Tenant's rights and responsibilities
Last published 01 Jun 2020
This factsheet tells you:
- how to comply with your tenancy agreement
- your rights and responsibilities as a tenant
- what to do and who to contact if you believe DCJ has breached your tenancy agreement.
How do you comply with your tenancy agreement?
Your tenancy agreement is a legal document that sets out the legal rights and responsibilities between you and Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ).
We all 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, it could result in us ending your tenancy.
Being a DCJ Housing 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 peaceful
What are your rights?
We will ensure your rights are respected. This means:
- You are treated fairly and respectfully in all decisions and dealings with us.
- We inform you of all decisions we make about your tenancy, including rent, reviews and applications for additional occupants, relocations and transfers.
- We explain your tenancy to you, including how much rent you will pay and if you are eligible for a subsidy.
- We give copies of all the documents you need for your tenancy.
- We explain DCJ-Housing policies and processes to you when necessary
- You can ask for an interpreter if you need one or ask for someone to act on your behalf (known as an advocate).
- We make 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. Only DCJ Housing and our contractors can repairs a smoke alarm.
- We will visit your home with your permission and within the terms of your tenancy agreement.
- We 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, and not a restricted breed, a nuisance to neighbours or health hazard.
- We will refer child protection issues to the appropriate authorities.
- You have the right to enjoy your home peacefully.
- We give you the required notice of a breach of your tenancy agreement.
- We give you notice to vacate if your tenancy is to end.
- You can end your tenancy immediately if you are in circumstances of domestic and family violence and are not the offender.
- You can ask for reviews through our appeals process and the Housing Appeals Committee.
- You can raise any issues you have with your local DCJ office and through our client feedback system.
- Under some circumstances, you are able to apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
What are your responsibilities?
DCJ properties are a scarce resource and we need to ensure we are providing them for people most in need. As a tenant, you must personally occupy the premises, be responsible and look after your home. This means:
- You meet all your payment responsibilities, including paying your rent and water usage charges on time, and charges from previous DCJ Housing tenancies.
- If you need to pay a rental bond, you must make your payments on time.
- You clean and maintain your property to a reasonable standard, including gardens, and ensure no damage is done (by you, your household members or visitors).
- You ensure your family and visitors behave appropriately.
- You pay for electricity and gas.
- You tell us 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 you need any repairs.
- You ask us for permission before making changes to your property.
- You look after the security of the property, including advising us if there are any issues with your smoke alarms.
- You check with us 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 them.
- You maintain a good community spirit by respecting your community’s right to peace.
- You cooperate with us if you need to be moved to different housing.
- If you are moving, you must notify us. If you are on a fixed-term tenancy, you need to give 14 days’ notice you are moving, and 21 days if you are not on a fixed-term tenancy. The only exception is when you are experiencing domestic and family violence. In this case, you end your tenancy immediately if you are not the offender.
- When you move out, ensure you leave the property as you found it and pay all outstanding charges.
- If your tenancy is terminated by the NCAT, you comply with the orders, hand the keys back and leave the property as you found it.
What can you do if you think DCJ has breached the tenancy agreement or Residential Tenancies Act 2010?
As a first step, you should contact your local DCJ office to discuss the problem. We’re here to support you in your tenancy.
Tenants NSW and NSW Fair Trading can also offer you independent advice and advocacy services if you need it.
What will DCJ do if you breach your tenancy agreement?
- We may apply to the NCAT if you have breached your tenancy agreement. While we view breaches very seriously, we will always give you the chance to resolve a breach before we take action through the NCAT. For more information on the NCAT, please see our NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal factsheet.
- If you believe we have 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 us to review the decision by filling in the online ‘Application for Review of Decisions’ form, available at your local DCJ office or on our website at: forms1.facs.nsw.gov.au/register/FTA
- The Housing Appeals Committee (HAC) can do second tier appeals of decisions DCJ Housing and community housing providers make. The HAC website provides information on how to make appeals. You can call HAC on 1800 629 794 or visit: hac.nsw.gov.au
For further information, please see the appeals and reviewing decisions factsheet at: facs.nsw.gov.au/housing/living/rights-responsibilities/appeals-and-reviewing-decisions