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Client Service Delivery and Appeals Policy

1. Background

As an agency of the New South Wales Government, the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) has a duty to:

  • implement the policies of the NSW Government efficiently and effectively, and
  • obtain good value for money and make the best use of public resources and property, and
  • comply with all proper instructions and directions and act in accordance with the spirit and the requirements of the law, and
  • maintain clear and sufficient documents to support decisions, and
  • not allow any official information to be misused, and
  • provide accurate, timely, honest and balanced advice as well as seeking to resolve ethical dilemmas.

The intent of this policy is to explain:

  • The standards of behaviour and service expected of staff and clients.
  • How a client can provide feedback about the services they use, including how to make a complaint.
  • How a client can appeal a decision.
  • How client feedback, complaints and appeals are managed.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all DCJ staff and its associates (which includes consultants, contractors and staff of community housing providers participating in Housing Pathways); their clients including applicants for housing assistance and people living in tenancies managed by DCJ including tenants of properties owned by the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) and managed by DCJ.

3. Policy statement

All DCJ staff and its associates have a duty to abide by the Code of Ethical Conduct regardless of what position they hold. Where conduct falls short of DCJ standards, it will be corrected. In return, it is expected that clients will treat DCJ staff and its associates with courtesy. The standards of behaviour expected of DCJ staff, its associates and clients are outlined in the Service standards section of this policy.

DCJ respects the right of its clients to lodge a complaint, compliment or other feedback about the service they receive. Feedback from clients allows DCJ to monitor its performance and effectiveness and make appropriate changes or improvements where necessary.

For information about the DCJ client feedback system, including how to provide feedback or make a complaint, see the Feedback and Complaints section of this policy.

If a DCJ tenant disagrees with a decision made by DCJ; or an applicant disagrees with a decision made by DCJ or a community housing provider participating in Housing Pathways, they can request an appeal of that decision. For information about the appeal process, including how to request an appeal see the Appeals section of this policy.

Service standards

Providing information about products and services

Information about products and services is available to everybody. For more information clients can:

To ensure that all clients across New South Wales have equal access to housing assistance and information DCJ provides free, confidential and qualified language services for those who need the assistance of an interpreter and language services.

The types of services provided by DCJ and available to clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) include:

  • telephone interpreting service provided by All Graduates Interpreting & Translating
  • on site interpreters managed by the Block Booking Interpreter Service (BBIS) and provided by All Graduates Interpreting & Translating
  • sign language (AUSLAN) interpreters provided by All Graduates Interpreting & Translating
  • telephone National Relay Service (NRS) for the hearing and speech impaired
  • accredited bilingual staff to assist with brief client enquiries
  • translation of client supporting documentation
  • publications about DCJ services translated into major community languages.

The way staff treat clients

In dealing with clients, DCJ staff and its associates are required to:

  • ensure services are fair, accessible to all clients and appropriate to their needs
  • act with courtesy, promptness, efficiency and impartiality
  • give information and advice honestly, clearly and simply
  • ensure that clients receive their full entitlements
  • maintain confidentiality and privacy of information
  • offer the best service possible in light of available resources
  • respect individual differences
  • provide referrals to support services, if required.

DCJ staff and its associates aim to:

  • make fair decisions that are open to scrutiny, and
  • provide clear and accurate advice about decisions, and
  • provide information about the reason for decisions, and  
  • advise clients of decisions within a reasonable timeframe

The way DCJ and its associates expects their staff to be treated

It is expected that clients treat staff with courtesy. DCJ staff and its associates have a responsibility to work supportively with clients who are facing difficulties and who may be experiencing stress. However, DCJ staff and its associates will not tolerate threatening behaviour by clients towards staff or associates, including intimidation and harassment. This type of difficult client behaviour will not be condoned or tolerated.

Difficult client behaviour can broadly encompass such behaviour as agitation and vulgarity to more serious aggressive and violent behaviour. For staff to appropriately manage this range of behaviour, firm and fair communication and action can be necessary for less harmful behaviour. Whereas restriction or suspension of housing assistance, or action under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 may be necessary for more serious difficult client behaviour.

DCJ staff and its associates will record all incidents of serious and/or inappropriate behaviour on the client’s file. These may include, for example:

  • observations of serious and/or inappropriate client behaviour
  • reports of serious and/or inappropriate client behaviour
  • witness statements
  • police reports.

Where a client has demonstrated that they have modified their behaviour, DCJ staff or its associates will update their file to reflect this.

Following serious and inappropriate incidents, DCJ staff and its associates will advise clients in writing that it will not tolerate such behaviour and the consequences of repeated or persistent difficult client behaviour.

If a client continues with threatening or abusive behaviour, DCJ staff and its associates will ask the client to attend an office interview with a more senior officer. This will provide the client an opportunity to reassure they will modify their behaviour. DCJ staff and its associates may suggest that the client brings an advocate to the interview. The advocate may assist the client to discuss the situation in a way that avoids a recurrence of the aggressive behaviour. In cases of persistent aggression, the client may be advised that they may only contact DCJ staff or its associates by phone rather than in person until they can demonstrate that they have modified their behaviour.

In cases of more serious and inappropriate behaviour by a tenant towards an employee including physical violence or intimidation, DCJ may ask the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for an order of immediate possession under Section 90 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

DCJ or a community housing provider participating in Housing Pathways may determine an applicant or members of their household ineligible for social housing or other housing related products and services such as Rentstart Assistance, if at any time they:

  • seriously threaten or abuse social housing employees (including DCJ staff or its associates), or
  • intentionally engage in conduct that objectively causes social housing employees to feel intimidated or harassed.

Social housing employees will warn an individual that they are not required to assess the client’s application should their behaviour continue. The housing provider must be satisfied that the behaviour will not be repeated before making any decision about the client’s eligibility.

Housing Pathways – feedback and appeals

In relation to housing assistance delivered through Housing Pathways, DCJ and community housing providers participating in Housing Pathways are responsible for managing feedback and appeals relating to service delivery and decision making by officers of their individual organisations. This includes first and second tier and accelerated appeals.

Timeframes relating to appeals managed by community housing providers participating in Housing Pathways are detailed in their individual policies.

For further information on the approach to client feedback and appeals in community housing, go to Community Housing Complaints, Issues and Appeals Management Framework.

Feedback and complaints

All clients and members of the public have the right to offer feedback about the services that DCJ provides, either because they:

  • are dissatisfied with the quality of service, or
  • believe that a policy is wrong, unjust, unlawful, discriminatory or unfair, or
  • have positive feedback to provide about the service they have received.

All feedback is encouraged and valued. This is because it is taken seriously and helps to improve DCJ policies, systems and service delivery. For more information on the types of feedback that DCJ would like to receive, please see the Client Feedback Service factsheet.

Feedback can be provided in person, in writing, by email, online or over the phone. For more information, see Feedback and complaints.

For reports of fraud or corruption by staff or clients, please see Fraud and corruption prevention.

Feedback will be considered in an equitable, objective and unbiased manner and a client’s privacy will be respected. DCJ provides free, confidential and qualified language services to clients who need the assistance of an interpreter and language services to provide feedback.

Feedback can also be lodged on a client’s behalf by a third party such as a family member, support provider or an advocate. The client’s consent is required before any information about the client can be provided to a third party.

Clients may also choose to provide feedback through another source, for example:

  • their local Member of Parliament
  • the Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services.

If a client or a member of the public is dissatisfied with the way services are delivered and the matter has not or cannot be resolved at the time, then it will be managed as a complaint.

Feedback about neighbourhood concerns such as reports of antisocial behaviour, property care issues, unauthorised alterations or illegal activity are also accepted, but will not be managed as a complaint in the first instance. The matter will be managed according to the relevant policy.

Feedback will be acknowledged by DCJ but in most instances, a detailed outcome cannot be provided either because there are ongoing legal proceedings, or to protect the privacy of other parties. For more information see the Privacy and Information Sharing policy.

If a client believes that DCJ has failed to respond appropriately to their feedback, it will then be managed as a complaint.

Complaints management

Complaints regarding DCJ staff or a decision made by DCJ will be acknowledged and reviewed, with an outcome provided generally within 15 business days. However, any complaint regarding a privacy issue will be completed within 60 calendar days. Clients will be advised if there are any delays in reviewing the complaint and will be provided with an outcome in writing.

Complaints will be directed to the area of DCJ that is responsible for responding to the issue. If the complaint is about an employee, it will be reviewed by a more senior officer than the employee it is regarding, and the matter will be discussed with them. If a client is concerned about their confidentiality or privacy, they may lodge a complaint anonymously.

If a client has made a complaint this will not impact the service they are provided.

If a client is unhappy with the outcome of their complaint or the way their complaint was managed, they should first discuss it with their local office. They can also discuss it with the NSW Ombudsman, the Tenant Union of NSW or a Community Justice Centre. If the complaint is about a privacy issue, the client can discuss it with the Information and Privacy Commission NSW.

Unreasonable conduct by a complainant

Unreasonable conduct is defined as any behaviour by a current or former complainant which, due to its nature or frequency, raises substantial health, safety, resource or equity concerns for either party to the complaint.

Examples of conduct that can be characterised as unreasonable include:

  • persistent phone calls, visits, letters, emails whilst the complaint is being reviewed or after the outcome of the complaint has been explained
  • repeated demands for services that cannot be provided, assistance from certain employees or priority treatment
  • consistent unwillingness to cooperate with employees to manage the complaint, including providing insufficient, unclear or misguiding information
  • constantly making complaints that are not supported by evidence.

If this conduct continues after the client has been asked to stop, it will then be considered unreasonable. If there is abusive, threatening or intimidating behaviour from a client, please see the way DCJ and its associates expects their staff to be treated.

If unreasonable conduct by a complainant is identified, consideration will be given to limiting or changing the way staff respond to a complainant by applying a formal restriction for a period of either three, six or 12 months.

Contact to a designated employee may be limited when necessary. For example, allow contact only in specific secured locations or through a particular method such as in writing.

Contact may also be restricted to a particular subject matter, to a particular time, length of time or frequency. For example, a complainant may only be able to lodge or request information about a complaint once a week in writing and addressed to the Team Leader/Manager and any contact received outside of the restriction will not be responded to.

In some exceptional circumstances, restricting all contact with a client about their complaint may be considered.

Following a restriction period, the complainant’s conduct during that period will be reviewed to consider extending, revising or lifting the restriction.

Clients will be advised of the nature and length of any restriction imposed, any breaches of the restriction and the outcome of the review in writing.

Appeals

A tenant or applicant can appeal a decision if they believe that:

  • inadequate consideration was given to their individual circumstances, or
  • the decision was made contrary to policy, or
  • the decision involved a poor interpretation of policy, or
  • the procedure used to reach the decision was not fair and correct.

The objective of the appeals process is to ensure that:

  • there is a fair mechanism for decisions to be reviewed if those decisions cannot be considered by other bodies, such as the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, and
  • the correct decision has been made in each individual case under appeal.

The appeal process starts when a client believes that a decision made is not correct and they have not been able to resolve the issue through discussion with the office that made the decision. The aim of the appeal process is to confirm whether the correct decision has been made. Clients will be advised of their appeal rights by the social housing provider when communicating its decisions.

For more information on which decisions can be appealed go to Decisions that can be appealed.

There are two levels of appeal:

  • First tier – internal review by the organisation that made the decision, and
  • Second tier – independent review by the Housing Appeals Committee (HAC).

A client can request an appeal about separate decisions that a social housing provider has made regarding their application for housing assistance, or about a DCJ tenancy matter. A client cannot request more than one first tier appeal for a decision made. Clients will be advised of the outcome of their first tier appeal and advised of their right to a second tier appeal.

If a client believes the decision made in the first tier appeal is incorrect, they can request a second tier appeal by the HAC to review the decision.

First tier appeal – internal review by a social housing provider

This applies to decisions made on applications and DCJ tenancy matters. Decisions made on community housing providers tenancy matters will be managed in accordance with that provider's appeals policies and processes.

The general approach to first tier appeals is:

  • A client requests a first tier appeal by completing an online Review of Decisions (First Tier Appeal) Application form or downloading a copy of the form from the DCJ website. The timeframe to lodge an appeal application varies depending on the type of decision being appealed. Go to Timeframes for clients to lodge an appeal for more information.
  • A review of the decision is conducted by an officer who was not involved in making the original decision.
  • The recommendations of that officer are then considered by a more senior officer who will make the decision on the first tier appeal.
  • If the outcome of the first tier appeal will not be in the client’s favour, the client will be offered a phone or face to face interview before the review is completed. This provides the client an opportunity to explain the reasons they think the decision should be changed, to understand the decision making process and to provide any relevant, further information.
  • Generally, first tier appeals are decided within 21 calendar days from the date a client’s application for review is received. For more information go to Timeframe for consideration of appeals.

When reviewing the original decision, the officer will consider matters such as:

  • Was the original decision consistent with DCJ policy?
  • Was the policy narrowly or harshly interpreted?
  • Do the client’s circumstances indicate that the decision was inappropriate?
  • Were the client’s circumstances and all relevant information fairly and properly considered?
  • Was there any bias or prejudice involved on the part of the original decision maker?
  • Did any irrelevant information affect the decision?
  • Whether the original decision was made within the applicable legal framework.
  • Whether any new, relevant information is available.

In reviewing a decision, the following is relied upon:

  • Supporting information provided by the client or their support services at the time of the original decision, i.e., medical reports.
  • Any relevant additional information supplied after the original decision was made, for example, relevant additional expenses and information provided at interview during the review process.
  • Information obtained from discussions or an interview with the client or their support workers.
  • Information held by DCJ in its application or tenancy management records.
  • Any other relevant information.

The client will be informed of the appeal decision in writing. The outcome of the appeal will be any of the following:

  • The original decision is reversed, and a new decision is substituted in its place.
  • The original decision is upheld, meaning there is no change to the original decision.
  • The original decision is changed in part.
  • The appeal is withdrawn by the client.
  • An alternative solution is found, and the appeal is withdrawn or no longer required.

If a client’s first tier appeal is unsuccessful and the original decision is upheld, the client will be advised of their right to a second tier appeal by the HAC.

Social housing and accelerated appeals

Social housing providers generally apply the same approach to first tier appeals regardless of the decision that is under review. The exceptions to this are the following decisions which undergo an accelerated first and second tier appeal process:

  • DCJ decisions relating to:
    • a first offer of alternative housing made to tenants being relocated for portfolio management purposes
    • sections 145 and 149 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010
    • change of circumstances after a lease review
    • Recognition as a Tenant
    • a rental bond
    • decisions relating to ending Private Rental Subsidy assistance.

All first and second tier appeals relating to these decisions are conducted using the accelerated appeal process. A client can request an accelerated appeal by completing the relevant section of the Review of Decision (First Tier Appeal) Application which includes consent for referral of the appeal to the HAC as an accelerated appeal. For convenience, some other DCJ forms also include a section for requesting an accelerated appeal. Go to Timeframes for clients to lodge an appeal below for more information about how to request an accelerated appeal and the timeframes.

If the outcome of an accelerated appeal is in the client’s favour, the client will be advised of the decision in writing.

If the outcome is not in the client’s favour, the client’s file will be referred directly to the HAC for a second tier appeal. The client will be advised in writing of the final outcome after the second tier review by the HAC is completed.

All appeals relating to Section 149, regardless of the recommendation made by the reviewing officer, must be sent by DCJ to the HAC.

Accelerated appeals relating to first offers of alternative social housing made to DCJ tenants being relocated for portfolio management purposes

DCJ tenants who are being relocated for portfolio management purposes can appeal the reasonableness of a first offer of an alternative social housing property.

A tenant can request an accelerated appeal by completing the relevant section of the Review of Decisions (First Tier Appeal) Application form which includes consent to refer of the appeal to the HAC as an accelerated appeal. For convenience, some other DCJ forms also include a section for requesting an accelerated appeal. Go to Timeframes for clients to lodge an appeal for more information about how to request an accelerated appeal and the timeframes.

DCJ will complete an accelerated first tier appeal and if the outcome is in the tenant’s favour, the tenant will be advised of the decision in writing. If the outcome is not in the tenant’s favour, DCJ will refer the tenant's file directly to the HAC for a second tier accelerated appeal.

The tenant will be advised by DCJ in writing of the final outcome after the second tier independent review by the HAC is completed. For more information, go to Timeframes for clients to lodge an appeal.

Accelerated appeals under Section 145 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010

Appeals under Section 145 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 relate to a DCJ decision that a tenant is no longer eligible to continue living in a property managed by DCJ. For more information, see the Types and Length of Lease policy.

In an appeal conducted under Section 145 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, the assessing officer will consider:

  • any representations made by the tenant, and
  • the particulars of the reasons provided by the original decision maker in accordance with Section 145(2) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

DCJ will interview the tenant in all appeals relating to Section 145 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

The outcome of the appeal may be any of the following:

  • a Notice of Termination should be issued, or
  • a Notice of Termination should not be issued, or
  • a lease extension should be granted.

Accelerated appeals under Section 149 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010

Appeals under Section 149 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 relate to a DCJ decision to issue a notice to terminate a tenancy when it has offered alternative social housing to a tenant and the tenant has refused all reasonable offers of accommodation. For more information, see the Changing a Tenancy policy.

A tenant can provide consent for an accelerated appeal at the same time they complete their relocation statement. Otherwise, they can request an accelerated appeal by completing the relevant section of the Review of Decisions (First Tier Appeal) Application form which includes consent to refer the appeal to the HAC as an accelerated appeal.

This form must be lodged with DCJ within 14 calendar days of the offer being made. For convenience, some other DCJ forms also include a section for requesting an accelerated appeal. Go to the Timeframes for clients to lodge an appeal below for more information about accelerated appeals and the timeframes.

If the client does not lodge the form within 14 calendar days, DCJ will not conduct an accelerated appeal. No other appeal to DCJ or the HAC will be considered.

The review will be conducted by a DCJ staff member in a management position.

When reviewing decisions under Section 149 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 about terminating a tenancy, the manager will consider:

The outcome of the review may be any of the following:

  • further offers of accommodation should be made, and the number of offers, or
  • a Notice of Termination should be issued, or
  • a Notice of Termination should not be issued.

As per section 4.3 of the Procedures Approved by the Minister for Reviews under Section 149 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, all appeals relating to Section 149, regardless of the recommendation made by the reviewing officer, must be sent to the HAC.

DCJ will hold a property offered under Section 149 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 for the duration of the review process.

Accelerated appeals relating to a change of circumstances after a DCJ lease review

Where a tenant remains ineligible to continue living in a property managed by DCJ after a change in their household circumstances has been considered, the tenant may request an accelerated review of this decision.

The outcome of the review may be any of the following:

  • a Notice of Termination should be issued, or
  • a Notice of Termination should not be issued, or
  • a lease extension should be granted.

Accelerated appeals relating to DCJ Recognition as a Tenant

DCJ may make a decision not to grant a provisional lease or Recognition as a Tenant following an assessment of a client’s eligibility under the Changing a Tenancy policy.

If the client has not already provided consent for an accelerated appeal to occur, they will have seven calendar days to provide written consent from being notified of the outcome. If the client does not provide written consent DCJ will not conduct an accelerated appeal. No other appeal to DCJ or the HAC will be considered.

Accelerated appeals relating to a DCJ rental bond deferral request

DCJ may make a decision to not grant a deferral of rental bond payments following an application for a deferral.

If the client has not already provided consent for an accelerated appeal to occur when applying for deferral, they will have seven calendar days from the date of receiving the decision to provide written consent. If the client does not provide written consent, DCJ will not conduct an accelerated appeal. No other appeal to DCJ or the HAC will be considered.

Accelerated appeals relating to withdrawal of Private Rental Subsidy assistance

DCJ or a Social Housing Management Transfer (SHMT) community housing provider may make a decision to end a Private Rental Subsidy assistance either because it has conducted a review of the client’s eligibility and determined that the client is no longer eligible, or because the client has refused a reasonable offer of social housing and is no longer eligible to receive a Private Rental Subsidy assistance.

In the situation where the decision is to withdraw a Private Rental Subsidy assistance due to the client’s refusal of a reasonable offer of social housing and the offer of social housing was made by DCJ, DCJ will hold the property vacant until the accelerated appeal process is finalised.

If the offer of social housing was made by a community housing provider participating in Housing Pathways, the community housing provider will advise the client if it will hold the property while the appeal is being processed and if so, the length of time it will hold it.

If the client has not already provided consent for an accelerated appeal to occur, they have seven calendar days to provide written consent. For more information, go to Timeframes for clients to lodge an appeal. If the client does not provide written consent, DCJ or the SHMT community housing provider will not conduct an accelerated appeal process and the property will be reallocated. No other appeal to DCJ or the SHMT community housing provider or the HAC will be considered.

Appeals relating to DCJ strike notices for antisocial behaviour

DCJ may issue a tenant with a strike notice when a substantiated antisocial behaviour incident has occurred. DCJ tenants can appeal the decision to issue a first or second strike notice.

For the purposes of this policy, first tier appeals for strike notices are the same as “submissions” under Section 154C subsection (2) (f) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

A tenant has 21 calendar days to appeal a decision to issue a first or second strike notice. If the tenant does not lodge an appeal within that period, no other appeal to DCJ or the HAC will be considered.

Appeals relating to the cancellation of the DCJ rent subsidy

DCJ may make a decision to cancel a tenant’s rent subsidy either because it has conducted a review of the tenant’s eligibility for a rent subsidy and found the tenant is no longer eligible; or because the tenant has not responded to a rent subsidy review request.

A tenant has 21 calendar days to appeal a decision to cancel their rent subsidy. If the tenant does not lodge an appeal within that period, no other appeal to DCJ or the HAC will be considered.

Second tier appeals – independent review by the HAC

If a client believes the decision made at the first tier appeal is incorrect, they can ask the HAC to review the decision.

The HAC is an independent agency that can review decisions made by DCJ and community housing providers. The HAC is informal and there is no charge to clients for this service. Find more information on the HAC website.

Generally, the HAC will not review a decision until after the first tier internal review of the decision has been completed.

However, there are situations where DCJ or the SHMT community housing provider will refer a client’s file directly to the HAC for a second tier independent review. This is known as an accelerated appeal. The client’s consent must be given prior to the transfer of the file. For more information see accelerated appeals.

Except in the cases outlined above, clients wishing to appeal to the HAC will need to sign to request an appeal online or sign the HAC Appeal Application form so that the client’s file can be provided to the HAC. DCJ or its associates will not be present at the HAC appeal hearing.

After its hearing, the HAC will make a recommendation that:

  • the original decision be maintained, or
  • the original decision be changed in full, or
  • the original decision be changed in part.

The HAC will also advise the client of their recommendation.

The final decision remains with DCJ or its associates, except for appeals to issue a first or second strike notice for antisocial behaviour. In those cases the HAC decision is binding and DCJ must adhere to the HAC’s recommendation.

The HAC constitutes the “review panel” referred to in s154C of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, and will consider and make determinations on DCJ tenant appeals against antisocial behaviour strikes.

In cases other than strike notice appeals, the recommendations made by the HAC will be carefully considered and whilst not binding, in most cases DCJ or its associates will accept the HAC recommendations.

If the HAC recommends that DCJ or its associates change a decision, in full or in part, the recommendation will be considered, and a response provided to the HAC generally within six weeks.

In cases relating to reviews under the Procedures Approved by the Minister for Reviews under Section 149 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, if DCJ decides, after careful consideration, not to accept the HACS's recommendation, the matter will be referred to a senior manager of DCJ for the final decision.

DCJ or its associates will advise the client in writing of the outcome of their second tier appeal.

Decisions that can be appealed

Eligibility for housing assistance:

  • eligibility for Emergency Temporary Accommodation
  • eligibility for Initial Temporary Accommodation
  • eligibility for social housing
  • confirmation of Aboriginality
  • removal from the NSW Housing Register
  • former social housing tenant category
  • eligibility for joint tenancy
  • eligibility for housing assistance for elderly clients
  • eligibility for Tenancy Assistance
  • eligibility for Rentstart Move
  • eligibility for Advance Rent
  • eligibility for Rentstart Bond Loan.

DCJ Recognition as a Tenant:

  • eligibility for Provisional Lease
  • eligibility for DCJ Recognition as a Tenant.

Offers of social housing:

  • location offered when housing assistance is being provided to a client on the NSW Housing Register
  • classification of a rejected offer by a client on the NSW Housing Register as 'reasonable’, with some exceptions as noted in Decisions that cannot be appealed
  • the reasonableness of an offer made and the assessment of bedroom entitlement when a Vacant Bedroom Charge is applied to a DCJ tenant
  • first offer of alternative social housing made to a DCJ tenant being relocated for portfolio management purposes .

Type and length of lease:

  • type and length of lease offered when entering DCJ managed housing
  • lease extension not offered to a DCJ tenant on a two, five or 10 year lease due to a change of circumstances after a lease review
  • type and length of lease offered at lease extension to a DCJ tenant
  • notice under Section 145 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 that a DCJ tenant is no longer eligible to reside in public housing.

Property repairs, modifications, maintenance and damage:

  • DCJ tenant request to waive repair cost charges on the grounds of ill health, domestic and family violence or the criminal activity of a third party
  • DCJ tenant repair cost charges
  • charges at vacation of a dwelling where not covered by the NCAT
  • DCJ tenant request for home modification to a property that they currently reside in for disability/medical reasons
  • eligibility assessment when DCJ considers a request for a swimming pool.

Antisocial behaviour:

  • first and second strike notices issued by DCJ for antisocial behaviour.

Absence from a DCJ managed dwelling:

  • request for absence from a DCJ managed property
  • eligibility for $5 minimum rent charge.

Changes to a household of a DCJ managed property :

  • request to house an additional occupant at a DCJ managed property.

Transfer and mutual exchange:

  • eligibility to transfer properties for a DCJ tenant
  • eligibility for a mutual exchange of properties for a DCJ tenant
  • eligibility for tenancy reinstatement for a former DCJ tenant
  • eligibility for priority transfer for a DCJ tenant.

Ending a tenancy:

  • eligibility for a statement of satisfactory tenancy for former DCJ tenants
  • former social housing tenant category
  • decision to terminate a DCJ managed tenancy
  • decision by DCJ to issue a notice to terminate a tenancy when it has offered alternative social housing to a tenant and the tenant has refused all reasonable offers of accommodation.

Rentstart Bond Loan decisions:

  • the amount of assistance provided under Rentstart Bond Loan, for example, the amount of bond assistance and/or Advance Rent provided
  • decision to decline a client applying for their third Bond Loan
  • decision to suspend a client’s access to further Rentstart assistance
  • decision to decline an application when a client makes another application and they are suspended from further assistance
  • decision to decline a payment variation request
  • decision to decline a payment deferral request.

Private Rental Subsidy assistance decisions:

  • ending a Private Rental Subsidy assistance following a review
  • ending or cancelling a Private Rental Subsidy assistance following a refusal of a reasonable offer of social housing
  • ending a Private Rental Subsidy assistance following an investigation into non-disclosure.

Rent Choice Subsidy assistance decisions:

  • ending or cancelling a Rent Choice Subsidy assistance following a review
  • adjusting, ending or cancelling a Rent Choice Subsidy assistance following an investigation into non-disclosure
  • decision to commence tapering of a Rent Choice Subsidy assistance
  • decision to vary the rate of tapering applied to a Rent Choice Subsidy assistance
  • decision to decline an application - Rent Choice Assist only.

DCJ Rental Bond:

  • decline a request for a deferral of Rental Bond payments.

DCJ Rent subsidy payments and water charges:

  • eligibility for DCJ client or tenant rent subsidy
  • calculation of DCJ rent subsidy
  • end DCJ rent subsidy
  • adjustment or cancellation of DCJ rent subsidy or Rent Choice, following an investigation into rent subsidy non-disclosure
  • calculation of percentage water usage charge for a DCJ tenant.

Decisions that cannot be appealed: 

Some decisions cannot be appealed. Decisions that cannot be appealed are set out below.

Ineligible – Registrable person:

  • the decision that a client is ineligible for social housing because they are a registrable person assessed as meeting any of the ineligible grounds below:
    • he or she has a history of having committed registrable offences, and
    • it is likely that the provision of social housing will:
      • cause antisocial behaviour, and/or
      • present an unacceptable risk of harm to the client, to other occupants of the building or to neighbours.

Extension of Temporary Accommodation:

  • an extension of Temporary Accommodation relates to the continuation of a client’s Temporary Accommodation. Extensions of Temporary Accommodation are generally provided by the local DCJ Housing office or Social Housing Management Transfer (SHMT) community housing provider (CHP) following a housing needs assessment.

Home modifications:

  • requests for home modifications from an applicant listed on the NSW Housing Register.

Private Rental Subsidy assistance:

  • the amount of assistance provided under a Private Rental Subsidy assistance
  • the amount of assistance provided under Rent Choice Subsidy assistance
  • decisions to end a Rent Choice Subsidy assistance when the client has been given the maximum 36 months.

DCJ rental bond loan:

  • the amount of a DCJ rental bond loan payable.

Market rent:

  • the market rent applied to a DCJ managed property.

Vacant Bedroom Charge:

  • the decision to apply a Vacant Bedroom Charge to a DCJ managed tenancy.

Property sales:

  • a decision not to sell a Department of Planning and Environment owned property, managed by DCJ.

Length of lease:

  • decisions in relation to the length of lease offered after a Section 142 notice has been issued to an existing DCJ tenant.

Notices and offers:

  • issuing a Notice of Termination for breaches of a DCJ tenancy agreement, for example rent arrears or antisocial behaviour
  • the reasonableness of an offer made to tenants under Section 149 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

Tenancy management transfer:

  • the transfer of tenancy management from DCJ managed housing to a community housing provider.

Other matters, decisions and policies:

  • matters that the NCAT can resolve, such as:
    • if DCJ does not meet its obligations to carry out repairs and maintenance to a client’s property,
    • the calculation of actual water charges,
    • if a tenant’s request for an alteration to their property is declined,
    • if a tenant or DCJ disagree with the amount of a rental bond claim, and
    • termination of a tenancy by DCJ.
    • matters for which clients cannot make an application to DCJ. For example, general upgrades of housing or priority status on the NSW Housing Register
    • decisions that are not directly related to the person or household, for example, the allocation of housing to another person
    • DCJ policies, rather than the application of policy to a client’s circumstances
    • reports made under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.

Timeframes for clients to lodge an appeal

The timeframe that a client has to lodge an appeal will vary depending on the type of appeal issue.

Timeframe to lodge an appeal

Appeal issue

Lodgement details

No limit

Former social housing tenant or category

Within two business days of being declined
  • Eligibility for initial Temporary Accommodation
  • Eligibility for Emergency Temporary Accommodation

Within seven calendar days of notification

  • end PRS assistance following review*
  • end PRS assistance following refusal of reasonable offer*
  • end PRS Start Safely following review (those approved pre-Nov 2016)*
  • DCJ Recognition as a Tenant*
  • type and length of public housing lease after offer of lease extension if client is on three or six month fixed term.

*Client can provide consent for an accelerated appeal at the time of completing the application form or agreement otherwise within seven days of the issue

Within 14 calendar days of notification

  • end Rent Choice Assistance following review
  • first offer of alternative social housing made to a DCJ tenant being relocated for portfolio management purposes
  • offer of alternative social housing made under Section 149
  • change of circumstances following lease review for those on two, five or 10 year lease.

Within 21 calendar days of notification

  • DCJ issued first and second strike notices for antisocial behaviour
  • end rental subsidy for DCJ tenant
  • rent, Private Rental or Rent Choice subsidy adjustment or cancellation following an investigation into non-disclosure.

Within 30 calendar days of notification

  • type and length of lease offered when entering public housing
  • type and length of public housing lease after offer of lease extension if tenant is on two, five or 10 year lease
  • eligibility to continue in public housing under Section 145 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, for those on two, five or 10 year lease.
Within 3 months of original decision

All other appealable matters, including:

  • eligibility for joint tenancy
  • Confirmation of Aboriginality
  • classification of rejected offer by an applicant as reasonable
  • location offered when housing assistance is being provided to an applicant on the NSW Housing Register
  • reasonableness of offers made when a Vacant Bedroom Charge is applied to a DCJ tenant
  • assessment of bedroom entitlement when a Vacant Bedroom Charge is applied to a DCJ tenant
  • DCJ tenant request for home modification for disability/medical reasons to a property they currently reside in
  • DCJ tenant repair cost charges
  • request for absence from a DCJ managed property
  • eligibility for $5 minimum rent charge
  • request to house an additional occupant at a DCJ managed property
  • application to transfer properties for a DCJ tenant
  • application for a mutual exchange of properties for a DCJ tenant
  • eligibility for a statement of satisfactory tenancy for former DCJ tenant
  • Rentstart Bond Loan decisions:
    • amount of assistance
    • decline a client applying for their third Bond Loan
    • suspend a client’s access to further Rentstart assistance
    • decline an application when a client makes a new application and they are suspended from further assistance
    • decline a payment variation request
    • decline a payment deferral request.
  • Rent Choice Subsidy decisions:
    • to commence tapering
    • to vary the rate of tapering
    • to decline an application – Rent Choice Assist only.
  • decline a request for a deferral of rental bond payments
  • calculation of rent subsidy for a DCJ tenant
  • calculation of percentage water usage charge for a DCJ tenant
  • eligibility for tenancy reinstatement for a DCJ tenant.

Timeframe for consideration of appeals

DCJ (and its associates) usually make a decision on a first tier internal review within 21 calendar days of receiving a client’s completed application form. Priority is given to appeals of certain decisions as outlined below.

If an appeal is not resolved within the relevant timeframe, the client will be advised in writing of the reasons for the delay and the expected timeframe for completion.

Timeframes for consideration of appeals

Appeal issue

Timeframe for consideration

Urgent situations regarding rental assistance

Within 48 hours

Urgent situations regarding eligibility for tenancy statements

Within 48 hours

Decisions to cancel the DCJ rent subsidy

Within five calendar days

Decisions to terminate DCJ managed tenancies under Section 149 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, where alternative public housing has been offered

Within 19 calendar days

Note: DCJ has seven calendar days to complete the initial review. HAC has seven calendar days to complete the second tier review. DCJ has five calendar days to advise the tenant of the outcome of the second tier review.

First offer of alternative housing made to a DCJ tenant being relocated for portfolio management purposes.

Within 30 calendar days

Note: DCJ has seven calendar days to complete the first tier appeal and two business days to send the matter to the HAC if the outcome is not in the tenant’s favour. On a case by case basis, Districts may grant an extension if a client can demonstrate that more time is needed to provide evidence for the first tier appeal. The HAC has 21 calendar days to complete the second tier appeal.

Eligibility for Private Rental Subsidy assistance following a review

Within 17 calendar days for an eligibility review

Note: Providers have two calendar days to complete the initial review.

Within 24 calendar days if an offer is rejected

Note: Providers have nine calendar days to complete the initial review.

Eligibility for Rent Choice Subsidy following a review

Within 14 calendar days for an eligibility review

Decisions of DCJ to issue first or second strike notice for antisocial behaviour

Within 21 calendar days

The HAC has 21 calendar days to make a determination which is binding on DCJ.

Cancellation or adjustment of a DCJ Rent Subsidy, Private Rental Subsidy or Rent Choice Subsidy, following an investigation into non-disclosure.

Within 21 calendar days

Eligibility for Recognition as a Tenant to a DCJ managed tenancy

This applies when a client:

  • is not granted a provisional lease, and as a result is ineligible for Recognition as a Tenant, or
  • is declined for Recognition as a Tenant

Within 33 calendar days

Note: DCJ has 14 calendar days to complete the initial review (includes seven calendar days for the client to provide additional information or consent for an accelerated appeal).

HAC has:

  • 14 calendar days to complete the review for provisional lease not granted.
  • 21 calendar days to complete the review for declined recognition as a tenant.

Upon receipt of HAC recommendation, DCJ has one calendar day to make final decision.

Rental bond

This applies when DCJ:

  • Makes a decision relating a request to defer payments
Priority will be given to this type of appeal.

Eligibility decisions under Section 145 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 in a DCJ managed property

Within 55 calendar days

Note: DCJ has 20 calendar days to complete the initial review.

Eligibility decisions relating to a change of circumstances following a lease review of a DCJ managed property

Priority will be given to this type of appeal

NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) action that is underway in respect of the client making the appeal

Priority will be given to this type of appeal

4. Legislation and compliance

There is no specific legislative structure for appeals or client feedback processes. However, DCJ and its associates must always act in a lawful way, including when making decisions on client entitlements. DCJ and its associates operate within the following frameworks:

5. Further information

If a client is unhappy with a review of a privacy complaint, the client may be entitled to refer the matter to the NCAT. If the client feels the issue has not been satisfactorily resolved, they may contact the NSW Ombudsman.

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Last updated: 01 Aug 2022