Can a landlord refuse to rent to me because my money comes from somewhere other than a job?

The law does not clearly say whether or not a landlord can refuse to rent a home because income comes from somewhere other than a job (like Centrelink payments). It depends on your money situation and the money situation of the other people who also ask to rent the home.

The law does say that you need to pay your landlord the amount of rent and bond that they ask for in your lease agreement. You can use any money that you have to pay your rent and bond. It does not matter if you get your money from a job or from Centrelink.

There are two important things that your landlord needs to know when you fill in a form asking to rent a home:

  1. If you get enough money (called income) to pay for your rent and everything else you need like bills and food.
  2. If the money you get (income) or have saved will be enough to pay rent for as long as you are asking to live there. For example, if you always get money from Centrelink or your job every two weeks, this is helpful. If you only sometimes get money from Centrelink or a job, and no money for anywhere at other times, it will be hard to pay your rent.

If you can do these two things, it shouldn’t matter if your money comes from Centrelink or a job. But the law does say that a landlord can rent the home to a person who makes more money than you, and will find it easier to pay the rent.

Sometimes you can ask a parent to sign a paper for your landlord to say that they will pay your rent if you ever do not have enough money to pay it yourself. But your parent has to agree to this, and have the money to do it.

If your landlord refuses to rent you a home because your money comes from Centrelink, you can contact the Tenants Union Victoria, Youth Disability Advocacy Service, Disability Discrimination Legal Service or Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission for help and more information.

Getting help with this

Ross House, 2nd Floor, 247 Flinders Lane Melbourne 3000
Phone:9654 8644
Fax: 9639 7422
TTY: 9654 6817
Email: info@ddls.org.au
Website: http://www.communitylaw.org.au/ddls

Level 2, 180 Flinders Street, Melbourne 3000
Phone:9267 3733
Fax: 9639 1622
Email: ydasadvocate@yacvic.org.au
Website: http://www.ydas.org.au/

55 Johnston Street Fitzroy 3065 Post: PO Box 234 Fitzroy Victoria 3065
Phone:9411 1444
Fax: 9416 0513
Email: admin@tuv.org.au
Website: http://www.tuv.org.au/