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Client Service Delivery and Appeals Policy

Last published 01 Nov 2018

1. Background

As an agency of the New South Wales Government, the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) 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 its 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 FACS staff and its associates (which includes consultants and 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 FACS including tenants of the Aboriginal Housing Office.

3. Policy statement

All FACS 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 FACS’ standards, it will be corrected. In return, it is expected that clients will treat FACS staff and its associates with courtesy. The standards of behaviour expected of FACS staff, its associates and clients are outlined in the Service Standards section of this policy.

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

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

If a tenant of disagrees with a decision made by FACS; or an applicant disagrees with a decision made by FACS 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:

  • Contact FACS on 1800 422 322
  • Access the FACS website to view policies, fact sheets and other publications
  • Contact the office of their local FACS or community housing provider participating in Housing Pathways

To ensure that all clients across New South Wales have equal access to housing assistance and information FACS 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 FACS 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 FACS services translated into major community languages.

The way staff treats clients

In dealing with clients, FACS 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.

FACS staff and its associates aims 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 FACS and its associates expects their staff to be treated

It is expected that clients treat staff with courtesy. FACS staff and its associates have a responsibility to work supportively with clients who are facing difficulties and who may be experiencing stress. However, FACS 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.

FACS 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, FACS staff or its associates will update their file to reflect this.

Following serious and inappropriate incidents, FACS 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, FACS 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. FACS 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 FACS 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, FACS may ask the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an order of immediate possession under Section 90 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

FACS 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 FACS 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, FACS 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 FACS 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 FACS policies, systems and service delivery. For more information on the types of feedback that FACS 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 the Client Feedback Service section of contact us.

For reports of fraud or corruption by staff or clients, please see the reporting fraud or corruption section of contact us.

Feedback will be considered in an equitable, objective and unbiased manner and a client’s privacy will be respected. FACS 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 Family and Community 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 FACS 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 FACS has failed to respond appropriately to their feedback, it will then be managed as a complaint.

Complaints management

Complaints regarding FACS staff or a decision made by FACS will be acknowledged and reviewed, with an outcome provided generally  within 15 working days. However, any complaint regarding  a privacy issue will be completed within 60 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 FACS 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 Tenancy Advocacy Service 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 by 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 includes:

  • 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 FACS expects its 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 3, 6 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 when communicating its decisions.

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

There are two levels of appeal:

  • First tier – internal review by the organisation who made the decision, and
  • Second tier – independent review by the Housing Appeals Committee.

First tier appeal – internal review by FACS

This applies to decisions made on applications and FACS tenancy matters. Decisions made on community housing providers tenancy matters will be managed in accordance with that providers 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 or download a copy from the FACS website. In most cases the clients must lodge the application within three months of the original decision being made, however, timeframes for some appeals are shorter. Go to  Timeframe to lodge an appeal for more information.
  • The 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 20 working 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 FACS 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 FACS 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.
  • The original decision is changed in part.
  • The appeal is withdrawn by the client.
  • An alternative solution is found.

If a client’s first tier appeal is unsuccessful and the original decision is upheld, The client will be advised of their right to appeal to the  Housing Appeals Committee.

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:

  • FACSdecisions relating to Section 149 and 145 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.
  • FACS decisions relating to a Change of Circumstances after a lease review.
  • Decisions relating to ending Private Rental Subsidy assistance.
  • FACS decisions relating to Recognition as a Tenant.
  • FACS decisions relating to rental bond.

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 Decisions (First Tier Appeal) Application which includes consent for referral of the appeal to the Housing Appeals Committee as an accelerated appeal. For convenience, some other FACS forms also include a section for requesting an accelerated appeal. Go to the Timeframe 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 Housing Appeals Committee as a second tier appeal. The client will be advised in writing of the final outcome after the second tier independent review by the Housing Appeals Committee is completed.

Accelerated appeals under Section 145 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010

Appeals under Section 145 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 relate to FAC' decision that a tenant is no longer eligible to continue living in a property managed by FACS. 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.

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

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

  • A Notice of Termination should be issued.
  • A Notice of Termination should not be issued.
  • 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 FACS decision to issue a Notice of Intent to Issue a Notice of Termination 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.

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

When reviewing decisions about the issue of a Notice of Intent to issue a Notice of Termination under the section 149 Ministerial Guidelines and Procedures, the manager will consider:

  • Any representations made by the tenant, and
  • The particulars of the reasons provided by the original decision maker in accordance with Section 149(3) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, and
  • The approved Ministerial Guidelines and Procedures relating to Section 149.

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

  • Further offers of accommodation should be made, and the number of offers.
  • A Notice of Termination should be issued.
  • A Notice of Termination should not be issued.

Accelerated appeals relating to a change of circumstances after lease review

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

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

  • A Notice of Termination should be issued.
  • A Notice of Termination should not be issued.
  • A lease extension should be granted.

Accelerated appeals relating to FACS Recognition as a Tenant

FACS 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 7 days to provide written consent. If the client does not provide written consent FACS will not conduct an accelerated appeal process. No other appeal to FACS or the Housing Appeals Committee will be considered.

Accelerated appeals relating to a rental bond

FACS 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 7 days from the date of receiving the decision to provide written consent. If the client does not provide written consent, FACS will not conduct an accelerated appeal. No other appeal to FACS or the Housing Appeals Committee will be available.

Accelerated appeals relating to withdrawal of Private Rental Subsidy assistance

FACS 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 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 FACS, FACS 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 7 days to provide written consent. For more information, go to Timeframe to lodge an appeal. If the client does not provide written consent, FACS or the SHMT community housing provider will not conduct an accelerated appeal process and the property will be reallocated. No other appeal to FACS or the SHMT community housing provider or the Housing Appeals Committee will be considered.

Appeals relating to strike notices for antisocial behaviour

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

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 FACS or the Housing Appeals Committee will be considered.

Appeals relating to the cancellation of the rent subsidy

FACS 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 time limit of 21 days from advice of decision applies where a tenant wishes to appeal against a decision to cancel their rent subsidy. If the tenant does not lodge an appeal within that period, no other appeal to FACS or the Housing Appeals Committee will be considered.

Second tier appeals – independent review by the Housing Appeals Committee

If a client believes the decision made in the first tier appeal is incorrect, they can ask the Housing Appeals Committee to review the decision.

The Housing Appeals Committee is an independent agency that can review decisions of FACS and community housing providers. The Committee is informal and there is no charge to clients for this service. Find more information on the Housing Appeals Committee website.

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

However, there are situations where FACS or the SHMT community housing provider will refer a client’s file directly to the Housing Appeals Committee 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 Committee will need to sign the Housing Appeals Committee Appeal Application form so that the client’s file can be provided to the Committee. FACS or its associates will not be present at the appeal hearing.

After its hearing, the Housing Appeals Committee 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 Committee will also advise the client of their recommendation.

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

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

In cases other than strike notice appeals, the recommendations made by the Housing Appeals Committee will be carefully considered but FACS or its associates are not bound by those recommendations.

If the Committee recommends that FACS or its associate change a decision, in full or in part, the recommendation will be considered and a response provided to the Committee, generally within 6 weeks. In cases relating to appeals under the Section 149 Ministerial Guidelines, if FACS decides, after careful consideration, not to accept the Committee’s recommendation, the matter will be referred to a senior manager of FACS for the final decision.

FACS or its associate will advise the client in writing of the outcome of their second tier appeal.

Decisions that can be appealed

Many decisions made can be appealed. These decisions are set out below:

  • Eligibility for Rentstart assistance, including Temporary Accommodation, Tenancy Assistance, Rentstart Move, Advance Rent and Rentstart Bond Loan. For more information about Rentstart Bond Loans, go to Rentstart Bond Loan decisions that can be appealed.
  • Eligibility for social housing.
  • Eligibility for emergency temporary accommodation.
  • Eligibility for a statement of satisfactory tenancy for former FACS tenants.
  • Removal from the social housing register.
  • Priority housing assistance.
  • Former social housing tenant or occupant category.
  • The location offered when housing assistance is being provided to an applicant on the NSW Housing Register.
  • The classification of a rejected offer by an applicant on the NSW Housing Register as 'reasonable’.
  • The reasonableness of offers made and the assessment of bedroom entitlements when a Vacant Bedroom Charge is applied to a FACS tenant.
  • Eligibility assessments when FACS considers a request for a swimming pool.
  • The type and length of lease offered when an offer of a public housing property is made.
  • Calculation of FACS rent subsidies.
  • Cancellation of FACS rent subsidies.
  • Calculation of percentage water usage charges by FACS.
  • FACS tenant repair cost charges.
  • Requests to waive FACS tenant repair cost charges on the grounds of ill health, domestic and family violence or the criminal activity of a third party.
  • Requests for home modifications from a FACS tenant for a property that they currently reside in.
  • First strike and second strike notices for antisocial behaviour issued by FACS.
  • Requests for absence from FACS managed property.
  • Requests to house an additional occupant into a FACS managed property.
  • Eligibility to remain in public housing through recognition as a tenant or succession.
  • Transfer application from a FACS tenant.
  • Mutual exchange application from a FACS tenant.
  • Notice under Section 149 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 that FACS intends to issue a Notice of Termination where a tenant has been offered alternative social housing premises.
  • Notice under Section 145 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 that a FACS tenant is no longer eligible to reside in public housing.
  • Eligibility for an extension of a lease as a result of a change of circumstances following a lease review of a FACS tenant.
  • Confirmation of Aboriginality.
  •  

Rentstart Bond Loan decisions that can be appealed

  • 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 reapplies and they are suspended from further assistance.
  • Decision to decline a payment variation request.
  • Decision to decline a payment deferral request.

Rental bond decisions that can be appealed:

  • Decline of a request for a deferral of bond payments

Private Rental Subsidy decisions that can be appealed

  • Ending or cancelling a Private Rental Subsidy assistance when a client refuses a reasonable offer of social housing.
  • Ending a Private Rental Subsidy assistance after a review.

Rent Choice decisions that can be appealed

  • Ending or cancelling a Rent Choice Subsidy following a review.
  • Decision to commence tapering of a Rent Choice subsidy.
  • Decision to vary the rate of tapering applied to a Rent Choice subsidy.
  • Decision to decline an application - Rent Choice Assist only.

Decisions that cannot be appealed

Some decisions made cannot be appealed. These decisions are set out below:

  • Matters that the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) can resolve. For example, if FACS does not meet its obligations to carry out repairs and maintenance to a client’s property, the calculation of actual water charges, if a client’s request for an alteration to their property is declined, if a tenant or FACS disagree with the amount of a rental bond claim, and termination of a tenancy by FACS.
  • Issuing a Notice of Termination for breaches of a FACS tenancy agreement, for example rent arrears and antisocial behaviour.
  • Decisions that are not directly related to the person or household. For example, the allocation of housing to another person.
  • FACS policies, rather than the application of policy to a client’s circumstances.
  • Matters for which clients cannot make an application to FACS. For example, general upgrades of housing.
  • The amount of assistance provided under Private Rental Subsidy assistance.
  • The amount of rental bond payable or the market rent
  • Decisions in relation to the length of lease offered after a Section 142 notice has been issued to an existing FACS tenant.
  • Reports made under the Children and Young Person Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.
  • The decision to apply a Vacant Bedroom Charge to a FACS managed tenancy.
  • The amount of assistance provided under the Rent Choice Subsidy.
  • Decisions to end a Rent Choice Subsidy when the client has been given the maximum 36 months assistance.
  • A decision not to sell a FACS property.
  • Requests for home modifications from an applicant listed on the NSW Housing Register.
  • The tenancy management transfer from public housing to a community housing provider.

For more information on which decisions can be appealed by tenants who are transferring or being relocated due to under-occupancy, see Decisions that can be appealed

Timeframe to lodge an appeal

The timeframe to lodge an appeal will vary depending on the type of appeal issue.

In most cases, clients must lodge an appeal within three months of the original decision being made except for the following appeal issues.

Appeal Timeframe Overview

Timeframe to Appeal

Appeal issue

No limit

Former social housing tenant or occupant category

Within 7 days of issue

  • End   PRS assistance following review*
  • End   PRS assistance following refusal of reasonable offer*
  • End   PRS Start Safely following review (those approved pre-Nov 2016)*
  • FACS   Recognition as a Tenant*
  • Type   and length of public housing lease after offer of lease extension if client   is on 3 or 6 month fixed term

*Client can provide consent for an accelerated appeal at the time of completing the application form or agreement otherwise within 7 days of the issue

Within 14 days of notification

  • End   Rent Choice Assistance following review
  • Offer   of alternative social housing under Section 149
  • Change   of circumstances following lease review for those on 2, 5, or 10 year lease

Within 21 days

  • End   Rental subsidy for FACS tenant
  • FACS   issued First and Second Strike Notices for antisocial behaviour

Within 30 days

  • Type   and length of lease offered when entering public housing
  • Type   and length of public housing lease after offer of lease extension if client   is on 2, 5, or 10 year lease
  • Eligibility   to continue in public housing under Section 145 of the RTA, for those on 2,   5, or 10 year lease

For detailed information about appeal issues, see below.

Appeal issue

Lodgement Details

Ending Private Rental Subsidy assistance following an individual or scheduled review.
This applies when FACS or the SHMT community housing provider conducts:

  • a   periodic review of the client’s eligibility, or
  • a   review after a client advises a change in circumstances.

A client can provide consent for an accelerated appeal at the time of the review by completing the consent section of the Private Rental Subsidy review & change of circumstances form.

Otherwise an appeal must be requested within 7 days of being notified of the decision to end the Private Rental Subsidy assistance. The client must complete the online Review of decisions - First Tier Appeal Application or download the form from the FACS website

Ending Private Rental Subsidy assistance due to a refusal of a reasonable offer.
This includes a review of whether:

  • the   offer was a reasonable rejection, and
  • the   subsidy should be reinstated.

Within 7 days of rejecting the offer. The client must complete the online Review of decisions - First Tier Appeal Application or download the form from the FACS website

Ending Private Rental Subsidy Start Safely assistance following a scheduled review.
This applies following:

  • a   periodic review of the client's eligibility, or
  • a   review after a client advises a change in circumstance.

(This process is only applicable to clients approved pre-November 2016)

A client can provide consent for an accelerated appeal at the time of the approval for Private Rental Subsidy Start Safely by completing the consent section of the Start Safely Agreement.

Otherwise an appeal must be requested within 7 days of being notified of the decision to end the Rent Choice Subsidy assistance. The client must complete the online Review of decisions – First Tier Appeal Application or download the form from the FACS website

Ending Rent Choice assistance following a scheduled review.
This applies following:

  • a   periodic review of the client's eligibility, or
  • a   review after a client advises a change in circumstances.

An appeal must be requested within 14 days of being notified of the decision to end Rent Choice Subsidy. The client must complete the online Review of decisions – First Tier Appeal Application or download the form from the FACS website

Recognition as a Tenant

This applies when a FACS 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.

A client can provide consent for an accelerated appeal at the time of applying for Recognition as a Tenant by completing the consent in the Recognition as a Tenant Supplement.

Otherwise an appeal must be requested within 7 days of being notified of the decision. The client must complete the online Review of decisions - First Tier Appeal Application or download the form from the FACS website

Rental bond

  • Decline of a request for a deferral of bond payments

A client can provide consent for an accelerated appeal at the time of applying for a deferral by completing the consent in the deferral request application.

Otherwise, an appeal must be requested within 7 days of being notified of the decision by completing the Review of Decisions (First Tier Appeal) Application –FACS.

Offer of alternative social housing property:

Under Section 149 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, a client can request a review of FACS decision to notify the client that it intends to terminate their tenancy because an offer of an alternative social housing property has been made and the client has not accepted that offer.

Within 14 days after the client is sent a Notice of Intent to Issue a Notice of Termination.

The client must complete the Application for review of decision - Section 149 Residential Tenancies Act 2010 Form.

Type and length of lease offered when a client enters public housing:

This applies when a client disagrees with the type or length of a tenancy offered.

Within 30 days of:

  • Notice   of the offer, or
  • Sign   up, or
  • Notice   following the review of additional information

Type and length of lease offered after a lease extension is granted:

This applies when a client disagrees with the length of a tenancy offered by FACS.

  • If   the client is on a 2, 5 or 10 year lease, within 30 days after notification   of the length of the new lease.
  • If   the client is on a three or six month fixed term lease, within 7 days after   notification of the length of the new lease.

Eligibility to continue living in public housing under Section 145 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010:

A client can request a review of FACS decision that they are no longer eligible to continue living in public housing.

If the client is on a 2, 5 or 10 year lease, within 30 days of the notification of the decision.

The client must complete the Application for review of decision - Section 145 Residential Tenancies Act form.

Change of circumstances following a lease review:

This applies when a client disagrees with a decision not to offer an extension of the lease based on a change of circumstances following a lease review.

If the client is on a 2, 5 or 10 year lease, within 14 days of the notification of the decision.

The client must complete the Application for review of decision - change of circumstances after lease review form.

Ending a Tenants Rental Subsidy of a property managed by FACS.

Within 21 days after the tenant is sent a notice advising the rent subsidy has been cancelled. The client must complete the online Review of decisions - First Tier Appeal Application or download the form from the FACS website.

First Strike and Second Strike Notices for antisocial behaviour issued by FACS.

Within 21 calendar days after the tenant is sent a First or Second Strike Notice for antisocial behaviour

Former social housing tenant or occupant category

No limit.

All other appealable matters

Within three months of the original decision. The client must complete the online Review of decisions – First Tier Appeal Application or download the form from the FACS website.

In some circumstances this timeframe may be extended, for example, where the client would be significantly disadvantaged if they could not lodge their appeal.

Timeframe for consideration of appeals

FACS (and its associates) usually make a decision on a first tier internal review within 20 calendar days of receiving a client’s 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.

Timeframe 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 rent subsidy

Within 5 calendar days

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

Within 19 calendar days

Note: FACS has 7 calendar days to complete the initial review. The remainder of the time is applicable where the file is transferred to the Housing Appeals Committee for review.

Eligibility for Private Rental Subsidy assistance following a review

Within 17 calendar days for an eligibility review

Note: Providers have 2 calendar days to complete the initial review.

Within 24 calendar days if an offer is rejected

Note: Providers have 9 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 FACS to issue First or Second Strike Notice for antisocial behaviour

Within 21 calendar days

The Housing Appeals Committee has 21 calendar days to make a determination which is binding on FACS.

Eligibility for Recognition as a Tenant to a FACS 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 days

Note: FACS has 14 calendar days to complete the initial review (includes 7 days for the client to provide additional information or consent for an accelerated appeal).

Housing Appeals Committee (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, FACS has 1 calendar day to make final decision.

Rental bond

This applies when FACS:

  • 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 FACS managed property

Within 55 calendar days

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

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

Priority will be given to this type of appeal

NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal 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, FACS and its associates must always act in a lawful way, including when making decisions on client entitlements. FACS and its associates operates 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 NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. If the client feels the issue has not been satisfactorily resolved, they may contact the NSW Ombudsman.

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