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Tenants: Where to seek financial assistance during COVID-19?

24 March 2020

Photo by Matthew Waring on Unsplash

We understand that many of you will be feeling unsettled by the current unfolding Covid-19 situation, which is impacting our lives.

Many of you are likely to face reduced working hours or even job losses as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The Government has put forward a few schemes to ease the pressure off rent and provide all kiwis with some sort of income through this challenging period.

The Government has put a temporary freeze on rent increases. So no landlord is allowed to increase rent until further notice.

This freeze is in place until 25 September 2020. The landlord is allowed to send a rent increase notice that takes effect AFTER this date.

It is extremely important to remain proactive, so talk to your landlord now if your financial circumstances have changed to come up with a solution for rent payments that works for you both.

We wanted to create a list of possible assistance available for you in this time of need.

1. Talk to your employer.

Ask them about the Government Wage Subsidy scheme. There might be financial support from the Government's Wage Subsidy and Leave Payment scheme available to eligible workers.

2. Self-employed or sole-trader?

Is your business impacted by COVID-19? You might be eligible to apply for COVID-19 employer support. Enquire today!

3. Talk to WINZ.

Apply for financial assistance. Visit their site to apply for Accommodation Supplement visit their website and/or Temporary Support.

If your rent is normally paid into myRent account, you need to use our WINZ supplier number CUR001535505 when setting up a payment with them. If your rent is paid into the landlord's account, talk to the landlord to find out this information.

4. Talk to your bank

There might be an opportunity turning to your bank to get a short-term loan.

5. Talk to your landlord.

If someone in the household lost their job, but another person in person still has a job, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan with your landlord, ask for a rent temporary rent reduction, or ask to spread out payments over the longer period.

Remember, landlords also have mortgages, rates, and insurance premiums to pay, so you can't simply stop paying rent. Six-month mortgage deferral scheme announced by the Government is not available to all the landlords, nor does it write-off their repayments but just defers them. So any payment you make towards your rent is better than no payment.

Not communicating with your landlord is not a solution. It's the worst thing you can do right now. Make sure you continue to openly talk to them and update them on the challenges you are facing.

We're all in this together. Hard times ahead for everyone, and we need to support each other while we are going through (hopefully, a temporary) difficult period.

We hope it won't be long till we're all back to normal. Until then, keep calm and stay safe.

In December 2021 NZ moved away from the alert level system to the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights). Follow this link to the summary of real estate activities permitted under various traffic light settings

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What the community has to say
  • BM

    Just thought it worth noting that investment properties are exactly that, they are an investment. Any investment comes with the risk of a loss so while these guidelines are somewhat helpful it is not the renter's job to pay the wages or mortgage of the landlord and they should have emergency savings put away to mitigate instances like this. It is also the landlord's responsibility to take good care of their tenants so you guys should also create a resource on teaching landlords how to apply for the mortgage holiday and how to plan for the event that tenants will not be able to pay rent (for example getting the landlords talking to the bank to take out a short term loan, or WINZ if they cant afford to hold two properties at this time) would be very useful. As you said we are all in this together and should take good care of eachother

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