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Social Housing Eligibility and Allocations Policy Supplement

This document provides additional information to support our policies about how we deliver social housing and who is eligible for assistance

Eligibility for social housing – residency

1. Proof of citizenship or permanent residency

Clients applying for housing assistance, to be considered for social housing must provide proof of Australian citizenship or permanent residency for every person on their application who is aged 18 years and over. If the client or their partner is under 18 years of age they must also provide proof of income and assets, for more information see item 4 and 5 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

Proof that the client receives a primary support payment from Centrelink is sufficient to demonstrate Australian citizenship or permanent residency. The following Centrelink payments are not considered primary support payments for the purpose of this policy:

  • Special Pension
  • Foreign Pension
  • Family Tax Benefits
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Child Support
  • Income from interest, allocated pensions, etc.

If a client who was born in Australia or has a right to Australian citizenship is unable to provide a birth certificate or proof of a Centrelink primary support payment, the social housing provider will refer them to the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages for information on how to obtain a birth certificate. An Australian birth certificate is an essential status document and the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages can provide birth certificates where the birth has been registered. The Registry also provides a flexible system which allows people to confirm their birth by late registration if registration never occurred.

2. Exceptions to the permanent residency rule

Partners who are temporary residents

Partners and dependent children who are temporary residents awaiting permanent residency may be included in the household of an eligible client who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

Sponsored migrants

Sponsored migrants are not eligible to be considered for social housing while under sponsorship or assurance of support arrangements even though they may be permanent residents. However, they may be included in the household of an eligible client.

People escaping domestic or family violence

In exceptional circumstances temporary residents may be considered for a few days of temporary accommodation if they are escaping family or domestic violence (including where a child has been assessed to be at risk of significant harm from this situation) if no other accommodation options are available.

3. New Zealand Special Category Visa holders

At the time of presenting their passports for immigration clearance New Zealand citizens are considered to have applied for a visa and, subject to health or character considerations, will automatically receive a Special Category Visa, which is recorded electronically. Their New Zealand citizens' passports are stamped, showing the date of arrival in Australia. This is the only evidence provided or necessary to show the New Zealand citizens are holders of a Special Category Visa.

A person issued with a Special Category Visa is entitled to live and work in Australia, although it is not a permanent visa. However, if a person meets the criteria for a Protected Special Category Visa, they are considered to be a permanent resident under Australian citizenship law.

Protected Special Category Visa holders are New Zealand citizens who:

  • were in Australia on 26 February 2001 as Special Category Visa holders, or
  • were outside Australia on 26 February 2001, but were in Australia as a Special Category Visa holder for a total of 12 months in the two years prior to that date, and subsequently returned to Australia, or
  • have a certificate, issued under the Social Security Act 1991, stating that they were residing in Australia on a particular date.

Non-Protected Special Category Visa holders (New Zealand citizens who do not meet the protected criteria) are not considered permanent Australian residents, and are therefore ineligible for social housing assistance.

Non-Protected Special Category Visa holders approved for the NSW Housing Register prior to 2 July 2012 will retain their existing entitlements; however when they enter into a tenancy they will be charged rent in accordance with existing policy, whereby clients who are not entitled to a Centrelink income are deemed to be receiving a basic Centrelink income and assessed accordingly.

More information is available on the Department of Social Services, Social Security Guide.

4. Compelling reasons to waive the NSW residency rule

A social housing provider may waive the NSW residency rule for any of the following compelling reasons:

  • The client lives in a NSW border area such as Albury-Wodonga, Tweed Heads-Coolangatta.
  • The client lives outside a border town but accesses medical, educational, or commercial facilities in NSW.
  • The client needs to move to NSW for specialist medical treatment that is not available in the State they are currently living in.
  • The client needs to move to NSW to escape domestic or family violence, serious harassment or threats of violence.

Clients are required to provide proof of their NSW residency or demonstrate why they need to live in NSW, for more information see item 2 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

Eligibility for social housing – income

  1. Household income
  2. Income eligibility limits
  3. Income eligibility assessment rules
  4. Disability allowance
  5. Examples of disability, medical or permanent injury expenses
  6. Proof of ongoing expenses due to disability, medical condition or permanent injury
  7. Assessable and non assessable income and assets
  8. Legitimate business expenses -  Deductable and non-deductable
  9. Proof of income and assets
  10. Previous income limits

1.Household income

Household income means the total gross (before tax) income received by each person on the application who is aged 18 years and over (or received by the client and/or their partner if either is under 18 years of age).

This includes, for example:

  • Wages.
  • Pensions or benefits.
  • Most government allowances.
  • Interest on investments.
  • Child support and maintenance payments.

2. Income eligibility limits

The social housing income eligibility limits are a range of income thresholds that specify the maximum income (before tax) that a household can earn and stay eligible for social housing.

Social housing providers determine the income limit that applies to a household by using the income allowance for different combinations of the four key household member types in the table below. To be eligible for social housing, the gross household income must be equal to or below the limit.

Household types are based on the number of adults and children in a household. Social housing providers do not take into account relationships within a household when determining household type.

Table 1: Household member types and current weekly income allowance

Household members (regardless of relationship) Gross weekly income

Single adult

$650

Each additional adult

Add $245 to the income limit

First child

Add $320

Each additional child

Add $105

Social housing providers assess all applications against these income eligibility limits. Applications that fail this assessment because their income exceeds the relevant limit may be entitled to a second assessment against a different set of income eligibility limits because their income eligibility has been preserved. This applies to applications that were received before 27 April 2005.

Table 2: Income limits, using gross assessable income, for households who applied for public housing before 27 April 2005

Household type Weekly income limit including family tax benefits

1 person

$395

2 people

$500

3 people

$580

4 people

$665

5 people

$720

6 people

$775

Each additional adult or child

Add $55

Disability Allowance

Add $55

Applying social housing eligibility income limits:

Definitions:

Adult: An adult is a person who is aged 18 years and over, or the client and/or their partner if either is under 18 years of age.

Child: A person who is under the age of 18 unless the person is the client or the client’s partner.

To determine which household income limit applies, take the following steps:

  • Step 1: Add up the assessable income for each adult in the household.
  • Step 2: Add up the number of adults in the household.
  • Step 3: Add up the number of children in the household.
  • Clients or household members who are pregnant should add their unborn child to the number of people in the household to determine the correct income limit that applies to the household. The client must supply a medical certificate confirming the pregnancy.
  • Step 4: For each adult and child, add up the income allowance from Table 1 above.
  • Step 5: To determine which household income limit applies to the household, compare the amount at Step 4 with the household income at Step 1.
  • Step 6: If the client applied before 27 April 2005 and fails to meet the income limits in Table 1, assess the application against the income limits in table 2.

Example:

In the case of a couple with three children aged 19, 14 and 12, the household consists of three adults and two children. The household’s gross assessable income is $1000 per week. Allow $650 for the first adult, and add $245 for each additional adult. Then add $320 for the first child and $105 for the second child.

Income limit calculation: $650 + $245 + $245 + $320 + $105 = $1565.

The household’s income of $1000 per week is below the income limit for the household type. This means that the household would be income eligible for social housing.

3. Income eligibility assessment rules

Clients who applied after 27 April 2005

The income eligibility assessment rules are:

  1. Family Tax Benefit A and B (including the Large Family Supplement) are included in the assessment of income.
  2. The first $5000 of each adult household member’s total amount of savings and financial assets is exempt from assessment for social housing income eligibility.
  3. A disability allowance can be added to the income eligibility limit for each adult or child in a household who can demonstrate that they have incurred expenses resulting from a medical condition, disability or permanent injury.
  4. An exceptional disability allowance can be added to the total income eligibility limit for each adult or child in a household who can demonstrate that they have incurred expenses that exceed the disability allowance resulting from a medical condition, disability or permanent injury.

Clients who applied before 27 April 2005

Clients who applied for public housing before the announcement of the Reshaping Public Housing Reforms on 27 April 2005, will have their income eligibility preserved (‘grandfathered’). This means that they can remain on the NSW Housing Register as long as they continue to meet the previous income eligibility limits in addition to all other eligibility criteria for social housing.

The income eligibility assessment rules for people who applied before 27 April 2005 are:

  1. Social housing providers will first assess the household against current income limits as described in section 2 above. If they do not meet the current limits they will be reassessed against previous (pre-27 April 2005) limits, also described in section 2 above. These households will remain on the NSW Housing Register as long as they continue to meet the current or previous income limits.
  2. Under the previous income limits, Family Tax Benefit A and B (including the Large Family Supplement) are NOT included in the assessment of income.
  3. The first $5000 of each adult household member’s total amount of savings and financial assets is exempt from assessment for social housing income eligibility.
  4. An allowance of $55 per week can be added to the income eligibility limit for each adult or child in a household who incurs expenses resulting from a medical condition, disability or permanent injury. Housing providers will also take into account any proven ongoing costs that exceed $55 per week.

4. Disability allowance and exceptional disability allowance

Members of a household who have an enduring (permanent, or likely to be permanent) disability, medical condition or permanent injury resulting in them incurring significant ongoing financial costs may qualify for a disability allowance. This allowance raises the income eligibility limit for each household member who demonstrates that they have an enduring disability, medical condition or injury.

Where a client can demonstrate significant ongoing financial costs that exceed the standard disability allowance, they may qualify for an exceptional disability allowance. Social housing providers apply this allowance instead of, but not in addition to, the disability allowance a client may have already qualified for.

Social housing providers apply these allowances in recognition of the additional financial burden that medical costs may have on the household income of clients with a disability or medical condition.

Table 1: Disability allowances as at 1 July 2020

Allowance typeAmount

Disability allowance (per person)

Add $105

Exceptional disability allowance (per person)

Add $245

5. Examples of disability, medical or permanent injury expenses

Examples of disability, medical or permanent injury expenses that a client may incur include:

  • Services provided by a health professional or specialist.
  • Ongoing transport costs including taxis and community transport costs for clients with restricted mobility.
  • Specialised personal care products that are required as a direct result of a medical condition, injury or disability.
  • Physical therapist treatments.
  • Rehabilitation and respite fees.
  • Specialised diets, regimes and supplements that have been prescribed by a health professional and are required as a direct result of a medical condition, injury or disability.
  • Specialised equipment such as wheelchairs and hoists (including ongoing maintenance costs) or aids for people who are blind or visually impaired.
  • The costs of trained assistance animals or other aids for people who are blind, visually impaired or deaf.
  • Specialised treatments and medicines that have been prescribed by a health professional.

6. Proof of ongoing expenses due to disability, medical condition or permanent injury

A household member who is in receipt of a Disability Support Pension from Centrelink does not have to provide proof of their medical costs to qualify for the disability allowance. For all other circumstances, clients must provide proof of each expense incurred for medical costs in order to qualify for the disability allowance or exceptional disability allowance, for more information see item 11 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Participants

Where a client indicates medical expenses, considerations should be given as to whether these expenses are covered in a client’s NDIS package.  Where the medical expenses are covered in a client’s NDIS package, they will not qualify for the disability allowance.

7. Assessable and non-assesable income and assets

Income and assets are assessable for people who are aged 18 years and over, or the client and/or their partner if either is under 18 years of age.

Refer to the Assessable and non-assessable income and assets table for information.

8. Legitimate business expenses - Deductible and non-deductible

The deductible expenses must be essential to the primary purpose or type of the business.

For details of business expenses for which deduction from the gross income of a self-employed person may be made, please refer to the Legitimate business expenses - Deductible and non deductible table.

Note: that some expenses may not be treated by the Australian Taxation Office in the same manner.

9. Proof of income and assets

When being considered for social housing, a client must provide proof of all assessable income and assets received by each person on their application aged 18 years and over. If the client or their partner is under 18 years of age, they must also supply proof of income, for more information see items 8 and 9 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

If a client or household member receives or pays child support (maintenance or maintenance in kind) and the arrangement is not registered with the Department of Human Services, the client can speak to the social housing provider assessing their application about the types of evidence that will be accepted.

Assessing income where an applicant or a household member receives an amount that is less than a statutory rate

Social housing providers will assess people who receive an income that is less than the Jobseeker Payment (or other benefit to which they would otherwise be entitled), as though they receive the appropriate statutory benefit for their age and household composition. This includes people who receive wages or salaries, or who are self-employed.

Assessing income where an applicant or household member does not receive a statutory income, or receives a reduced statutory income

In some instances, an applicant or household member receives no statutory income, or a reduced statutory income, because they:

  1. Have chosen not to apply for an income to which they are entitled
  2. Are not eligible to receive a statutory income because:
    • They have gone overseas
    • They receive a Jobseeker Payment, have not sought work and have become ineligible for further payments for a specified period
    • They have received a compensation or other lump sum payment, or Centrelink deems them to have sufficient resources, and Centrelink expects them to use those resources for living expenses
  3. Have breached Centrelink requirements or are repaying a Centrelink debt.

In these situations, the social housing provider will assume that the applicant or household member receives a statutory income and will base the eligibility assessment on the statutory payment to which that person would otherwise be entitled to receive.

Participation in the Income Confirmation Scheme (ICS) or Centrelink Confirmation eServices (CCeS)

If a client receives payments from Centrelink, they can agree to Centrelink providing details of their Centrelink income to DCJ Housing through the ICS; or to a participating community housing provider through CCeS. If the client provides their consent to the relevant provider, the provider may use Centrelink’s advice of the assessable income to determine the client’s income eligibility for social housing.

If a client’s income changes, the ICS and CCeS do not automatically provide a housing provider with the updated income details from Centrelink. Therefore, if there have been any changes to the assessable income of any member on an application, they must inform the relevant housing provider within 28 days of the change. They do not need to provide details of the Centrelink benefit change, as the provider will then request this electronically from Centrelink.

If any member of the application participates in the ICS or CCeS and has an income in addition to their Centrelink payment, they may need to give the relevant housing provider proof of this income separately if the social housing provider is not able to obtain that information in an acceptable form from Centrelink.

10. Previous income limits

Social housing eligibility

This section presents various social housing income eligibility limits from before 24 November 1986 to 30 June 2020.

Table 1: Social housing income eligibility limits from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020 (using gross assessable weekly income).  

Household Members (regardless of relationship)

Gross Weekly Income

Single adult

$640

Each additional adult (18 years or over)

Add $240 to the income limit

First child (under 18 years)

Add $315

Each additional child (under 18 years)

Add $105

Table 2: Social housing income eligibility limits from 2 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 (using gross assessable weekly income).  

Household Members (regardless of relationship)

Gross Weekly Income

Single adult

$625

Each additional adult (18 years or over)

Add $235 to the income limit

First child (under 18 years)

Add $305

Each additional child (under 18 years)

Add $100

Table 3: Social housing income eligibility limits from 3 July 2017 to 2 July 2018 (using gross assessable weekly income).  

Household Members (regardless of relationship)

Gross Weekly Income

Single adult

$610

Each additional adult (18 years or over)

Add $230 to the income limit

First child (under 18 years)

Add $300

Each additional child (under 18 years)

Add $100

Table 4: Social housing income eligibility limits from 1 July 2016 to 2 July 2017 (using gross assessable weekly income).  

Household Members (regardless of relationship)

Gross Weekly Income

Single adult

$595

Each additional adult (18 years or over)

Add $225 to the income limit

First child (under 18 years)

Add $290

Each additional child (under 18 years)

Add $95

Table 5: Social housing income eligibility limits from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016 (using gross assessable weekly income).

Household Members (regardless of relationship) Gross Weekly Income

Single adult

$585

Each additional adult (18 years or over)

Add $225 to the income limit

First child (under 18 years)

Add $285

Each additional child (under 18 years)

Add $95

Table 6: Social housing income eligibility limits from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015 (using gross assessable weekly income).

Household Members (regardless of relationship) Gross Weekly Income

Single adult

$575

Each additional adult (18 years or over)

Add $220 to the income limit

First child (under 18 years)

Add $280

Each additional child (under 18 years)

Add $90

Table 7: Social housing income eligibility limits from 18 March 2013 to 30 June 2014 (using gross assessable weekly income).

Household Members (regardless of relationship) Gross Weekly Income

Single adult

$560

Each additional adult (18 years or over)

Add $215 to income limit

First child (under 18 years)

Add $275

Each additional child (under 18 years)

Add $90

Table 8: Social housing income eligibility limits from 2 July 2012 to 17 March 2013 (using gross assessable weekly income).

Household Members (regardless of relationship) Gross Weekly Income

Single adult

$535

Each additional adult (18 years or over)

Add $200 to income limit

First child (under 18 years)

Add $265

Each additional child (under 18 years)

Add $90

Table 9: Social housing income eligibility limits from 1 July 2011 to 1 July 2012 (using gross assessable weekly income).

Household Members (regardless of relationship) Gross Weekly Income

Single adult

$525

Each additional adult (18 years or over)

Add $200

First child (under 18 years)

Add $260

Each additional child (under 18 years)

Add $85

Disability Allowance (per person)

Add $85

Exceptional Disability Allowance (per person)

Add $200

Table 10: Social housing income eligibility limits from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 (using gross assessable weekly income).

Household Members (regardless of relationship) Gross Weekly Income

Single adult

$500

Each additional adult (18 years or over)

Add $190

First child (under 18 years)

Add $245

Each additional child (under 18 years)

Add $80

Disability Allowance (per person)

Add $80

Exceptional Disability Allowance (per person)

Add $190

Table 11: Social housing income eligibility limits from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010 (using gross assessable weekly income).

Household Members (regardless of relationship) Gross Weekly Income

Single adult

$460

Each additional adult (18 years or over)

Add $155

First child (under 18 years)

Add $235

Each additional child (under 18 years)

Add $80

Disability Allowance (per person)

Add $80

Exceptional Disability Allowance (per person)

Add $155

Table 12: Social housing income eligibility limits from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009 (using gross assessable weekly income).

Household Members (regardless of relationship) Gross Weekly Income

Single adult

$440

Each additional adult (18 years or over)

Add $150

First child (under 18 years)

Add $225

Each additional child (under 18 years)

Add $75

Disability Allowance (per person)

Add $75

Exceptional Disability Allowance (per person)

Add $150

Table 13: Social housing income eligibility limits from 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2008 (using gross assessable weekly income).

Household Members (regardless of relationship) Gross Weekly Income

Single adult

$410

Each additional adult (18 years or over)

Add $140

First child (under 18 years)

Add $210

Each additional child (under 18 years)

Add $70

Disability Allowance (per person)

Add $70

Exceptional Disability Allowance (per person)

Add $140

Table 14: Social housing income eligibility limits from 29 January 1992 to 30 June 2006 (using gross assessable weekly income).

Household size Weekly Income

1 Person

$395

2 Persons

$500

3 Persons

$580

4 Persons

$665

5 Persons

$720

6 Persons

$775

Each additional adult (18 years or over) and child (less than 18 years)

Add $55 per additional person per week

Disability allowance (per person minimum)

Add $55 per person

Table 15: Social housing income eligibility limits from 24 November 1987 to 28 January 1992 (using gross assessable weekly income).

Household size Weekly Income

1 Person

$370

2 Persons

$460

3 Persons

$530

4 Persons

$600

5 Persons

$650

6 Persons

$695

Each additional adult (18 years or over) and child (less than 18 years)

Add $45 per additional person per week

Disability allowance (per person minimum)

Add $46 per person

Table 16: Social housing income eligibility limits from 24 November 1986 to 23 November 1987 (using gross assessable weekly income).

Household size Weekly Income

1 Person

$352

2 Persons

$440

3 Persons

$506

4 Persons

$572

5 Persons

$616

6 Persons

$660

Each additional adult (18 years or over) and child (less than 18 years)

Add $44 per additional person per week

Table 17: Social housing income eligibility limits before 24 November 1986 (using gross assessable weekly income).

Bedroom category Weekly Income

Singles

$201

1 Bedroom

$250

2 Bedrooms

$300

3 Bedrooms

$325

4 Bedrooms

$350

Eligibility for social housing – property ownership

1. Waiving the property ownership rule

The requirement to complete a Details of Land or Property Ownership form is waived if the applicant has been granted a Protection Visa (refugee status) and the property they own is located in their country of origin. This applies to holders of Refugee category (subclass 200, 201, 203 and 204) and Global Special Humanitarian (subclass 202) visa holders.

Following the client's lodgement of the Details of Land or Property Ownership, form a housing provider may waive the property ownership rule where a client is unable to live in their property or sell their share of the property because:

  • they are in the process of negotiating a property settlement resulting from a relationship breakdown.
  • they need to move to NSW for specialist long-term medical treatment that is not available in the State they are currently living in.
  • they are escaping domestic violence, serious harassment or threats of violence.
  • the property is located overseas.

Providers may grant provisional eligibility in the above situations. Clients must notify a social housing provider once they sell the property. The provider will then review the client’s application to determine whether the equity realised from the sale falls within the asset limit.

If a tenancy in public housing results prior to the sale, DCJ Housing will place the tenant on a fixed term lease. Before the lease expires, DCJ Housing will reassess the client’s eligibility for social housing. If they are assessed as being over the asset limit, the client must find alternative accommodation when the lease expires.

If a tenancy in community housing results prior to the sale, the client’s length of tenure will be determined by the community housing provider with whom they are housed.

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.

Eligibility for social housing – entitlements

  1. Required number of bedrooms
  2. Age
  3. Aboriginality
  4. Preferred location
  5. Requested accommodation type
  6. Clients with special needs
  7. Information required to substantiate housing needs

Clients for community housing properties may receive different entitlements to clients for public housing. This will occur due to the differing policies of social housing providers. Some examples where entitlements may differ include:

  • Public housing’s fixed term lease arrangements will not apply to clients housed in community housing, and community housing’s lease arrangements will not apply to clients housed in public housing.
  • A client’s bedroom entitlement may vary between providers.

1. Required number of bedrooms

The tables below outline the standard bedroom entitlements for public housing and any changes to those bedroom types due to the need to accommodate children.

Table 1: Standard bedroom entitlements for public housing

Household type Standard bedroom entitlement

Single people

Studio, one or two bedrooms

Couples

One or two bedrooms

Single people or couples with one other household member

Two or three bedrooms

Single people or couples with two other household members

Two or three bedrooms

Single people or couples with three other household members

Three or four bedrooms

Single people or couples with four other household members

Three or four bedrooms

Single people or couples with five or more other household members

Four bedroom or, if available, five or more bedrooms. Clients who have a five bedroom household complement will generally be offered a four bedroom property unless a five bedroom property is vacant when the client’s turn is reached. This is because of the limited availability of five bedroom accommodation.

Table 2: Criteria for accommodating children in public housing

Situation DCJ Housing Response

Child is over 18 years of age

The person is considered to be an adult when calculating the minimum bedroom entitlement

Shared bedrooms

  • Same sex children up to 18 years of age are expected to share a bedroom
  • Male and female children are expected to share a bedroom until one of the children reaches 10 years of age.

Children can’t share a bedroom

DCJ Housing will allocate an additional bedroom where the client has demonstrated a need for same sex children, or children under 10 years of age, to have separate bedrooms.

Examples of situations where an extra bedroom could be appropriate include where there is a large age gap between the children or behavioural factors.

Shared custody

The child/children are considered to be part of the household if the client has shared custody of children for 3 days per week or more. Normal bedroom entitlements apply.

Access visits from children

  • The children are not considered to be part of the household if they visit for less than 3 days per week.
  • The children are not considered to be part of the household if they are receiving out-of-home care.  An extra bedroom will be considered when evidence of proposed restoration of children is provided.
  • The client must demonstrate a need for an extra bedroom to accommodate access visits.

Future needs of children who may need separate bedrooms in 2 or 3 years time

DCJ Housing will take this into account when matching the client to a property if it can. DCJ Housing will make this decision on a case by case basis according to the size and type of housing that is available in the area.

2. Age

The social housing sector acknowledges the special needs of elderly clients and their households, and the need to deliver services that are culturally appropriate.

It is widely recognised that the Aboriginal community suffers greater levels of ill health and has considerably shorter life expectancies than the general population. The average life span of an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander is approximately 20 years less than a non-Aboriginal person.

Clients who have met the normal eligibility criteria for social housing may be approved for housing assistance as an elderly client if they are:

  • Aged 80 years and over, or
  • Confirmed to be an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander and aged 55 years and over.

In order to reduce waiting times for eligible elderly clients and settle them into appropriate housing as soon as possible, providers will generally offer suitable accommodation as it becomes available to elderly clients on the NSW housing register ahead of wait turn clients.

Where there are other household members included on an elderly client’s application (other than the elderly person’s partner), or an elderly person is included in an application with other family members, they will be eligible for this assistance provided that:

  • The elderly person is totally dependent on the other members of the household for 24 hour care, and
  • They provide documentation from a doctor or other healthcare professional to support the application.

Clients seeking housing as elderly clients must provide the following proof of age:

  • Birth certificate, or
  • Passport, or
  • If the client is an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander, and none of the above are available, a written estimate of age as recognised by an incorporated Aboriginal organisation or Land Council.

Elderly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients must also provide documents that confirm their Aboriginality.

3. Aboriginality

Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders are entitled to the range of services available to all eligible clients. In addition, they may choose to:

  • Be identified on the NSW Housing Register as being eligible for Aboriginal Housing Office properties as well as public or community housing.
  • Take up their entitlement in public housing to one extra bedroom to help them meet their family responsibilities (this is subject to availability).
  • Seek accelerated progression on the NSW Housing Register if they or members of their household are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander are over 55 years of age.
  • Nominate their interest in living in a Senior Communities property in public housing if 45 years of age or over.

To take up the extra entitlements as mentioned above, at least one member of the household must be an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander, and this person must provide confirmation of their Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.

Confirmation of Aboriginality can be provided in the form of a letter from a Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) or an Aboriginal community organisation, for more information see item 3 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

Where a client is unable to obtain confirmation from a LALC or Aboriginal Community organisation they can complete a Statutory Declaration as evidence of their Aboriginality. The Statutory Declaration must include all of following:

  • Details of the client’s Aboriginal family i.e. names and where they are from (land) and/or what they are doing about finding their family details/history, and
  • A statement that the client identifies as an Aboriginal person (the term ‘Aboriginal’ includes Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders), and
  • An explanation as to why confirmation from a LALC or Aboriginal community organisation could not be provided, and
  • Letters of support from Aboriginal community members, Aboriginal organisations (on the organisation’s letterhead) or government agencies that the client is known to. All documentation must be signed by Aboriginal people.

The social housing provider may request additional information or seek further clarification regarding information provided in the Statutory Declaration.

4. Preferred location

Certain conditions affect the client’s entitlement to location preferences if housed in social housing:

  • The client must nominate the location, or allocation area, where they would prefer to live. The client can only list one allocation area at any time for social housing.
  • General clients can apply for any area in the state regardless of where they currently live. If a client for priority housing assistance or transfer applies for social housing in a designated high demand zone, they must undergo a locational needs assessment.
  • Social housing in NSW is divided into a number of allocation areas. Areas may be an individual town or a group of towns, or a group of suburbs in larger cities or towns.

5. Requested accommodation type

Social housing consists of various types of accommodation, for example, cottages (houses), townhouses, villas, cluster housing, units or flats.

Client has a preferred type of housing

A new client for social housing cannot specify the type of housing that they would prefer, unless they have documentation to support their need.

Clients who were listed on the NSW Housing Register prior to 1999 were able to select between general accommodation (cottages, townhouses, villas and cluster housing) or apartment accommodation (units or flats). These clients will retain their preferred selection of general or apartment accommodation. However, if they wish to change their preference, they will not be able to. For example, if someone chose to be housed in apartment accommodation and they decide that they would prefer to be housed in general accommodation, they will not be able to. They will be given the option to either retain their preference or, if they no longer wish to be housed in this type of dwelling, they will be placed on the list without preference and will be offered the first suitable accommodation that becomes available.

When allocating public housing, DCJ Housing will consider the needs of families with young children and, subject to availability, will allocate them dwellings with yards where possible.

Clients may specify a preference to be housed in a Senior Communities property in public housing where they are:

  • 55 years of age or over, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients who are 45 years of age or over.
  • Two person adult households where at least one person is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander who is over 45 years of age, or one person who is 55 years or over who is not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

6. Clients with special needs

A client may have special requirements for their accommodation based on medical, social or other factors. If a client wishes to be housed in public housing and can substantiate these needs, a provider may approve them for the following specific types of accommodation:

  • Ground floor.
  • Modified property.
  • Property with wheelchair access.
  • Property with a certain number of steps.
  • Property with a yard.

If a client has other needs that require a specific type of accommodation or accommodation in a specific location, or a requirement for an extra bedroom for medical or family reasons, they must substantiate this need. For example, they may need to be close to medical practitioners, or they may need to be housed in an area because of cultural needs and support, or they may have a child that needs to attend a special school.

7. Information required substantiating housing needs

The information required to substantiate specific housing needs is outlined in the table below. For more information about the type of documents that can be provided see item 22 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

Table 1: Information required to substantiate housing needs

Situation Description / further rules if applicable

Need for a ground floor property, or property with level access

  • Property with no internal or external steps

Modified property.

For example, a property with wheelchair access.

  • For major modifications, an Occupational Therapist report stating the type of modifications or property specifications required.

Specific property features are unsuitable.

  • For example, the number of stairs in the property, need for fencing, no carpet for health reasons etc.

Yards.

For example, to house a client’s guide dog, to accommodate physical therapy equipment, to address the health needs of a household member

  • Stronger substantiation will be required in allocation areas where there are few properties with yards.

Location within allocation area – need for a property located within a specific part of an allocation area (public housing only).

  • For example, for access to cultural supports, a specific medical practitioner or a special school.

Shared custody – need for a larger property to accommodate children (public housing only).

  • Documentation to demonstrate the need for a larger property to accommodate children

Extra bedroom due to medical condition or disability (public housing only).

  • For example, extra space for storage of medical equipment, room for family member or carer to stay when providing short term support, separate room for a partner if a disability (or routines associated with a disability) require the couple to sleep separately.

Extra bedroom due to family reasons (public housing only).

For example, to:

  • Accommodate regular access visits from children.
  • Accommodate weekend access visits from children.
  • Accommodate regular visits from grandchildren for care or custody reasons.
  • Have a child returned from out-of-home care into safe and stable accommodation.
  • Enable regular care of aged parents.
  • Meet extended family responsibilities.
  • Evidence that access visits occur at least fortnightly or during school holidays.
  • In the case of care related visits from grandchildren, reasonable substantiation of the reason for the visits.
  • Evidence that an additional bedroom is 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.
Evidence that care is required regularly (i.e. of several weeks duration, several times a year) and supports the need for an extra bedroom.
Evidence of the need to meet extended family responsibilities. Housing providers will consider these requests on a case by case basis according to the specific circumstances of the situation.

A studio unit is unsuitable (public housing only), due to:

  • Medical condition or disability
  • Requires a carer
Family Complement including households with more than one person, pregnancy, shared custody, access visits or child restoration.
  • Evidence that demonstrates that this type of property will adversely affect the client’s health (e.g. due to claustrophobia).
  • Only single person households will be offered a studio unit. A client with family reasons or carer requirements needs to provide documentation to demonstrate their need for additional bedrooms as outlined above.

A high rise unit is unsuitable (public housing only), due to:

  • Medical condition or disability
  • A child or young person at risk

Evidence that demonstrates that this type of property will adversely affect the client’s health (e.g. due to claustrophobia), or that the client has special housing requirements due to risk to a child or young person.

Eligibility for emergency temporary accommodation other than because of a natural disaster

1. Urgent need for short-term emergency accommodation

An urgent need for emergency temporary accommodation may exist where a client:

  • Cannot live in their home due to a domestic or family violence situation, which places them, or a child, at risk of significant harm.
  • Has removed a child at risk of abuse from the family home.
  • Has custody of children and is homeless.

For situations relating to a natural disaster, please see Eligibility for emergency temporary accommodation because of a natural disaster section in this policy

When assessing the client’s application, the provider will consider the following factors:

  • Whether the client’s urgent housing need can be met by providing Rentstart or Temporary Accommodation.
  • Whether the client has the ability to resolve their housing need themselves.
  • Whether the client can live with family or friends.

Temporary residents are not eligible for emergency temporary accommodation.

2. Assessing a client’s ability to resolve their urgent short-term emergency housing need other than through a natural disaster

The provider will assess a client’s ability to resolve their urgent short-term emergency housing need by looking at the following:

  • Any assets or savings the client could use.
  • The client’s housing requirements, such as the number of bedrooms their size household requires or need for disability modifications.
  • The appropriateness of alternative housing options such as Rentstart or Temporary Accommodation (if eligible).
  • The inability of a client to obtain private rental accommodation due to factors such as discrimination.

Clients must provide documentation to support their application for emergency temporary accommodation, for more information see item 26 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

Eligibility for emergency temporary accommodation because of a natural disaster

An urgent need for emergency temporary accommodation may exist where a client cannot live in their home because it is uninhabitable due to natural disasters such as fires, floods, earthquakes or storms.

Clients in need of emergency temporary accommodation as a result of a natural disaster do not have to provide any documentation other than normal ID and are eligible by virtue of them stating that their home is uninhabitable because of a natural disaster.

Eligibility for priority housing assistance – urgent housing needs

  1. Unstable housing circumstances
  2. At risk factors
  3. Existing accommodation is inappropriate for basic housing requirements
  4. Stolen Generations Survivors and Clients who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse

1. Unstable housing circumstances

A client has an urgent housing need if they are experiencing unstable housing circumstances. This includes:

  • Homelessness.
  • Imminent homelessness.
  • Living in crisis or emergency accommodation.
  • Living with family or friends who are unable to provide longer-term accommodation.
  • Living apart from immediate family members because of a lack of appropriate housing alternatives.
  • Needs safe and stable accommodation to have a child returned from out-of-home care, or to help prevent children from entering out-of-home care

2. At risk factors

A client has an urgent housing need if they, or a member of their household, is at risk of harm. There are many situations in which the personal safety or the mental health of a client or another member of their household may be at risk, including:

  • Domestic or family violence.
  • Sexual assault.
  • Child abuse or neglect.
  • Threatening behaviour by one or more household members against another occupant.
  • Torture or trauma.

An additional at risk category relates to refugee ‘Women at Risk’ visa subclass 204. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees gives priority to the protection of refugee women identified as being at risk of serious abuse including:

  • Physical and emotional abuse.
  • Sexual assault.
  • Victimisation.
  • Harassment.

3. Existing accommodation is inappropriate for basic housing requirements

A client has an urgent housing need if their current accommodation is inappropriate for their basic housing requirements. Housing providers will consider this factor where a client’s current living conditions are extremely unsatisfactory due to:

  • Severe overcrowding.
  • Substandard property conditions (extreme damp, dangerous or unhealthy conditions).
  • Lack of essential facilities (water, electricity, bathroom, kitchen).
  • Needs safe and stable accommodation to have a child returned from out-of-home care, or to help prevent children from entering out-of-home care.
  • Severe and ongoing medical condition.
  • Disability.

For assessment purposes housing providers consider severe overcrowding to occur when:

  • An adult or couple share a bedroom with a person aged over three years.
  • More than three children share a bedroom.
  • More than two unrelated adults share a bedroom.

If the client is renting privately and living in substandard accommodation, the landlord may be liable for repairs. The housing provider will explain the client’s rights under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and refer them to the appropriate Tenants Advocacy and Advice Service.

Shared facilities are not considered to be a lack of essential facilities in cases where a client is living in a caravan park, boarding house, hostel, or a room in a shared house.

4. Stolen Generations Survivors and Clients who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse

DCJ Housing acknowledges the increased housing needs of clients who are Stolen Generations Survivors and clients who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse.

Clients who are Stolen Generations Survivors or have experienced institutional child sex abuse can be assessed for priority housing assistance, without the need to demonstrate they are in urgent need of housing. However, if these clients also demonstrate an urgent housing need, they will be considered for a higher priority category.

To be eligible for priority housing assistance as a Stolen Generations Survivor, applicants are required to:

  1. Be eligible for social housing, and
  2. Be a Stolen Generations Survivor, and
  3. Be unable to resolve their housing need themselves in the private rental market.

To be eligible for priority housing assistance on the basis of institutional child sexual abuse, applicants are required to:

  1. Be eligible for social housing, and
  2. Have a successful application to the National Redress Scheme, or have received a civil compensation payment in relation to institutional child sexual abuse, and
  3. Be unable to resolve their housing need themselves in the private rental market.

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.

Eligibility for priority housing assistance – evidence requirements

  1. Unstable housing circumstances – evidence requirements
  2. At risk factors – evidence requirements
  3. Existing accommodation is inappropriate for basic housing requirements – evidence requirements
  4. Unable to resolve need in private rental market – evidence requirements
  5. Stolen Generations Survivors and Clients who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse – evidence requirements

Clients are required to substantiate their need for priority housing assistance. The housing provider must be satisfied that the client has an urgent need for housing, that they do not have the ability to resolve their housing need and that their need cannot be more adequately addressed through other housing assistance options.

1. Unstable housing circumstances – evidence requirements

Clients who are experiencing unstable housing circumstances must demonstrate they need to leave the place they are staying and they have nowhere else to live. For more information see item 13 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

2. At risk factors – evidence requirements

The client will need to provide documents to support their application. For more information about the type of documents that can be provided see item 15 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

No additional supporting documentation is required in cases where a client provides any of the following:

  • Support letter or completed Medical Assessment from the Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS).
  • Request for assistance from Community Services.
  • Support letter or report from the client’s treating psychiatrist.

The refugee ‘Women at Risk’ category is demonstrated by the presence of visa subclass 204 stamped in the client’s passport. Because the client’s circumstances may have changed since the visa subclass 204 was originally issued, housing providers will require further supporting documentation showing how the client is currently at risk.

3. Existing accommodation is inappropriate for basic housing requirements – evidence requirements

Where a client, or a member of their household, has a severe or ongoing medical condition or disability they must show how their current housing circumstances are having a bad effect on their health or wellbeing. If a client has a severe or ongoing medical condition or disability, the social housing provider will consider:

  • The severity of the person’s condition, and
  • Whether the medical condition is permanent or likely to be permanent, and
  • The mobility of the person affected, and
  • The impact of the current dwelling and/or location on the person’s health or wellbeing, and
  • How often the person needs to visit medical services or specialists, and
  • If, and how easily, the person can travel to these services, and
  • If, and how easily, these services can be accessed in other areas.

Clients who receive a Disability Support Pension are not required to provide any further proof of their disability. However, all clients must provide documentation to support their application if applying based on inappropriate housing. For more information on the types of documents that can be provided see items 14 and 16 on the  Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

If documentation such as a Medical Assessment does not clearly show how the client’s existing housing circumstances are inappropriate, housing providers may request further information from the health professional or support agency.

The exceptions to this are requests for assistance from Community Services and support letters from STARTTS. In these instances, housing providers will not require any further information.

Where a client, or a member of their household, needs safe and secure accommodation to have a child returned from out-of-home care or to help prevent children from entering out-of-home care they must demonstrate that a priority housing status is required to meet the needs of a child.  For more information see item 14 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet

4. Unable to resolve need in private rental market – evidence requirements

Clients must demonstrate the reasons why they are unable to find alternative accommodation, for more information see item 23 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

5. Stolen Generations Survivors and Clients who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse

Clients who are Stolen Generations Survivors or have experienced institutional child sex abuse are eligible for priority housing assistance on those grounds, subject to the following evidence being provided:

Stolen Generations Survivors

Clients will need to demonstrate they are a Stolen Generations Survivor. Evidence to demonstrate this includes a letter from the Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme, confirming a successful reparation claim, or a letter from a Stolen Generations Organisation, acknowledging the client as a Stolen Generations Survivor.

See item 22 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet

Clients who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse

Clients will need to demonstrate they are successful applicants to the National Redress Scheme. This can be achieved by a letter from the National Redress Scheme, confirming a successful redress claim. DCJ Housing will also consider clients who have received a civil compensation payments in relation to institutional child sexual abuse, for the purposes of this priority housing category; in this instance, written evidence of the civil compensation payments will be required.
See item 22 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet

Locational needs

1. Priority assistance clients

Priority assistance clients include:

  • Clients assessed as eligible for priority housing assistance, or
  • Emergency temporary accommodation clients, or
  • Priority transfer clients when they:
  • Request a high demand area other than the area they currently live in, or
  • Currently live in a high demand area and request a specific suburb in that area, or
  • Request a specific suburb within an allocation area.
  • Private rental subsidy clients.

Additionally, a locational needs assessment will be applied to existing social housing tenants being relocated for management purposes when seeking relocation to a public housing property in a high demand area, unless they already live in the same high demand area that they seek relocation within.

2. Ongoing medical condition or disability

A person is considered to have an ongoing medical condition or disability if their ability to function is impaired or they have a medical condition that:

  • Is due to an intellectual, psychiatric, sensory or physical condition or combination of conditions, and
  • Is permanent or likely to be permanent, and
  • Results in:
    • A substantially reduced capacity of the person for communication, learning or mobility, and
    • The need for ongoing support services, or
    • An inability to obtain housing from the private rental market.

An ongoing medical condition or disability may interfere with a person’s capacity to undertake everyday tasks. The person may need to access a range of services and supports that they would have difficulty travelling to because of their particular medical condition or disability.

Depending on their individual circumstances and requirements, a client may need to live in close proximity to one or more of the following:

  • A hospital specialising in the treatment of a particular medical condition or disability.
  • Special schools for children with an intellectual, psychiatric or physical disability.
  • A specialist who has continuously treated the client’s condition or disability.
  • Culturally appropriate services.
  • Disability support services.
  • Home support services.
  • Mental health services.
  • Social supports.
  • Employment.

The client must show that the requested area will have a direct benefit in terms of the health or wellbeing of themselves or other members of their household. As part of the assessment process, the housing provider will consider:

  • The severity of the person’s medical condition or disability, and
  • Whether the medical condition is permanent or likely to be permanent, and
  • The mobility of the person affected, and
  • What living skills the person has, and
  • The impact of an alternative location on the person’s health or wellbeing, and
  • How often the person needs to visit medical services or specialists, and
  • The type of care or support received from family or friends, and
  • If, and how easily, the person can travel to these services and supports, and
  • If, and how easily, these services can be accessed in other areas.

3. Evidence to support request to live in a high demand area

A client must provide adequate evidence to support their request to live in a high demand area. The documentation will vary according to the nature of the client’s disability or medical condition, for more information on the type of documents required see item 22 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

Letters or reports from health professionals and support services should include:

  • The length of time the client has been utilising the service or receiving treatment from a specific doctor, support agency, health service or hospital, and
  • How often the client utilises these services, and
  • How long the client will need to continue to access these services, and
  • The possible impact on the client if they were required to access similar services in an alternative area.

Support letters from family or friends should include:

  • Contact details, and
  • A description of the type of care or support provided, and
  • The length of time the care or support has been provided, and
  • The frequency of care or support, and
  • The length of time the family member or friend has been continuously living in the area.

Affinity with an area

A client with an ongoing medical condition or disability may have lived in the requested area for at least ten years and developed an extensive range of social and support networks. In this situation, locational need is demonstrated by the client’s affinity with the area.

An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander client who has an affinity with a particular area satisfies locational need. In this case, affinity with an area is demonstrated by applicant’s kinship group residing in the requested area or the area is the traditional homeland of their tribe.

Geographical Requirements

Some partnerships have geographical requirements or restrictions which have been agreed to through an Operating Agreement or other approved Agreements (such as a Memorandum of Understanding or an NDIS participant requirement).

Agreements should clearly outline any specific locational areas and list the areas where a client is required to be housed. This negates the need for a further locational needs assessment.

If there are no specific geographical requirements/restrictions outlined in the Operating Agreement, and a client wishes to be housed in social housing in a high demand area, a locational needs assessment must be undertaken.

Matching and offering a property to a client

1. DCJ Housing property types

The following table lists the available DCJ Housing property types and the clients that are eligible for these properties.

Table 1: DCJ Housing property types

Property TypeClient

General properties

Public housing property owned or managed by DCJ Housing or headleased from the private rental market

Clients with needs that can be met by the type, size and location of the particular property.

Aboriginal Housing Office Property

Properties that are owned by the Aboriginal Housing Office.

Clients that meet the Aboriginal Housing Office eligibility criteria.

Public housing properties subject to a Local Allocation Strategy

A Local Allocation Strategy is a specific allocation approach for a local area. When there is a Local Allocation Strategy in place, DCJ Housing considers the needs of the community living in the local area as well as making sure that the client is matched to a property that meets their needs. Local Allocation Strategies are documented and regularly reviewed.

Clients who meet the household profile sought under the Local Allocation Strategy.

Housing for seniors or people living with a disability/SEPP5

These properties are subject to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for seniors or people living with a disability) 2004. Formerly known as State Environmental Planning Policy Number 5.

  • Clients over 55 years of age.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients who are over  45 years.
  • Clients who have a disability, as defined under the SEPP (Housing for seniors or people living with a disability) or
  • A client whose partner (married or de facto) is aged over 55 years (over 45 years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients) or has a disability, as defined under the SEPP (Housing for seniors or people living with a disability).
  • As per the SEPP (Housing for Seniors or People living with a Disability), people with a disability are defined as:

    people of any age who have, either permanently or for an extended period, one or more impairments, limitations or activity restrictions that substantially affect their capacity to participate in everyday life.

    As evidence of having a disability for the purposes of SEPP (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) social housing, clients will need to provide written evidence that they meet the criteria identified above. This could include evidence from a medical practitioner, or from any other appropriate source (such as a support service).

Pensioner (PPPH)

Pensioner properties

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients who are 45 years of age or over.
  • Clients aged 55 years or over who are not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Public housing senior communities (PPOPH)

The properties in these public housing complexes are specifically for older people

  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander clients who are 45 years of age or over.
  • Clients aged 55 years or over who are not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
  • Two person adult households where at least one person is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander who is over 45 years of age, or one person who is 55 years or over who is not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Modified property

Properties modified to cater for clients with a disability (in allocation areas where these properties are not readily available).

Clients who have demonstrated a need for a modified property

Ground floor property

Properties located on the ground floor of a unit complex (in allocation areas where these properties are not readily available).

Clients who have demonstrated a need for a ground floor property.

Level access

Properties with level access to an entry way (in allocation areas where these properties are not readily available).

Clients who have demonstrated a need for a property with level access.

Properties with yards

Properties with backyards (in allocation areas where these properties are not readily available).

Clients who have demonstrated a need for a backyard.

Studio and highrise

Properties that are studio units (i.e., where the lounge room and bedroom are combined in one room) or are units in a high rise apartment building.

Clients whose needs are met by the size of the particular property, except where they have demonstrated that a studio or highrise unit is unsuitable.

2. Criteria for matching clients to properties

The criteria used to match clients to properties are outlined in the table below. DCJ Housing will match clients to public and Aboriginal housing where a client has selected public or Aboriginal housing as one of their preferred providers. Community housing providers will match clients to community housing where a client has selected community housing as one of their preferred providers.

Table 1: Criteria for matching clients to properties

Property Attribute Basic Criteria

Additional criteria that is considered when relevant

Public, Aboriginal Housing Office or community housing properties

DCJ Housing will match the client to public or Aboriginal housing.

Community housing providers will match the client to community housing.

 

Location of property

  • Where the client is required to undertake a Locational Needs Assessment, housing providers will match to the allocation area the client has been approved for.
  • For all other social housing clients, providers will match to the allocation area requested by the client

DCJ Housing will:

  • Match to specific locations within an allocation area when the client has demonstrated a need for this allocation area.
  • Not match a client to a property in an area covered by a Local Allocation Strategy unless the client’s household meets the profile sought under the strategy
  • Take into consideration any geographical boundaries/restrictions agreed to in an Agreement.

Community housing providers will:

  • Match a client to a property according to their own individual matching policies.

Type of property

For clients added to the NSW Housing Register on or after 20 October 1999, DCJ Housing will match to a house, townhouse, unit, highrise unit or a studio unit according to availability.

Clients added to the NSW Housing Register before 20 October 1999, were able to request a house, cottage, townhouse, villa or a unit. This entitlement is retained by clients who have not changed their requested allocation area or property type since 20 October 1999.

Clients who either changed their allocation area, or told DCJ Housing that their requested property type is no longer suitable, will be matched to a house, townhouse or unit (other than a highrise unit) according to availability.

DCJ Housing will:

  • Match a client to a specific type of property if the client has demonstrated a need for this type of property.
  • Match a client to properties with specific features (such as ground floor, level access, modifications, maximum number of stairs) if the client has demonstrated a need for this type of property.
  • Not match a client to properties that have specific features if the client has demonstrated that these features would make the property unsuitable for them.
  • Include matches to highrise and studio units, except where the client has demonstrated that a highrise or studio unit is unsuitable.
  • Where possible, match households with young children to properties with yards, subject to availability.

Community housing providers will:

  • Match a client to a property according to their own individual matching policies.

Number of bedrooms

For clients added to the NSW Housing Register on or after 20 October 1999, DCJ Housing will match to a bedroom allocation based on the size of the client’s household.

DCJ Housing may match a household to a larger property than their minimum entitlement. This will happen if DCJ Housing has a larger property available and DCJ Housing's operating procedures allow it to be allocated to the household.

For clients added to the NSW Housing Register before 20 October 1999, DCJ Housing will either match to the bedroom entitlement:

  • Approved at the time of entry to the NSW Housing Register, or
  • If this does not disadvantage the client, the bedroom allocation offered to clients added to the NSW Housing Register from 20 October 1999.

DCJ Housing will:

  • Match Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander clients to a property that has one more bedroom than the minimum bedroom entitlement for the household, if the client has requested this. DCJ Housing has this policy in recognition of the family responsibilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. These clients can ask for an extra bedroom on their application for housing assistance or at any time while they are on the NSW Housing Register,where they have selected public or Aboriginal housing as one of their preferred providers.
  • Match to a bedroom allocation above the minimum entitlement if the client has demonstrated a need for a property of this size. For example, DCJ Housing will allocate an additional room for a family member or carer to stay in if the client has demonstrated a need for this.
  • Where possible, consider the future accommodation needs of children in the household.
  • Include matches to studio units for a single person household, except where the client has demonstrated that a studio is unsuitable.

Community housing providers will:

  • Match a client to a property according to their own individual matching policies.

3. Extension of timeframes

The table below provides information on when timeframes for public housing offers will be extended. Community housing providers will advise clients of any extension to timeframes according to their own individual matching policies.

Table 1: Extension of timeframes for public housing offers

SituationEvidence

Client not able to inspect the offered property within two working days of receiving the offer due to reasons such as:

  • When a client has to travel a long distance to view the property; or
  • Client is suffering from an illness; or
  • Client has a disability or medical condition which requires additional support to view the property; or
  • Where there is a formal support agreement or arrangement (i.e. for people with impaired decision making) which requires a third party to approve the suitability of the property.

Information that substantiates the client’s reasons for not being able to inspect the property within the required timeframe, such as:

  • A doctor’s certificate.
  • A letter from a support worker.

Client not able to sign a tenancy agreement within one week of accepting the offer due to:

  • Serious health reasons or disability, or
  • Family crisis or emergency.

Information that substantiates the client’s reasons for not being able to sign the tenancy agreement within the required timeframe, such as:

  • A doctor’s certificate.
  • A letter from a support provider.
  • Evidence of the family crisis or emergency and its impact on the client’s ability to sign the tenancy agreement.

4. Accepting, rejecting and withdrawing offers and suspending applications

The table below sets out the criteria for making decisions about when an offer of social housing is accepted, rejected or withdrawn, and/or when an application is suspended.

Social housing providers may determine the outcome of an offer according to their own individual matching policies.

Table 1: Criteria for accepting, rejecting and withdrawing public housing offers and suspending applications

OutcomeSituation

Offer accepted

The client has accepted a property offered by  a  housing provider and signs a tenancy agreement.

A rejection of an offer due to the client not responding to contact A housing provider has attempted to contact the client to confirm eligibility prior to making an offer and the client has failed to respond to contact.

A rejection of an unreasonable offer

The client did not accept an offer that matches their housing needs and it has determined that the client’s reasons for rejecting the offer is:

  • a reasonable refusal as the property did not meet their housing needs; and
  • the client has provided acceptable supporting evidence to substantiate their reason/s for declining the offer.

Acceptable supporting evidence includes a:

  • Medical Assessment Form; and/or
  • Letter from their doctor or a health care provider; and/or
  • Letter from their support provider
  • Letter from employer.
A rejection of a reasonable offer

The client did not accept an offer that matches their housing needs and:

  • The client did not provide any new, substantiated information about their needs within the required timeframe, or

The client did not accept an offer that matches their housing needs for a reason that is considered to be of personal preference, as it does not directly impact the client’s housing needs. Common examples include but are not limited to:

  • Wanting a property made out of brick.
  • Wanting gas rather than electric cooking facilities.
  • Not liking the neighbourhood.
  • Not liking the cladding, internal or external layout, design, or colour scheme of the property.
  • Wanting a bath rather than a shower.
  • Wanting a different suburb (where locational need for a particular suburb has not been established).
  • Wanting a specific street.
  • Wanting to live near shops, family, school (where locational need has not been established).
  • Wanting a different type of property (house, townhouse, villa or unit).
  • Wanting to live on a specific floor of a block of units.
  • Wanting a senior’s community property only.
  • Wanting to be matched to a property on the basis of the needs of their pet.
  • Not wanting to accept a property that will be transferred to a community housing provider in the future, or

The client did not accept an offer that matches their housing needs due to not liking, or being unwilling to accept, the specific requirements of the housing provider, for example:

  • The type or length of lease offered by DCJ Housing

The client did not respond to contact to confirm eligibility prior to making an offer.

Offer withdrawn

The client is matched to the property and:

  • the property is now required for a client with more urgent needs, or
  • the details of the offer were not provided to the client because the client’s needs or circumstances had changed.

Application suspended

Information from the client demonstrating that they are temporarily in a situation where they are unable to accept an offer due to circumstances beyond their control. These circumstances include, but are not limited to, situations where the client:

  • Is experiencing illness or hospitalisation.
  • Is overseas or on holidays.
  • Is in prison.
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Last updated: 21 Oct 2020