Tenants

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Work out how much rent you can afford to pay

You should prepare information to help negotiate with your landlord.

You need to be clear on the amount of rent you can afford.

  • Determine what income you will have from your employer and through any government financial support, and how long this income will last.
  • Consider any savings you have to support you during this time.
  • Determine what essential expenses you will be incurring – for example, food, clothing, medical, utilities, phone and internet, education, or vehicle expenses.
  • Work out the rent you are able to afford with your reduced income. As a guide, paying more than 30 per cent of your gross income in these circumstances would be considered as rental hardship.

There is no pre-determined rate or amount that is required for you to pay. A reduced rent amount needs to be reasonable in your circumstances.

  • For some tenants, a lesser reduction may be enough to enable you to keep paying rent – for example, you still have a job but with reduced hours.
  • For other tenants who are relying on government financial support, especially those in private rental agreements, a significant reduction may be needed. As a guide, paying more than 30 per cent of your gross income in these circumstances would be considered as rental hardship.

If you need assistance to understand and negotiate the appropriate reduced rent, please refer to the ‘Can a support person help me' in the 'Information for tenants’ section on this page. When you are prepared, you should contact your landlord or property manager requesting a reduction in rent. Please note: this is not the same as a rent deferral. If the landlord is asking you to defer payments to a later date, rather than reduce the amount, you should not agree to this request if it does not suit your financial situation.

The request should be clear about your changed circumstances, the amount you are able to pay in rent, and any supporting evidence you can provide. If you have supporting evidence, such as a termination letter or application for Centrelink payments, this will assist the landlord to understand and assess your request.

Tenants Victoria has example rent reduction letters to real estate agents.