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Eligibility for social housing – ability to sustain a successful tenancy

  1. Criteria to be addressed in an independent living skills report
  2. Clients requiring Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)
  3. Specific conditions for former social housing tenants or occupants

1. Criteria to be addressed in an independent living skills report

Note that a person is not eligible for social housing if:

  • They have Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) as a component of their National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) support plan.

Hence they should not proceed with an independent living skills report if they have SDA.

There are four criteria that need to be addressed in an independent living skills report. Clients must demonstrate their ability to sustain a tenancy without support or with appropriate support in place:

1. Financial management:

  • The person has the ability to manage their own finances, or
  • Their finances are managed by the NSW Trustee and Guardian, or
  • They can demonstrate that a third party is managing their finances.

2. Property care:

  • The person has the ability to maintain their home in a satisfactory condition, and
  • Not cause property damage.

3. Personal care:

  • The person has the ability to look after their basic day to day personal care needs, or
  • They are supported in this function by a service provider such as Homecare, or
  • They are supported in this function by a carer.

4. Social interaction:

  • The person is able to live in close contact with others without being the cause of antisocial behaviour, and
  • Is able to be responsible for their conduct as well as the conduct of their visitors.

A housing provider will use the results of the living skills assessment or independent living skills report to determine whether the provision of support services and social housing is the most appropriate response to the client’s housing and care needs.

Where a client is unable to demonstrate an ability to maintain a successful tenancy, the housing provider will refer the client to appropriate support agencies.

Providers cannot consider requests for social housing in cases where:

  • A person requiring support from a service provider refuses to access appropriate services, or
  • A person has not demonstrated the ability to live independently and refuses permission for an external agency or their support worker to assess their living skills.

2. Clients requiring Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is accommodation for NDIS participants who require specialist housing solutions to assist with the delivery of their supports and which cater for their significant functional impairment or very high support needs.

Clients who receive SDA as a component of their NDIS support plan are not eligible for social housing as their housing needs are met by SDA.

Clients who are being, or will be assessed for SDA will be suspended on the NSW Housing Register (if eligible) until the outcome of their SDA assessment is known.

Clients who do not meet eligibility criteria for social housing or SDA should be supported by their support provider to contact the NDIA for a review of their NDIS support plan.

Clients transitioning from SDA to mainstream housing because they no longer require a long term or high level SDA response will have their situation assessed by the social housing provider, with decisions made on a case by case basis.

3. Specific conditions for former social housing tenants or occupants

The following specific conditions apply depending on the category of the former social housing tenant or occupant and the requirements of the NSW Limitation Act 1969. For more information go to Ending a tenancy – Categorising a tenancy or occupancy

Table 1: Specific conditions for former social housing tenants or occupants

Specific Condition

Additional Information

Categories the Condition Applies to

Impact of the NSW Limitation Act 1969

Former social housing tenancy debt is acknowledged, and a repayment arrangement is made. The debt repayment history is reviewed before an offer is made. See the Acknowledgement and Agreement to Repay Debt form.

The application is made live on the NSW Housing Register only if there are no other specific conditions that must be met first.

The provider that managed the former tenancy will negotiate the repayment arrangement and review the client’s repayment history. Go to Reviewing outstanding debts from a former social housing tenancy..

Applications that include a former social housing tenant with a former tenancy debt.

Condition does not apply if the requirements outlined in Assessing former social housing tenancy debts under the NSW Limitation Act 1969 are not met

Application suspended on the NSW Housing Register for 6 months.

The 6 month period starts from the date the application was submitted or the date the former tenancy debt was acknowledged (whichever occurs later).

The application will be made live on the NSW Housing Register if:

  • The debt is repaid in full before the end of the six months, or
  • Regular repayments have been made throughout the 6 months.

If regular repayments are not made, go to Reviewing outstanding debts from a former social housing tenancy.

Applications that include a former social housing tenant with a former tenancy debt of more than $500 (a less than satisfactory former social housing tenant).

Condition does not apply if the requirements outlined in Assessing former social housing tenancy debts under the NSW Limitation Act 1969 are not met.

Demonstrate that a tenancy has been sustained for at least six months before the application can be approved and listed on NSW Housing Register. A tenancy may include a:

  • Private rental tenancy agreement.
  • Provisional lease (for clients applying for Recognition as a Tenant). For more information see the DCJ Housing Types and Length of Lease Policy.
  • Transitional housing, boarding house or supported accommodation (SHS) arrangement, if there is evidence of a landlord/tenant relationship.

For more information see item 6 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

Clients who have difficulty accessing alternative accommodation will be referred to an appropriate external agency, alternative housing provider or advocacy service.

This includes:

  • People with a physical disability.
  • Large families.
  • Clients from specific cultural groups.

The client will be required to seek accommodation in areas of less demand before a provider can offer further social housing assistance, unless they have to access supports on a weekly basis in a high demand area for medical or disability reasons.

DCJ Housing may offer a fixed term tenancy to those who cannot access alternative accommodation due to cultural reasons or large family size. A community housing provider will apply its own policy in regard to assisting clients in this situation.

Applications that include an:

  • Unsatisfactory former social housing tenant.
  • Ineligible former social housing tenant, if their application has been approved by a delegated officer (see below).

Condition applies even if the requirements outlined in Assessing former social housing tenancy debts under the NSW Limitation Act 1969 are not met.

Ineligible for social housing. Except for where there are special circumstances and the application is approved at the discretion of a DCJ Housing District Director or a Chief Executive Officer of a community housing provider.

For clients housed in AHO properties, the delegated officer from the Aboriginal Housing Office will be asked to consider any decision to decline re-admittance to the NSW Housing Register.

The following factors will be considered:

  • If the factors/behaviour that led to an extreme breach of the previous tenancy have been or are being addressed, and
  • Whether it appears that the risks to the social housing provider and the community are now similar to those associated with housing any other applicant from the NSW Housing Register, and
  • The consequences for the client if they continue to be ineligible for social housing.

Applications that include an ineligible former social housing tenant.

Condition applies even if the requirements outlined in Assessing former social housing tenancy debts under the NSW Limitation Act 1969 are not met.

Six month fixed term tenancy if an offer is made by DCJ Housing.

Clients who accept an offer of community housing will receive a length of tenure in accordance with the provider’s policy.

DCJ Housing will use the fixed term tenancy to determine the client’s ability to sustain a successful social housing tenancy. For more information see the DCJ Housing Types and Length of Lease Policy.

Clients with a psychiatric or intellectual disability must have a support plan negotiated with the relevant support agency before DCJ Housing will offer a fixed term tenancy.

A tenant who is signed to a new residential tenancy agreement after their tenancy is terminated by order of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

Applications that include a:

  • Less than satisfactory former social housing tenant with a record of substantiated incidents of antisocial behaviour that resulted in an application to terminate their tenancy at NCAT.
  • Less than satisfactory former social housing occupant with a record of substantiated antisocial behaviour in another person’s tenancy.
  • Unsatisfactory former social housing tenant.
  • Ineligible former social tenant, if their application has been approved by a delegated officer (see above).

Condition applies even if the requirements outlined in Assessing former social housing tenancy debts under the NSW Limitation Act 1969 are not met.

Repayment of all remaining former tenancy debts will form part of the new tenancy agreement.

If regular repayments do not continue this will be managed as a breach of the tenancy agreement. If required, action will be taken to terminate the tenancy.

Former social housing tenants with a remaining former tenancy debt, if they are signing a tenancy agreement with the same social housing provider that managed the previous tenancy.

Only the former tenancy debts of the clients signing the new tenancy agreement may be included.

Condition applies even if the requirements outlined in Assessing former social housing tenancy debts under the NSW Limitation Act 1969 are not met.

All former social housing tenants or occupants including those with an ineligible category may apply for Rentstart assistance to establish or maintain a tenancy in the private market. Some conditions apply, for more information go to the Rentstart Assistance Policy.

Former public housing tenants or occupants who are included in an application for DCJ Housing Recognition as a Tenant

An application that includes a less than satisfactory former public housing tenant or occupant may be granted recognition as a tenant or a provisional lease of three or six months.

If a less than satisfactory former public housing tenant or occupant has a record of substantiated antisocial behaviour, DCJ Housing will use the provisional lease period to determine the client’s ability to sustain a successful social housing tenancy.

If the former tenant or occupant is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or if they are residing in an Aboriginal Housing Office property, DCJ Housing will offer a six month fixed term lease if the application for recognition as a DCJ Housing tenant is approved. For more information see the Types and Length of Lease Policy.

An application that includes an unsatisfactory or ineligible former public housing tenant or occupant will not be approved for recognition as a tenant, but a provisional lease of three or six months may be granted. The former tenant or occupant will only sign the tenancy agreement if there is no other suitable household member to sign it. The District Director must be advised if a provisional lease is to be granted to a household that includes an ineligible former public housing tenant or occupant.For more information see the Changing a Tenancy Policy.

Unsatisfactory former public housing tenants or occupants can utilise a six month provisional lease to demonstrate that they are able to sustain a successful tenancy. For more information see Table 1: Specific conditions for former social housing tenants or occupants

If the tenant has outstanding debts from a former public housing tenancy and they fail to meet regular repayments after they are granted recognition as a tenant or a provisional lease, this will be managed as a breach of their tenancy agreement, and if required, action will be taken to terminate the tenancy.

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Last updated: 13 Sep 2019