Tenant's rights and responsibilities
Last published 18 Apr 2018
Complying with your tenancy agreement
The tenancy agreement you signed before moving into your home is a legal document that sets out the legal rights and responsibilities between a tenant and Communities and Justice (DCJ).
Tenants and DCJ also have to comply with the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.
As the tenant, you are responsible for household members and any visitors to your home. If their actions or behaviour breach your tenancy agreement or the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, the result could be the ending of your tenancy.
Being a DCJ tenant means you are part of a larger community, living together with people and families from different backgrounds and cultures. Everyone needs to work together to ensure the community is a harmonious environment.
You have certain rights that DCJ will ensure are respected.
- You are treated fairly and respectfully in all decisions and dealings with DCJ.
- You are informed of all decisions that DCJ makes about your tenancy, including rent, reviews, applications for additional occupants, relocations and transfers.
- DCJ explains your tenancy to you, including how much rent you will pay and whether you are eligible for a subsidy
- You are given copies of all documents that you need for your tenancy.
- DCJ policies and processes are clearly explained to you when necessary
- You can ask for an interpreter if you need one. You can also ask for someone to act on your behalf (known as an advocate).
- DCJ makes sure your home is reasonably clean when you move in and arranges for appropriate repairs and maintenance during your tenancy.
- Your home has adequate security and a working smoke alarm. Repairs to a smoke alarm can only be carried out by DCJ.
- DCJ will visit your home with your permission and within the terms of your tenancy agreement.
- DCJ may enter your property in emergencies, to do urgent repairs, check smoke alarms and address health and safety issues. Where possible, we will seek your consent first.
- You can keep pets as long as they are suitable for your home, not a restricted breed, and not a nuisance to neighbours nor a health hazard.
- DCJ fulfils its obligations to refer child protection issues to the appropriate authorities.
- You have the right to enjoy your home peacefully.
- DCJ gives you the required notice of a breach of your tenancy agreement.
- DCJ gives you notice to vacate if your tenancy is to end.
- You are able to end your tenancy immediately if you are in circumstances of domestic and family violence and are not the perpetrator.
- You are able to ask for reviews through DCJ appeals process and the Housing Appeals Committee.
- You are able to raise any issues you have with your local office and through DCJ' client feedback system.
- Under some circumstances, you are able to apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
When you live as part of a community and as a DCJ tenant, you have certain responsibilities for your behaviour and how you look after your home.
- You meet all your payment responsibilities, including paying your rent and water usage charges on time, and you pay money owing from previous DCJ tenancies.
- If you are required to pay a rental bond you must meet your payment responsibilities and make your payments on time.
- You clean and maintain your property to a reasonable standard, including the gardens, and ensure that no damage is done (by you, your household members or visitors).
- You ensure your family and visitors behave in acceptable ways.
- You pay for electricity and gas.
- You personally occupy the premises. It is not enough just to pay rent for the property. DCJ properties are a scarce resource and we need to ensure we are providing for people most in need.
- You tell DCJ within 28 days about any change in your circumstances, such as employment, the number of people in your household and total income.
- You notify DCJ as soon as possible if any repairs are needed.
- You ask DCJ for permission before making changes to your property
- You look after the security of the property, including advising DCJ if there are any issues with your smoke alarms.
- You check with DCJ that your pet is suitable for your home and make sure your pets are not a nuisance to neighbours
- You treat all DCJ staff fairly and respectfully in all your dealings with us.
- You cooperate with neighbours and, if possible, settle any disputes by talking with your neighbours.
- You maintain a good community spirit by respecting your community’s right to peace.
- You cooperate with DCJ if you need to be moved to alternative accommodation.
- If you are moving, you must notify DCJ. If you are on a fixed-term tenancy, you need to give 14 days notice that you are moving and 21 days if you are not on a fixed-term tenancy. The only exception to this is when you are in circumstances of domestic and family violence, where you are able to terminate your tenancy immediately if you are not the perpetrator.
- When moving out, you ensure that the property is left as you found it and all outstanding payments are paid.
- If your tenancy is terminated by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), you comply with the orders, hand the keys back and leave the property as you found it.
What to do if DCJ has breached the Tenancy Agreement?
If you believe that DCJ has breached a section of your Tenancy Agreement or the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, you should contact your local DCJ office to discuss the problem. You can also contact Tenants NSW for advice and advocacy services. You can contact Tenants NSW by calling 1800 251 101.
The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)
You can lodge an application with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) if you believe that DCJ has breached the tenancy agreement or the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. The NCAT website provides information and advice about the service. You can also make enquiries by calling 1300 006 228.
DCJ may also make an application to the NCAT if you have breached your tenancy agreement. DCJ views breaches very seriously, however, we will always give you the opportunity to rectify a breach before action is taken through the NCAT. For more information on the NCAT, please see our NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal factsheet.
Appeals and reviewing decisions
If you believe DCJ has made a wrong decision and the matter does not relate to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, you should first discuss your concerns with a client service officer. You may also ask to have the decision reviewed by filling in the online Application for review of decisions form or obtain a form available at your local DCJ office or at our website.
The Housing Appeals Committee (HAC) can undertake second tier appeals of decisions made by DCJ and community providers. The HAC website provides information on how to make appeals. HAC can also be contacted by phone on 1800 629 794. For further information, please see the Appeals and reviewing decisions factsheet.