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1. About the program

(a) The Rental Support Payment Program (Program) is made by agreement between the Commonwealth and NSW Governments, under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements 2018. Under the Program, Eligible Applicants will be provided a one-off payment to help pay Short-term Accommodation costs where they are Directly Impacted by the NSW severe weather and flooding events commencing 22 February 2022 onwards (AGRN 1012).

2. How the Program works

(a) The Program comprises a one-off payment to assist Eligible Households pay for Short-Term Accommodation, where they have had to evacuate their Residential Property.

(b) The Residential Property must be the applicant’s Principal Place of Residence at the time of the Eligible Disaster and be Non-habitable, due to being Directly Impacted by the Eligible Disaster.

(c) The Rental Support Payment is scalable, based on the number of people residing in the Residential Property. Payments start from $6,000, increasing per additional individual residing in the Residential Property requiring paid Short-term Accommodation.

(d) The length of booking for Short-term Accommodation must be a minimum of 14 nights, commencing 22 February or later.

(e) A Rental Support Payment is only available to individuals:

(i) not otherwise covered by an insurance policy that includes temporary accommodation, or

(ii) where the amount covered for temporary accommodation under an insurance policy is insufficient to cover the entirety of the cost of the Short-term Accommodation.

3. Eligibility Criteria

3.1 Eligible Applicants

(a) A maximum of one application per Residential Property address will be accepted.

(b) To be eligible:

(i) applicants must:

(A) be a NSW resident,

(B) be 18 years or older,

(C) at the time of the Eligible Disaster, reside at the Principal Place of Residence. For the avoidance of doubt, registered proprietors of Residential Property that do not reside at the property are ineligible. Further, persons present at the Residential Property at the time of the Eligible Disaster that do not ordinarily reside there as their Principal Place of Residence are also ineligible;

(D) not have insurance that covers temporary accommodation, or where they have insurance that covers temporary accommodation, the insurance must be insufficient to cover the entirety of the cost of the Short-term Accommodation,

(i) the relevant Principal Place of Residence must:

(A) be Non-habitable as a result of being Directly Impacted by the Eligible Disaster, and

(B) be located in a High Impacted Suburb.

3.2  Ineligible Applicants

(a) The following are ineligible:

(i) all non-owner-occupiers / investors,

(ii) owner-occupiers or renters of a Residential Property located outside of a High Impacted Suburb,

(iii) owner-occupiers or renters of a Residential Property that is habitable,

(iv) owner-occupiers or renters that do not require paid Short-term Accommodation, and

(v) individuals that do not have the authority to apply on behalf of the Eligible Household. 

4. How to apply

4.1 Applicants may apply:

(a) online through the Service NSW website via a MyServiceNSW Account, held in the name of the applicant; or

(b) in person, at a Service NSW Service Centre or Service NSW Recovery Centre.

4.2 Properties with shared living arrangements, multiple dwellings not assigned individual lots or with multiple residences will need to designate one responsible person per Residential Property address to submit the application on behalf of all residents and distribute funds.   

4.3 If applying:

(a) online, applicants must fully complete the online application and submit all requisite documentation as stated on the application before the application close date set out in clause 4.5; or

(b) in person, applicants must fully complete the application and submit copies of all requisite documentation as stated on the application before the application close date set out in clause 4.5.

4.4 Applications will be accepted from 24 March 2022. 

4.5 Unless otherwise extended, applications will close 3 months from the date in clause 4.4.  

4.6 Notwithstanding the application start date in clause 4.4, accommodation bookings will be accepted from 22 February 2022. 

5. Program amount 

5.1 Payment under the Program will be made as a one-off amount determined by the number of individuals in the Eligible Household requiring paid Short-term Accommodation, as follows:

(a) for a 1 person household, $6,000,

(b) for a 2 person household, $7,200,

(c) for a 3 person household, $9,200,

(d) for a 4 person household, $12,400,

(e) for a 5 person household, $15,200,

(f) for a 6 person household, $18,000, and 

(g) for each person above 6, an additional $2,800. 

5.2 For the avoidance of doubt, Rental Support Payments will not be made for individuals residing at the Residential Property that do not require Short-term Accommodation. For example, if for any reason 2 out of 5 people residing at the Residential Property do not require paid Short-term Accommodation, only $9,200 will be paid for the 3 individuals that require paid Short-term Accommodation.

6. How funding may be used

6.1 The Rental Support Payment may be used towards the cost of Short-term Accommodation where:

(a) the accommodation is at a fixed address in NSW 

(b) the length of the Short-term Accommodation booking is for 14 nights or more commencing from 22 February 2022, and

(c) the number of individuals nominated in the application for a payment under this Program correlates with the number of individuals who stay in the Short-term Accommodation.     

6.2 The Rental Support Payment may be used for the accommodation cost only. For the avoidance of doubt, the Rental Support Payment may not be used towards incidental costs when staying in Short-term Accommodation (such as food or drinks, entertainment, transportation and relocation) or other costs (such as insurance and additional accommodation provider services).

7. Application evidence

7.1 All applicants must provide:

(a) personal contact details (full name, email and phone number)

(b) proof of identity

(c) Australian bank account details for payment of the Rental Support Payment

(d) number of persons who live at the residence requiring Short-term Accommodation

(e) if self-declaring their Residential Property is Non-habitable, photographic evidence of the damage to the property caused by the Eligible Disaster

7.2 Subject to clause 7.3, applications must provide the following documents as evidence of residency:

(a) if they are the registered proprietor of the Residential Property, either:

(i) the Council Rates Notice, or

(ii) utility bill, for the Residential Property that is no more than 12 months old 

(b) if they are not the registered proprietor of the Residential Property but residing at the property, either: 

(i) a copy of the current Lease Agreement, or 

(ii) a utility bill that is no more than 12 months old, for the Residential Property. 

7.3 Any applicant that cannot provide the documents in clause 7.2, must provide two government-issued documents displaying their address, such as: 

(a) a vehicle registration notice, or 

(b) a letter from Centrelink, the Australian Tax Office, Service NSW or Transport for NSW.

8. Application assessment and compliance activities 

8.1 At the time of applying or later during compliance activities Applicants may be required to provide: 

(a) Evidence of Short-term Accommodation Bookings

(b) Evidence of Monies Paid, and/or

(c) all other documentation and evidence related to their eligibility and the application requirements including photographic evidence of the Residential Property showing the direct severe weather and flood-related damage. 

8.2 Service NSW or its agents may, as necessary to assess an application:

(a) request further information, and/or

(b) make enquiries with third parties about any application, including from a Short-term Accommodation provider. 

8.3 For 12 months from the date of receipt of the Rental Support Payment, Eligible Applicants must retain and produce on request: 

(a) Evidence of the Short-term Accommodation Booking, 

(b) Evidence of Monies Paid, and

(c) all other documentation and evidence related to their eligibility and the application requirements including photographic evidence of the Residential Property showing the direct severe weather and flood-related damage. 

8.4 In circumstances where an applicant is requested to and cannot provide photographic evidence that the Residential Property is Non-habitable, Service NSW may request the applicant provide further information to establish eligibility. Failure to comply with such request will be dealt with in accordance with clauses 8.5 and/or 8.9. 

8.5 Service NSW reserves the right to refuse an application where the eligibility criteria are not met, or where the applicant does not or cannot provide sufficient information to determine if eligibility criteria have been met. Failure to comply with a request for further information or evidence by Service NSW or its agents may lead to rejection of an application.  

8.6 Resilience NSW may conduct site visits to assess the applicant’s eligibility and conduct compliance activities. For example, to assess that the Residential Property is Non-habitable. 

8.7 Applicants must consent to Service NSW conducting an audit of booking confirmations, tax invoices, official receipts, bank statements or other similar records to verify the amounts paid under the Program have been used in accordance with these guidelines and the Terms and Conditions.  

8.8 Applicants must agree that information and evidence submitted as part of the application will be verified by government agencies such as Service NSW, Department of Customer Service, Revenue NSW and others.

8.9 The Rental Support Payment will be repayable on demand if any application information is found to be false or misleading, or the grant is not used in accordance with the terms of funding set out in these guidelines. 

8.10 Applicants must declare the information provided in their application is true and correct. Penalties may apply for false or misleading information. Where false or misleading information is provided, applications may be referred to law enforcement. 

8.11 Applications will be assessed against the eligibility criteria in these guidelines and the Terms and Conditions. 

8.12 Applications submitted may be subject to audit activities by Service NSW or its agents, the purpose of which will be to determine compliance with Program guidelines and Terms and Conditions.

9. Other information 

9.1 Before applying for financial assistance under the Program, applicants should seek advice from their legal, business or financial advisers about the tax implications of this financial assistance.

9.2 Complete applications will be assessed in the order in which they are lodged. Incomplete applications will not enter the assessment queue until all required information is provided.

9.3 Resilience NSW / Service NSW reserves the right to amend these guidelines and application terms at any time as they deem appropriate in their sole discretion. 

9.4 Service NSW will endeavour to process all applications and notify all applicants of the outcome of their application as soon as possible. 

9.5 Applicants can make a complaint or dispute regarding their application outcome by lodging a complaint form on the Service NSW website. Service NSW will endeavour to resolve disputes or complaints within 28 days. 

9.6 Further information may be obtained at the Service NSW website or by calling 13 77 88.

10. Definitions

Defined Disaster Area means the local government areas listed in the ‘Financial year 2021-22’ table in respect of Australian Government reference number (AGRN)1012 available on the NSW Government ‘Natural disaster declarations’ website. 
   
Directly Impacted means a direct and material impact to the Eligible Applicant’s Residential Property that is caused by the Eligible Disaster. 

Eligible Disaster means NSW Severe Weather and Flooding from 22 February 2022 recorded under AGRN 1012.

Eligible Household means the individual/s ordinarily residing at the Eligible Property Address. 

Eligible Property Address means the street address of a Residential Property in a High Impacted Suburb. 

Evidence of Monies Paid means evidence of payment for the Short-term Accommodation booking, which may include: 

(a) a receipt of the Short-term Accommodation booking that includes the name, address and ABN (if applicable) of the entity that issued the receipt and a description of each item to which the receipt relates, and/or

(b) a copy of the applicant’s transaction and/or bank statement showing payment for the booking.

Evidence of Short-term Accommodation Booking may include tax invoice, email confirmation of the booking or reservation or lease agreement. Evidence submitted must include: 

(a) the name of the applicant, 

(b) the location of the Short-term Accommodation, 

(c) the number of people the booking is for,  

(d) the amount owed, and 

(e) the date range of the accommodation (which demonstrates 14 nights or more). 

Major Damage means the Residential Property has: 

(a) been destroyed or must be demolished, 

(b) been declared structurally unsound, 

(c) incurred substantial disrepair to the interior, 

(d) its interior exposed to the elements, and/or 

(e) sewage has gotten inside. 

High Impacted Suburb means a suburb within a Defined Disaster Area in NSW which was issued an NSW State Emergency Services flood warning/order or has been captured in other impact data showing flood extent. Note: High Impacted Suburbs are subject to change. Information on High Impacted Suburbs will be available on the Service NSW website. 

Non-habitable means a Residential Property that, due to the Eligible Disaster: 

(a) is no longer fit for human habitation, and 

(b) possesses basic amenities that are no longer in working order, and 

(c) has incurred Major Damage. 

Principal Place of Residence means the Residential Property in which, at the time of the Eligible Disaster, the Eligible Household normally resided and maintained essential items of clothing, bedding, furniture and other goods necessary for the provision of day-to-day shelter, comfort and sustenance.

Rental Support Payment means a payment made under the Program. 

Residential Property means; 

(a) a house, 

(b) an apartment, or 

(c) a moveable dwelling such as caravan, motorhome, relocatable home, cabin or shipping container linked to an eligible property address, noting the requirement in clause 4.2, that a maximum of one application will be accepted per Residential Property address. 

Short-term Accommodation means premises that operate as, or establishments that offer, a place of temporary residence, lodging or occupancy by way of commercial arrangement. Types include:   

(a) hotel or motel accommodation, 

(b) short-terms rental accommodation. For example, Airbnbs or vacation homes 

(c) backpackers’ accommodation

(d) serviced apartments 

(e) holiday parks, and 

(f) residential tenancies where a short-term lease agreement is in place. 

Terms and Conditions means the terms and conditions applicable to the Program, as published on the Service NSW website