Vacant bedroom charge
Last published 16 Aug 2023
What is a vacant bedroom charge?
A Vacant bedroom charge is where a public housing tenant pays more money towards their rent each week, as the property is larger than they need.
Why do you have a Vacant bedroom charge?
There are many people waiting for public housing. At the same time, there are tenants living in properties that are larger than they need. This is called under-occupancy.
DCJ encourages these tenants to transfer to a smaller property, which frees up larger properties for other households. A tenant who requests a transfer because of under-occupancy, and then refuses to move to a property offered to them, will pay a Vacant bedroom charge.
This is so we have a fair system for all.
How much is a Vacant bedroom charge?
A Vacant bedroom charge is:
- $20 per week when there is one person in the household aged 16 years and over, or
- $30 per week when there are two people or more in the household aged 16 years and over.
Who pays a Vacant bedroom charge?
A Vacant bedroom charge is paid by public housing tenants.
Tenants living in community housing and Aboriginal Housing Office properties do not pay a Vacant bedroom charge.
Under the Social Housing Management Transfer program, if you are currently being charged the Vacant bedroom charge by DCJ and the management of the property is transferred to a community housing provider, you will continue to pay this charge until the end of your lease or you move into a smaller dwelling.
How does DCJ decide whether a tenant needs to pay a Vacant bedroom charge?
DCJ looks at the number of bedrooms in a property and the number of people living in a property.
For example, a single person living alone in a three bedroom property may need to pay the charge as they have two extra bedrooms not being used.
Some tenants need extra bedrooms for things such as storing specialist medical equipment. DCJ takes this into account when looking at whether a tenant needs to pay a Vacant bedroom charge.
This table shows the number of bedrooms a tenant is entitled to, for their type of household:
|Household type||Standard bedroom entitlement|
|Single people||Studio, one or two bedrooms|
|Couples||One or two bedrooms|
|Single people or couples with one other household member||Two or three bedrooms|
|Single people or couples with two other household members||Two or three bedrooms|
|Single people or couples with three other household members||Three or four bedrooms|
|Single people or couples with four other household members||Three or four bedrooms|
|Single people or couples with five or more other household members||Four bedroom or, if available, five or more bedrooms [*]|
|[*] Clients who have a five bedroom household complement will generally be offered a four bedroom property unless a five bedroom property is vacant when the client’s turn is reached. This is because of the limited availability of five bedroom accommodation.|
What if I don't want to pay a Vacant bedroom charge?
You can ask for a transfer to a smaller property if you feel your home is too large to maintain or you have extra bedrooms.
Your transfer will be listed as a priority on the NSW Housing Register, so you can downsize to a smaller home as soon as one becomes available.
DCJ may also ask you to move to another property that better suits your household.
Did you know that most tenants who are approached by DCJ to relocate to another property for management purposes support their relocation, and accept their first offer of alternative housing?
What if I don’t agree with the decisions DCJ has made?
You cannot appeal the decision to move to another property or appeal a decision to apply the Vacant bedroom charge. However, if you can show that an offer of accommodation is not reasonable or disagree with any decision DCJ made throughout the relocation process, you can request a formal review. To do this fill in the review of decisions application available online or from your local DCJ Housing office.
What if I want more information or want to talk to someone?
You can talk to your client service officer at your local DCJ Housing office.
For more information about the relocation process, see the relocating tenants for management purposes factsheet.