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Eligibility for priority housing assistance – unable to resolve need in private rental market

1. Factors that make it difficult to rent privately

Housing providers will assess a client’s ability to resolve their urgent housing need in the private rental market by looking at the following factors, which may make it difficult to rent privately:

  • any assets or savings the client could use
  • the client’s housing requirements, such as the number of bedrooms their household size requires, or the need for disability modifications
  • the number of bedrooms required to meet the needs of a child to return from out-of-home care, or to help prevent children from entering out-of-home care
  • the appropriateness of alternative housing options such as supported accommodation, or Rentstart
  • the availability and cost of private rental accommodation that matches the client’s housing requirements in their preferred area, as well as other suitable areas
  • the inability of the client to obtain private rental accommodation due to any personal circumstance or characteristic which is likely, or has been shown, to reduce their access to private rental
  • medical expenses for enduring (permanent, or likely to be permanent) disability, medical condition or permanent injury resulting in them incurring significant ongoing financial costs
  • whether the client has a psychiatric, developmental, or intellectual disability or mental illness, which makes it difficult for them to rent in the private market
  • private rental brokerage would not be, or has not been, successful.

The client’s ability to afford private rental accommodation is determined by assessing all forms of income received by the household. Housing providers will consider that rent is affordable if it does not exceed 50% of the household’s total gross weekly income, plus 100% of Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

A client’s ability to afford private rental accommodation is based on their gross household income. For priority housing assessment purposes, housing providers cannot take personal debts of any kind into consideration. Clients who are experiencing serious hardship due to debt should contact the Office of Fair Trading for information on financial counselling groups and services.

Clients must provide proof they are unable to resolve their need in the private rental market, for more information, see item 23 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

The existence of a DCJ Housing recognition as a tenant provisional lease does not deem the client ineligible for priority housing assistance. The client may still be in urgent need, and an appropriate assessment will be undertaken to determine if the client is able to resolve that need in the private rental market. For further information see the Eligibility for Social Housing policy.

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Last updated: 16 Nov 2023