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Important: If you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or living in an Aboriginal Housing Office property see the recognition as a tenant for Aboriginal households factsheet for the information that applies to your situation.

Recognition as a tenant is when a public housing tenancy is transferred to another eligible member of the household. This occurs when the tenant has left the property due to health reasons (for example, has entered a nursing home or an institutionalised care facility), has been imprisoned or has died.

DCJ provides recognition as a tenant to ensure that eligible members of the household will not be made homeless or have to face hardship because the tenant has died or left the property.

What are my options?

When the tenant is no longer living in the property, DCJ can provide several options depending on your housing needs including:

  • a 6 month lease where you pay subsidised rent to give you time to look for new housing, or
  • if eligible, the opportunity to apply for recognition as a tenant so you can continue living in public housing, or
  • assistance from DCJ with other tenancy facilitation.

Who is eligible for a 6 month lease?

You can apply for a 6 month provisional lease if:

  • the tenancy has been handed back or has ended under the Residential Tenancy Act 2010
  • you are a member of the household or a formal or informal carers of the children or young persons in the household at the time of the event
  • you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • you have lodged your application within 6 weeks from when the tenant:
    • left as a result of imprisonment
    • left due to health reasons such as entered a nursing home or institutionalised care facility
    • had died.

Once approved, the household’s income will be assessed and you will be asked to pay a subsidised rent to remain in the property.

Who is eligible for recognition as a tenant?

Household members can ask to be recognised as a tenant if they are:

  • a spouse or de facto partner 55 years of age or older (including same-sex partners)
  • formal or informal carers of the children or young persons in the household at the time of the event
  • a client who relinquished a DCJ tenancy to act as a live-in carer to the tenant or other household member
  • other household members who are assessed by DCJ as meeting priority housing criteria.

To receive recognition as a tenant you must be eligible for social housing and be an approved additional occupant of the property with a satisfactory history of occupation for at least two years; however, there are some exceptions. You can talk to your local DCJ Housing office to find out or read more about recognition as a tenant in the Changing a Tenancy Policy.

When to apply?

You must tell DCJ about the tenant leaving the property as soon as possible and must lodge your application for a 6 month lease and recognition as a tenant within 6 weeks of the tenant leaving the property. If you are having trouble meeting the 6-week timeframe please speak with your local DCJ office so we can consider your situation.

If you apply for recognition as a tenant after 6 weeks, you may receive a 3 month lease but DCJ will ask you to leave the property at the end of this time and you cannot apply for recognition as a tenant.

How to apply?

To apply for a 6-month lease or recognition as a tenant, you will need to complete the Recognition as a Tenant Application form, which is available from any DCJ office or the DCJ website. Once complete, you can return the form to your local office along with any supporting documentation (please see the evidence requirements information sheet for more information about supporting documentation).

What happens next?

Assessments for a 6-month provisional lease is carried out under different criteria from a social housing application. This means if you are granted a lease you do not have the right to the same entitlements such as mutual exchange or transfer requests which are available to applicants applying through the normal social housing application process.

DCJ will assess your application for recognition as a tenant and advise you of the outcome. If you are not eligible for a provisional lease, DCJ will request that you move out of the property.

If you are approved for recognition as a tenant DCJ will offer you a tenancy with a 2 year, 5 year, 10 year or continuous lease depending on your circumstances. In most circumstances the tenancy you will be offered will be for the property you are living in. In some cases however, you may be required to relocate to a property that better matches your housing needs. This may happen, for example, if the property you are in is too large for your needs or has been modified to suit a client with specific requirements.

If you are not approved for recognition as a tenant you are entitled to an independent review of the decision. If you gave written agreement on your application form, a review will be automatically conducted. If you would like additional information about your situation to be considered, you have 7 days to provide it to your local office. You can also request a review by filling out a review of decisions form available at the DCJ website. If your application is still declined after the review, your file will be sent to the Housing Appeals Committee for an independent review.

For further information on how a formal review works, please refer to the appeals and reviewing decisions fact sheet available from the DCJ website.

If your appeal is unsuccessful DCJ requires you to leave the property at the end of your lease. You can apply for social housing assistance, including assistance to start a private rental tenancy. If you do not leave the property, DCJ will commence action to terminate the tenancy at the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

For more information on housing assistance options, see the applying for social housing factsheet and the Private Rental Assistance factsheet.

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Last updated: 16 Aug 2023