial stress. We strongly encourage our tenants to contact their Place Manager if they are experiencing difficulty with their rent payments. 

 

What do I do if my income goes down during COVID-19?

The impact of COVID-19 has been felt everywhere. We understand that some of our tenants may have reduced hours of work and that some may have lost employment.

If this is impacting you, please contact your Place Manager as soon as possible so that we can assist you to find a solution. Your Place Manager will also be able to provide you with information on where you can get assistance with food or other needs.

 

I receive Centrelink benefits, I heard that pensioners and other income support payments are increasing as part of the COVID-19 Stimulus Packages. Will this increase my rent?

If you are on Centrelink, Unison will exclude the Centrelink COVID-19 supplement from rent calculations as we recognise the additional stress experienced by people on low incomes.

 

What happens if I do not pay my rent on time?

If you are finding it hard to pay your rent and are worried about falling behind with your rent payments, you should contact your Place Manager as soon as you can. We do not want tenants to accumulate arrears that will create additional financial stress. We will help you to find a solution.

 

I am in debt. Where can I get help?

There are a number of services that can assist you. Financial counsellors provide information, support and advocacy to help people in financial difficulty. Their services are free, independent and confidential.  Visit the National Debt Helpline website to find a free financial counsellor near you: https://ndh.org.au/talk-to-a-financial-counsellor/find-a-financial-counsellor/

 

What happens if I can't pay my rent? Will I be evicted?

The National Cabinet has announced a six-month evictions ban for tenants experiencing financial distress because of coronavirus. It is now up to the state government to give effect to this plan. As of April 14, State governments are still working out how this will be applied. We will update this page as soon as official announcements are made.

At Unison, we welcome this initiative to keep people safe in their homes and isolated from others during the health crisis.

At this stage, there are many unknowns and we are yet to see what it means in real terms for tenants across Victoria.

 

Does the COVID-19 crisis change any of my rights or obligations as a tenant?

No, not currently. Tenants and landlords must comply with the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. Unison will continue to collect and monitor rent payments closely. This will be a focus as we rely on rental income for the continuation of cleaning, maintenance and other services.

The State and Federal Governments have the power to announce measures that may impact some of your rights and obligations relating to your tenancy. The latest information is available here: https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/resources-and-tools/advice-in-a-disaster/coronavirus-covid19-and-your-rights

If you need any general legal advice and information about renting, check out https://www.housing.vic.gov.au/tenancy-issues-and-legal-advice

 


This page was last updated on 14 April 2020.