Community housing rents and charges
The maximum rent you can be charged for a community housing property is its market rent. This is set by the Valuer General and is reviewed annually. Community housing providers manage both social and affordable housing, as described below.
Households are charged a maximum rent that is no more than the total of:
- 25% of gross assessable household income and
- all Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) available to that household, as per the Community Housing Rent Policy and Procedures V14.
Supported tenancies, that meet the community housing eligibility criteria and also have an approved package of support attached to their tenancy will be charged a maximum rent that is no more than the total of:
- 25% of gross non CRA income and
- all CRA income available to that household (unless the provider elects to set rents based on an occupancy standard and the property becomes under-occupied.
Additional services levies cannot be charged in addition to the maximum rent.
A provider may charge rent to supported tenant households below this maximum rent figure, but must detail how rent will be assessed in its own rent policy.
For Supported and Affordable tenancy types, community housing providers have flexibility to determine what income is used in determining rent charged (i.e. providers may wish to fully exclude or only partly assess some income types but there is no requirement to do so).
Affordable tenancy households will be charged a maximum rent that is no more than the total of:
- 30% of a household’s gross non Commonwealth Rent Assessment (CRA) income and
- all CRA income available to thathousehold (unless the provider elects to set rents based on an occupancy standard and the property becomes under-occupied.
Providing proof of income
All members of your household who are eligible to receive an income will be included on your rent assessment.
You must tell your community housing provider as soon as possible if:
- your household income changes
- someone has moved in or out of your property
- you are unable to pay your rent in full by the date it is due.
Every six months you will be asked by your community housing provider to provide proof of income for everyone in your household. This is to make sure you are being charged the correct amount of rent.
Proof of income can include:
- statements from Centrelink, the Department of Veterans' Affairs or other government agencies providing an income
- WorkCover documents showing current payments
- superannuation documents showing current payments and any interests received.
If you or anyone in your household is receiving an income from Centrelink you can choose to have your income details provided directly from Centrelink to your community housing organisation. This replaces the need for you to physically provide proof of your Centrelink income.
If you are a tenant, but not a member of a volunteer member-tenant managed organisation, you may be charged an extra fee.
This is generally 10% more than a member would be charged – for example, if a member's rent is $80 per week, a non-member would be charged an additional $8 per week, making a total charge of $88 per week.
This can only be applied if no adult in the household is a registered member. Individual community housing providers may choose not to apply this charge.
If a community housing provider has engaged a separate service provider to carry out certain functions – for example, gardening, maintenance, rent or financial management, it may pass these charges on to its tenants. These additional service levies are based on the estimated costs of the services provided.
Rent increases and decreases
The market rent of the property is reviewed annually by the Valuer General.
Lease agreements entered into before 1 March 2014
If the market rent for your property goes up, your rent will increase by no more than $10 per week every six months until the new amount is reached
Lease agreements entered into on or after 1 March 2014
Market rent cannot be increased until at least 12 months has passed since the start of the agreement or when the market rent was last increased. Increases in market rent will be passed on in full ie not be capped.
If your rent has increased due to a change in your income or household, you will be given 14 days written notice before the full amount of the new rent will be charged.
Rent decreases will be passed on from the next rent period after a change in household circumstances occurred.
Visitors can stay with you for up to 12 weeks without it affecting your rent. A person is considered to be a visitor if they have a residential address elsewhere that they intend to return to.
If your visitor has no other residential address or does not intend to return to another property they are considered to be part of your household. Their income must be included on the assessment for rent as soon as they move into your property.
Rent in arrears
Rent must be paid in full 14 days in advance. It is the responsibility of the person listed on the lease agreement to make sure that rent is paid in full on time, regardless of who else is living at the property or their income.
If you are unable to pay rent in full or have fallen behind in your rent, you may be able to make an affordable repayment arrangement with your housing association or cooperative. You should tell your community housing organisation as soon as possible if you can't:
- pay the full amount of rent by the date it is due
- maintain a repayment arrangement.
If you don't pay the rent this is breaching your lease agreement and can lead to eviction.
If you pay only part of the rent when it is due it is not counted as having paid for any of the period. You are still considered to be in rent arrears from the date the full amount of rent was due. You will no longer be in rent arrears when the remainder of the full rent amount is paid.
Where to get more information about rents
If you have any questions about rent or other charges in a community housing organisation, contact your community housing provider.
If you have serious concerns that your community housing rent is not being charged in accordance with policy, contact Office of the Housing Regulator.
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