Rent and water arrears
Last published 03 Oct 2019
All Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) Housing and Aboriginal Housing Office tenants are required to pay rent and water charges.
As part of your tenancy agreement you must pay these charges on time. DCJ Housing is reliant on the income received from rent and water usage payments to fund things such as service provision and maintenance.
If you are late with your rent or water payments your account will be in arrears and you will be in breach of your tenancy agreement. This could lead to you having to move out of your home.
How do I know if I am behind in my rent or water charges?
DCJ Housing will always let you know if you are behind in your rent or water charges. We will generally write to you about this; however we might also talk to you on the phone, visit you at home or notify you via electronic means.
You can also check your rent statement or phone your Client Service Officer and ask them to check your account. When we visit you at home, we will be able to check your account information and set up an arrears payment arrangement with you using our new staff mobile devices.
You can check your account balances, view your transaction history and make secure payments online via MyHousing Account and Information on the DCJ website or the MyHousing app on your mobile phone. You can also view and print account statements online via MyHousing Account and Information on the DCJ website.
What if I am having difficulties managing my money?
Sometimes things can get a bit tough and you might have problems managing your money. This might happen, for example, if you go into hospital, or if you have serious medical or disability issues.
If you are having problems managing your money or if you know that you will get behind in your payments, it is important that you contact your Client Service Officer as soon as possible.
The earlier you contact your Client Service Officer the easier it will be to help you find a solution. We can help arrange things like support from another agency or help with financial counselling.
What will DCJ Housing do if I am behind in my rent or water charges?
If you are behind in your payments, DCJ Housing will work with you to sort out the problem and help you get your payments back on track.
However, we can only do this if you are willing to talk to us and you make a commitment to catching up on your payments.
How do I pay back my missed payments?
You can pay back your missed payments either in full or by instalments.
If you are unable to repay your arrears in full you can enter into an arrangement with DCJ Housing to repay the outstanding amount.
How much will I need to pay back on an arrangement?
If you enter into an arrangement with DCJ Housing you will be able to pay back any missed payments by paying an extra amount each week. DCJ Housing will negotiate an arrangement that is both affordable for you and an amount that will mean that your arrears will be repaid within a reasonable amount of time.
What if I can’t afford to repay the extra amount?
If you are unable to afford the proposed repayment amount DCJ Housing may consider a smaller amount. You must, however, demonstrate that the proposed amount is unaffordable. You will also be asked to get financial counselling through:
How can I pay my arrears?
DCJ Housing offers a range of payment methods. These include automatic deductions from Centrelink pensions and allowances, online payments via the DCJ website, via the MyHousing app and BPAY. If you would like more information about these payment methods please contact your Client Service Officer.
What will happen if I do not pay my arrears?
If you do not contact us to make an arrangement to catch up on your missed payments we will issue a Notice of Termination or make an application to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) to resolve the matter by applying for:
The orders that we ask the NCAT to issue will depend on how much you owe and whether you have been in arrears before. The orders might be that you have to pay back any money that you owe us or in more serious cases they might be orders that end your tenancy.
If you receive a notice from the NCAT to attend a hearing you should contact your Client Service Officer as soon as possible to talk to them about the problem. You should also attend the hearing in person.
If you don’t attend the hearing the NCAT might make orders without hearing your side of the story. If you are worried about attending on your own you can bring a friend or advocate with you.
Specific Performance Orders
If DCJ Housing asks the NCAT to issue a Specific Performance Order it means that we are giving you an opportunity to correct a breach of your tenancy agreement. This usually means that we are asking for orders that you pay your rent or water charges on time and that you repay any arrears.
Notice of Termination
DCJ Housing must issue you with a Notice of Termination if we are going to ask the NCAT to end your tenancy. If you receive a Notice of Termination it means that we have not been able to resolve your arrears or that you have broken a Specific Performance Order.
Issuing a Notice of Termination is a very serious step and if you receive one you should contact your Client Service Officer as soon as possible. If we do not hear from you we may have no choice but to proceed with action to end your tenancy.
Orders of Termination and Possession
If DCJ Housing asks the NCAT to issue orders of Termination and Possession we are asking that your tenancy is legally ended on a certain date. The NCAT will order that you move out of your home on a particular date.
If you do not move out of the property by the date specified in the possession order, DCJ Housing will apply for a Warrant of Possession for the NSW Sheriff’s Office to evict you.
If you receive a notice from the NCAT about orders of Termination and Possession it is very important that you contact your Client Service Officer as soon as possible. This may be your last opportunity to save your tenancy.
Where can I go for more advice?
NSW Fair Trading can give you advice about your tenancy rights and obligations, about how the NCAT works and can also help you find an advocate.
NSW Fair Trading
13 32 20
It is important that you continue to talk to DCJ Housing about any difficulties you may have with your tenancy or in paying your rent. Even if DCJ Housing is taking action with the NCAT it is still very important that you talk to us.
For information about your rights as an Aboriginal tenant, see the NSW Aboriginal Tenants Advice Service, or contact your local general Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service. You can also speak to your local DCJ office for contact information for local services.