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Tenancy Charges and Account Management Policy Supplement

Last published 03 Aug 2018

This document provides additional information to support the following policies of the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS):

Index

Tenancy Charges

Charging rent

  1. Current income eligibility for a rent subsidy
  2. Rent assessment rules
  3. Eligibility for the $5 minimum rent
  4. Eligibility for the Start Work Bonus
  5. Eligibility for Temporary Reduced Rent Payable

Water usage charges

  1. Tenancies and properties that are exempt from water usage charges
  2. Percentage water charge rate
  3. Minimum and maximum charges
  4. Water usage allowances

Rent Subsidy Non-Disclosure

  1. Receipt of information by FACS
  2. Inquiries related to alleged subsidy non-disclosure
  3. Assessment criteria and evidence for determining subsidy non-disclosure
  4. Outcome of assessment

Account management

  1. Evidence requirements when making decisions about managing accounts

Tenancy charges

Charging rent

FACS charges market rent for all its properties. This is the maximum rent a public housing tenant can be charged. The tenant can apply for a rent subsidy; the rent subsidy will reduce the amount of money the tenant has to pay in rent.

There are a number of household income limits and rent assessment rules that FACS uses to determine if a tenant is eligible for a rent subsidy and, if so, how much rent they will pay. FACS determines a tenant’s eligibility for a rent subsidy by considering their household’s gross assessable income, household size and age of household members, and household income limits (or thresholds).

1. Current income eligibility for a rent subsidy

Household income limits are a range of income thresholds that determine whether the tenant is eligible for a rent subsidy and the percentage of income the tenant pays as rent.

FACS determines income limits by using different combinations of the four key household member types listed in the table below. FACS updates these income limits every year.

Definitions:

Adult: A person who is over the age of 18, or the tenant and/or their partner if under 18.

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

Table 1: Household member types and weekly income allowance from 2 July 2018:
Household member Weekly income allowance
Moderate income limit (or threshold) 30% limit (or threshold) Subsidy eligibility limit (or threshold)
First Adult $795 $994 $1,485
Each Additional adult $210 $236 $395
First child $155 $194 $300
Each additional child $110 $138 $195

Applying rent subsidy income limits:

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

  • Step 1: Add up the assessable income for each adult in the household. Do not include any Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) amounts.
  • Step 2: Add up the number of adults in the household.
  • Step 3: Add up the number of children in the household.
  • Step 4: For the whole household, add up the weekly income allowance from Table 1 above.
  • Step 5: Compare the amount at Step 4 with the assessable household income at Step 1. This comparison will show the applicable rent subsidy income limit.

2. Rent assessment rules

Table 1: Rent assessment rules
ConditionRule
Maximum rent payable Market rent for the property
Gross assessable household income is less than the moderate income limit Rent payable is 25% of income

Gross assessable household income is:

  • Equal to or more than the moderate income limit, and
  • Less than the 30% limit

Rent payable is between 25% and 30% of income, depending on how far the household income is above the moderate income limit

Gross assessable household income is 
  • Equal to or more than the 30% limit, and
  • Less than the subsidy eligibility limit
Rent payable is 30% of income
Gross assessable household income is equal to or more than the subsidy eligibility limit Rent payable is the market rent for the property. These households will not be entitled to a rent subsidy.
Rent payable is calculated as being more than the market rent Rent payable is the market rent for the property
Application of Vacant Bedroom Charge

A Vacant Bedroom Charge may apply to some tenancies.

The subsidised rent payable will increase by:

  • $20 a week per household if there is one person aged 16 years and over; or
  • $30 a week per household for two or more people aged 16 years and over.

The Vacant Bedroom Charge does not apply to Aboriginal Housing Office tenancies.

For more information see the Charging Rent Policy
Minimum age of a household member for their income to be included as part of the gross assessable household income

18 years.

Exception: Where a tenant and or their partner is under the age of 18. In these cases, they are treated as adults and FACS includes their income as part of the gross assessable household income.

Application of concessional rates

FACS will assess the income of some household members at a reduced percentage rate, called a concessional rate.

Concessional rates may apply to some members of the household:

  • Family Tax Benefits Parts A and B which are not taken through the taxation system (FTB Energy Supplements are excluded from this concession)
  • Household members, other than the tenant or partner, aged 18-20

In these circumstances for these household members, a concessional rate of 15% will apply.

Where the gross assessable household income attracts a rent payable of between 25% and 30% of income, that assessment rate will only apply to those household members who do not receive a concessional rate.

Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) tenants and Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA)

FACS will assess 100% of the imputed CRA amount.

If a person in an AHO household is not eligible for CRA, then that person's rent payable will not include CRA.

If the tenant informs FACS that their CRA payments paid by Centrelink are different to those imputed by FACS then FACS will undertake a review and if applicable may make an adjustment to the rent payable.

FACS will make only one client initiated adjustment to CRA for each household member, other than where the household income or number of people in a household change.

Rounding

FACS rounds all subsidised rents to the nearest five cents.

Assessable income and assets

Tables 2-6 below provide information on assessable income and assets. Income and assets are assessable for people who are aged 18 years and over, or the tenant and/or their partner if aged under 18 years.

Table 2: Assessable benefits and allowances paid by Centrelink and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)
Assessable Income Description / further rules if applicable
ABSTUDY Helps with costs for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australians who are studying or undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship.
Age Pension Provides income support and access to a range of concessions for eligible older Australians.
Austudy Financial help to full-time students and Australian Apprentices aged 25 years or more.
Carer Payment A payment for people who personally provide constant care, in the home, to a person with a severe disability, medical condition, or who is frail aged.
Commonwealth Rent Assistance 

Usually public housing tenants and their partners are not eligible to receive CRA as they pay ‘government rent.’ However, where a household member, the tenant or their partner receives CRA, the amount is included in the rent subsidy assessment and assessed at 100% of the CRA amount.

CRA is not taken into consideration in determining the subsidy eligibility threshold.

Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) tenancies: 

Where AHO tenants and/or their household members are entitled to CRA, FACS will assess the amount they are entitled to, whether or not the client actually receives it.

CRA is not taken into consideration in determining the subsidy eligibility threshold.

Dad and Partner Pay Supporting dads or partners caring for a newborn or recently adopted child with up to 2 weeks government funded pay.
Disability Support Pension Financial support for people who have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition that stops them from working or people who are permanently blind.
Defence Force Income Support Allowance Income support payment made by DVA.
Energy Supplement Where paid as a quarterly payment, the Supplement will be assessed based on the equivalent weekly payment.
Family Tax Benefits Parts A & B Family tax benefits are assessable if they are paid on a fortnightly basis. A parent may receive Family Tax benefits for their child over the age of 18 years. In these cases, the Family Tax Benefits are considered assessable income for the parent.
Incentive Allowance The Incentive Allowance is paid to disability support pensions who previously received the Sheltered Workshop allowance.
Income Support Supplement (DVA) Income support in addition to the War Widow’s pension.
Large Family Supplement This supplement is no longer paid.
New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS allowance) Provides eligible job seekers interested in starting and running a small business with training business mentoring and financial assistance.
Newstart Allowance Financial help for people who are looking for work or participating in approved activities that may increase chances of finding a job.
Parenting Payment Income support for parents or guardians to help with the cost of raising children.
Parental Leave Pay Financial support for up to 18 weeks to help eligible parents take time off work to care for a newborn or recently adopted child.
Partner Allowance Support for people with limited work experience who are finding it hard to get work and their partner receives an income support payment.
Service Pension Also known as War Service Pension.
Sickness Allowance A payment for people aged 22 years or older, but under age pension eligibility age, who temporarily cannot work or study because of an injury or illness.
Special Benefit Help for people who are in severe financial hardship, not able to support themselves and any dependants, and unable to receive another income support payment.
Veterans’ Children Education Scheme Provides financial assistance to eligible students up to 25 years of age.
Veterans’ Supplement (DVA) A fortnightly payment to pensioners who do not receive an income support pension is not means tested, and is paid automatically to eligible pensioners.
War Service Pension The War Service Pension is also known as Service Pension
War Widow's Pension  
Widow Allowance Help for women, born on or before 1 July 1955, with no recent workforce experience who have become widowed, divorced or separated since turning 40.
Widow B Pension A payment for an older widow who did not qualify for Parenting Payment, has limited means and has lost the financial support of her partner.
Wife Pension A payment for the female partner of an age pensioner or disability support pensioner. Centrelink have not made new grants of this pension since 1 July 1995.
Working Credits A Centrelink scheme where the client continues to receive their Centrelink payment in addition to wages as an incentive to work. Note: both the working credits and wages are considered assessable income.
Youth Allowance Financial help for people aged 16 to 24 years who are studying full time, undertaking a full time Australian Apprenticeship, training, looking for work or sick.
Table 3: Assessable income from wages/salary/superannuation and other payments
Assessable Income Description / further rules if applicable
Community Development Employment Project (CDEP) payments

Indigenous community organisations are funded by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and the Torres Strait Regional Authority to run CDEPs in urban, rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. CDEPs relate to each community’s needs.

Activities develop participant’s work and employment skills. CDEPs also act as a stepping stone into the mainstream labour market

Child support payments, maintenance or maintenance in kind

Assessable if received by the tenant or other household member.

Where a client advises they are not receiving the child support/maintenance payments that:

  • Have been agreed to in a private arrangement, or
  • Were determined by the Child Support Agency (CSA) or Family Court,

they must provide supporting documentation to demonstrate that payments have not been received. The documentation will vary depending on the situation, but will generally include one or more of the following:

  • Bank statements.
  • CSA Assessment letter showing the amount that should be received and the CSA transaction history showing the amount actually received.
  • Family Court orders.
  • Current income details from Centrelink with recalculated Family Tax Benefits.

When the client provides this information, the assessable income relating to the child support component will be assessed as the reduced child support payment and Family Tax Benefit Entitlement, or Family Tax Benefit entitlement where no child support payments have been received.

‘Maintenance in kind’ is a non-cash support payment, made in lieu of cash payment, and most often associated with essentials such as food, school fees and other education expenses, or items such as medical insurance or expenses.

Birthday presents, gifts, pocket money, and ad hoc purchases are not considered ‘maintenance in kind’, so these items are not considered allowable to be deducted from gross income.

Defence Force Payments and Allowances, Defence Force Reserve Payments and Allowances Defence Force Payments and Allowances excludes deferred pay.
Dust Diseases Board Compensation payments Any lump sum payment itself is not assessable; however any income from the investment of that lump sum is assessable. These rules apply even if the person has disposed of the lump sum payment. Lump sum payments paid by instalments will be assessed as income. If this income is less than the Centrelink benefit that would normally be received, the income assessment will be based on the relevant Centrelink benefit to which the person would otherwise be entitled.
Fire fighters Volunteer Payments  
Fringe Benefit Tax payments If a client receives a fringe benefit, such as car repayments or payment of school fees (but not limited to these payments), it will be added to the gross assessable income.
Other Income Any regular income received that is not specified in this Policy.
Parental Leave Pay  
Salary/Wages The gross amount paid i.e. the amount paid before tax and any other deductions are made.
Salary Sacrifice Salary sacrifice in lieu of part of the salary will be included and added to the gross income.
Self Employed

FACS will determine the deductable and non-deductable business expenses and income for the self employed person. See Table 12 for legitimate business expenses.

The difference between a hobby and a business is if the activities are not undertaken for commercial reasons ie not aimed at making a profit. The activity is undertaken irregularly, is small in size, scale and permanency.  The activity is conducted usually in the client’s spare time. The client does not intend to or actually make a profit.

Superannuation

Superannuation funds include accessible or non-preserved funds and non-accessible or preserved funds. Preserved funds do not allow the investor to withdraw from the funds until they reach retirement age, while non-preserved funds can be withdrawn at any time.

Superannuation taken at retirement age is assessed in the following manner:

  • Regular income if the superannuation generates an income stream, such as an allocated pension or annuity.
  • Savings (e.g. a financial asset) if taken in a lump sum and not invested in an income stream product.

Superannuation funds not taken at retirement are assessed as savings.

Superannuation funds drawn down before retirement are assessed as savings.

Wages/Salary The gross amount paid i.e. the amount paid before tax and any other deductions are made.
Work Cover Payments  
Table 4: Assessable income from investments
Assessable Income Description / further rules if applicable
Allocated pensions and annuities, including any income generated from income streams Only the income generated is assessable.
Dividends and/or earnings from a business The dividend or earnings received is assessable.
Financial assets such as savings bank accounts, term deposits, managed funds, winnings, money from inheritance, gift or deceased estate, trust accounts, rollover funds, investments that are used to generate an income stream.

The first $5000 of each person’s total amount of savings or financial assets is exempt from assessment.

Interest is calculated on the balance of savings and financial assets after exempting the first $5000.

FACS deems the interest rate. This rate is aligned to the Centrelink deeming rate.

Table 5: Special purpose payments
Assessable Income Description / further rules if applicable
Jury service

If a wage or fee is paid to jurors or expert witnesses, or payments are made to cover wages or salary lost during the court sitting.

Lump sum compensation payments

A lump sum payment may preclude a client from receiving a Centrelink payment for a period of time. Income for rent assessment purposes is based on the person’s assumed Centrelink income, appropriate to their age and household composition. The client should obtain a letter from Centrelink stating the preclusion period.

The lump sum payment itself is not assessable; however any income from the investment of that lump sum is assessable

Lump sum payments paid by instalments will be assessed as income. If this income is less than the Centrelink benefit that would normally be received, the income will be based on the relevant Centrelink benefit.

These rules apply even if the person has disposed of the lump sum payment.

Overseas pensions or benefits paid by an overseas government These amounts will be assessed as provided through the Centrelink Income Confirmation Scheme or at the current rate of exchange at the date of assessment.
Scholarships, prizes and grants

Any living component, including accommodation expenses, is assessable.

There are a wide range of scholarships, prizes and grants awarded by the Commonwealth Government, universities and schools. The type and purpose of each payment will determine how it is treated for rent assessment purposes.

A Youth Scholarship or High School Scholarship awarded by FACS is not assessable.

Table 6: Assessable assets
Assessable Assets Description / further rules if applicable
Collections - hobby, trading or investment

A Collection may comprise items such as art, bullion, coins, or stamps.

A collection is an assessable asset for rent subsidy assessment purposes. The gross value of the collection will be treated as a financial asset and deemed interest income will apply.

Other Asset – for example: gold, silver or platinum bullion

Bullion is an assessable asset for rent subsidy assessment purposes.

Whether or not income is derived, the value of the asset will be treated as a financial asset and deemed interest income will apply.

Property assets such as real estate, vacant land, infrastructure

If a tenant or their partner owns or has a share in a property that could provide a viable alternative to social housing, they will not be eligible for a rent subsidy.

If a tenant or their partner is leasing the property to another person, they are not eligible for a rent subsidy, irrespective of the amount of rent earned.

Where the tenant or their partner has only a part share in the property, that share of any income generated by the property will be treated as assessable income.

Where the tenant or their partner has only a part share in the property and there is no income derived, the value of the property share will be treated as a financial asset and deemed interest income will apply.

If another household member owns or has a part share in a property in Australia:

  • If income is derived, the income will be assessed.
  • If no income is derived, the value of the property will be treated as a financial asset and deemed interest income will apply.

If a tenant, their partner or another household member owns a property overseas, any income generated by that property will be treated as assessable income. If a tenant, their partner or another household member owns, part-owns or has an interest in land or infrastructure used for farming, agricultural or other primary production purposes, the income generated is considered assessable income for rent assessment purposes. If no income is derived, the value of the property, part-share or interest in the land or infrastructure will be treated as a financial asset and deemed interest income will apply.

Non-assessable income and assets

Tables 7-12 below provide information on non-assessable income and assets

Table 7: Non-assessable benefits and allowances paid by Centrelink and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Non-assessable Income Description / further rules if applicable
ABSTUDY Fares Allowance Helps cover the cost of travel between a young person’s permanent home and place of study if they need to live away from home to study and receive ABSTUDY.
ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement Helps students with the ongoing costs of full-time or part-time study in a secondary or tertiary course.
ABSTUDY Youth Disability Supplement Additional financial support for young people with physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability who receive specified income support payments.
Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme (AIC)

Includes the Boarding Allowance, Second Home Allowance, Distance Education Allowance and AIC Pensioner Education Supplement

Attendant Allowance (DVA) Financial support for eligible veterans who require assistance due to specific service-related disabilities.
Bereavement Allowances or Bereavement Payments

Where a partnered person receives the couple rate of a pension, and their partner dies, the surviving partner will continue to receive the equivalent Couple rate up to a maximum period of 14 weeks.

During this period, the tenant or household member’s income is assessed at the appropriate single rate of Centrelink pension or benefit to which they would otherwise be entitled.

Carer Allowance

The Carer Allowance was previously the Domiciliary Nursing Care Benefit

Community Development Employment Project Participant Supplement (CPS)

CPS is additional assistance provided by Centrelink to some CDEP participants

Carer Supplement / Carer Supplement
DVA
An annual lump-sum payment to assist carers with the costs of caring for a person with a disability or medical condition.
Child Care Benefit The Child Care Benefit is a specific payment to assist with the payment of child care fees
Child Care Rebate Covers 50% of out of pocket child care expenses for approved child care, up to an annual limit per child, in addition to any other child care assistance.
Clothing Allowance (DVA) May be paid to an eligible veteran, Member of the Forces, or member of a Peacekeeping Force for wear and tear and damage to clothing resulting from war or defence-caused disabilities, or the treatment of those disabilities. For example, damage may be caused by the wearing of surgical aids and appliances.
Crisis Payment A one-off payment equal to one week’s payment of a person’s benefit or allowance.
Disability Youth Supplement

The Disability Youth Supplement is paid to clients who are under 21 years of age and receive a Disability Support Pension.

Disability Pension (DVA) or Disability Allowance (DVA)

The Disability Pension or Allowance when paid by Veterans’ Affairs is also known as War Disability Pension or War Disability Allowance. This is paid to compensate veterans for injuries or diseases caused or aggravated by war service or certain defence service on behalf of Australia. Payment types include totally and permanently incapacitated, temporarily totally incapacitated and blinded, intermediate rate and extreme disablement adjustment.

If the remaining income is less than the standard benefit rate, the assessment is based on the standard Centrelink pension or benefit to which the person would otherwise be entitled.

Disaster Recovery Allowance or Disaster Relief Payment  
Distance Education Allowance  
Domestic Allowance  
Domiciliary Nursing Care Benefit  
Double Orphan Pension Help with the costs of caring for orphaned children or children who are unable to be cared for by their parents in certain circumstances
Drought Force Supplement  
Educational Allowances paid for secondary school student  
Education Entry Payment Available to people receiving some income support payments, to help with the cost of study.
Employment Entry Payment  
Essential Medical Equipment Payment Helps with the additional cost of running essential medical equipment, medically required heating or cooling, or both.
Family Tax Benefits Parts A & B taken through taxation system Where Family Tax Benefits Parts A & B are taken through the taxation system or as a lump sum payment at the end of the financial year following the Family Assistance Office’s FTB reconciliation process, these payments will not be assessed.
Fares Allowance  
Foster Care Allowances Reimbursements received from non-government organisations such as Barnardo’s to provide temporary foster care.
Financial Supplement Loan  
Flexible Support Payment

Established in 2011 to facilitate the delivery of the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments (AGDRP) and the Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA). Payments made under the AGDRP are usually one-off lump sums, but there is provision for payment in instalments.

Funeral Benefits  
GST Supplement or Component This payment is included in the Pension Supplement.
Guardianship Allowance  
Income Support Bonus The last instalment was paid in September 2016; the Bonus is no longer paid.
Jobs Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance Helps with the cost of approved child care for eligible parents undertaking an approved activity.
Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program Supplement  
Living Allowance/Board Provider Living allowance is for assistance in meeting the day to day living costs of students or apprentices. The Living Allowance payments can be made to the board provider under certain circumstances. Linked to ABSTUDY.
Low Income Supplement, Low Income Family Support These payments ended on 30 June 2017, and are no longer paid.
Maternity Immunisation Allowance  
Mobility Allowance A payment for people with disability, illness or injury who cannot use public transport without substantial assistance and who participate in approved activities.
Multiple Birth Allowance  
National Green Jobs Corp Supplement  
Newborn Upfront Payment or Newborn Supplement An increase to a person’s Family Tax Benefit Part A payment when they have a baby or adopt a child.
Orphans Allowance/Pension (DVA) Pensions paid to compensate widowed parents and dependent children of veterans who have died as a result of war service or eligible defence service. War widow's pension and orphan's pension are not affected by other income, except from other compensation payment.

Pension Supplement

Regular extra income support payment to help eligible people meet the costs of medical and living expenses.
Pension Bonus Scheme Designed to encourage people to remain in the workforce longer by offering a bonus to eligible people who wish to keep working beyond pension age.
Pensioner Education Supplement Helps students with the ongoing costs of full-time or part-time study in a secondary or tertiary course.
Permanent Impairment Payment (DVA) Permanent Impairment payments can be paid as a lump sum payment, a pension or a combination of both depending on which Act the condition is accepted under.
Pharmaceutical Allowance Helps with the cost of buying prescription medicines. Paid to eligible income support recipients with their regular fortnightly Centrelink payment.
Prisoner Of War Recognition Supplement (DVA) Provides special recognition of former surviving Australian prisoners of war (POWs), both veteran and civilian, for the severe hardships and deprivations they experienced.
Remote area allowance Financial help for people who receive specified income support payments and live in a remote area.
Schoolkids Bonus Helped with education costs and was automatically paid in January and July. Schoolkids Bonus has been phased out, with the final instalment paid in July 2016.
Statutory Care Allowance or Supported Care Allowance Formerly known as Fostering and Boarding Out Allowance.
Stillborn Baby Payment  
Telephone allowance Helps with the costs of maintaining a telephone and a home internet service for people who receive specified income support payments.
Training Supplement  
Transition to Independent Living Allowance Payment to young people who move from formal care to independent living.
Utilities allowance Helps to meet the costs of regular bills such as gas, electricity and water for people on specified Centrelink payments.
Youth Disability Allowance  
Work for the Dole Supplement  
Table 8: Non-assessable income from wages/salary/superannuation and other payments
Non-assessable Income Description / further rules if applicable
Child support payments, maintenance or maintenance in kind If paid by the tenant or household member, this amount is deducted from gross income.
Clothing Allowance, Laundry Allowance Payments made by employers to reimburse their staff for clothing or laundry expenses.
Honorarium Honorarium, sitting fees or other payments for services as a director or on a volunteer board.
Travel and sustenance allowance, including car allowance

Payments made by employers to reimburse their staff for expenses reasonably and necessarily incurred in travelling on official business and in performing specific duties at a temporary work location.

Circumstances covered by travel and sustenance allowance include:

  • Employees being required to temporarily reside in hotels, motels, boarding houses, or to camp.
  • Employees being required to undertake journeys not requiring temporary residence.

Superannuation

Where funds are non-accessible preserved funds prior to retirement.

Table 9: Non-assessable income from investments
Non-assessable Income Description / further rules if applicable
Funeral Bond Up to the Centrelink Allowable Limit.

Lump sum investments

Any lump sum or capital amount that is used to generate an income stream is not assessable as savings (or investment income).

The income stream generated from the lump sum is assessable income.

Shares

The share value is not assessable as savings (or investment income).

The income generated from the shares is assessable income.

Account used exclusively for funding from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)  

Table 10: Non-assessable special purpose payments

Non-assessable Income

Description / further rules if applicable

Business Services Wages Assessment Tool Payment Scheme

A one-off lump sum payment made to eligible supported employees with an intellectual impairment whose wages were assessed and paid under the Business Services wages Assessment Tool (BSWAT).

The lump sum payment is not assessable for rent subsidy assessment purposes; however any income earned from the investment of that lump sum is assessable.

Chilean Pension of Mercy

The Chilean Pension of Mercy is paid by the Chilean Government to compensate and repair the moral suffering of the victims and relatives of victims of human rights abuse or political violence that occurred in Chile between 11 September 1973 and 10 March 1990 under the Pinochet Regime.

Child support payments, maintenance or maintenance in kind

If paid by the tenant or household member, these payments are deducted from gross income.

F-111 Deseal/Reseal Program ex-gratia lump sum payment (Australian Defence Forces)

This payment is made in recognition of the special circumstances associated with deseal/reseal activities. It recognises that those who worked inside the F-111 fuel tanks for significant periods of time experienced greater concentrations of the chemicals and solvents associated with the F-111 deseal/reseal process.

Japanese Internment Act payment

A one-off payment of $25,000 to Australian service personnel and civilians held as prisoners of war between 7 December 1941 and 29 October 1945, or to their surviving partners.

Jury attendance or court appearances

Jury attendance - payments for out of pocket expenses

Korean Internment payment

One-off payment of $25,000 to veterans who were interned by the North Korean military forces between 27 June 1950 and 19 April 1956, or their surviving partner.

Legacy Allowances

 

Local Carer Awards

 

National Redress Scheme (NRS)

A specific payment received from the Commonwealth, State or non-government institutions as a result of a successful application to the NRS, or a similar successful redress claim of institutional child sexual abuse to an institution not currently participating in the NRS.

Overseas restitution/compensation payment or allowance

A specific payment by the German, Swiss, Austrian or other European Governments.

Stolen Generation Reparation Scheme (SGRS) and Funeral Assistance Fund compensation payments

The Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme provides ex gratia payments of $75,000 to living Stolen Generations survivors who were removed from their families and committed to the care of the NSW Aborigines Protection or Welfare Boards. This payment is made in recognition of the harm that these removals caused.

The Funeral Assistance Fund provides one-off payments of $7,000 to Stolen Generations survivors to assist with the cost of funerals

Victims of Crime Compensation

A lump sum payment made to compensate a victim of a crime.

Table 11: Non-assessable payments paid by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants  
Non-assessable Asset Description / further rules if applicable
Self-managed budget Payment/s to the participant or the participant’s nominee for the purchase of reasonable and necessary disability support services.
Agency managed budget Payment/s to a participant’s support provider to pay for reasonable and necessary disability support services.
Plan managed budget Payment/s to a Plan Manager to pay for reasonable and necessary disability support services.
Automated Transport Budget Automated payment/s to a participant’s nominated bank account. Payments can be made weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on a participant’s support package.
Table 12: Non-assessable assets
Non-assessable Asset Description / further rules if applicable
Vacant Land  
Land with dwelling or building under construction Where a dwelling or other building is under construction and income is unable to be generated.
Real estate 

The property might not be considered for assessment purposes where it is:

  • In an isolated location and income cannot be generated from it
  • An extremely run down dwelling, or otherwise not habitable
  • Subject to legal dispute such as a marital property settlement and income cannot be generated from it
  • Is a burial plot, or
  • A member of the household has special housing requirements and the property is unable to be physically modified to meet those requirements.
Personal assets Includes assets such as cars, caravans, boats, jewellery, clothing, furniture, personal mobility equipment etc.

Deductable and non-deductable business expenses

The following Table provides details of business expenses for which deduction may be made from the gross income of a self-employed person. The deductable expenses must be essential to the primary purpose or type of the business. Note that some expenses may not be treated by the Australian Taxation Office in the same manner.

Table 13: Deductible business expenses
Deductible business expenses Deductible business expenses
Advertising Postage
Courier costs Printing
Depreciation Public risk insurance (Premiums)
Electricity (non-domestic) Rent for commercial premises or a virtual trading space i.e. an electronic retail outlet
Equipment and lease of equipment Salary for employees
Freight Stationery
Gas (non-domestic) Superannuation levy for employees
Goods to be sold Telephone (non-domestic)
Insurance fees and premiums essential to the primary purpose of the business Tools
Interest component of a loan repayment where the loan was made for the primary purpose of the business Travel
Licenses that are essential to the business Subscriptions
Materials Wages for employees
Motor vehicle expenses essential to the primary purpose of the business  

The following Table provide details of business expenses for which deduction from the gross income of a self-employed person will not be made. Note that some expenses may not be treated in the same manner by the Australian Taxation Office.

Table 14: Non-deductible business expenses
Non-deductible business expenses Non-deductible business expenses
Accountancy fees Licences that are not essential for the business
Amenities and refreshments for staff Medicare levies
Bank or money transfer fees, bank surcharges or dishonour fees, account service fees Motor vehicle expenses that are not essential to the business
Book keeping fees NRMA or other roadside service fees
Broadband, internet and Wi-Fi support and access fees Office cleaning costs, cleaning products
Company Registration and Return costs Office maintenance and refurbishment
Computer Consumables Payroll tax and expenses such as payroll preparation fees
Course costs and staff training Personal expenses
Debts of the business, including liability of bad debts Principal component of loan repayment
Domestic expenses Protective clothing and uniforms
Donations Purchase of capital items, small plant equipment, including mobile phones, laptops, notepads or other electronic devices
Drawings Rent for residential premises
Dry cleaning or laundry Research costs
Electricity (domestic) Salary for the business owner
Entertainment costs  
Expenses paid forward Signage
Fees –membership of professional associations, financial or business advice Stamp Duty
Fees - parking, tolls, vehicle storage Storage fees for goods to be sold
Fees – Web content manager Superannuation contributions for the self-employed person
Fines – parking, speeding or other (e.g. food handling fines) Taxation levies
Gas (domestic) Telephone (domestic)
Gifts or donations Training and professional development courses for the self-employed person
GST on goods purchased to be on-sold Wages for the business owner
Insurance Premiums – Life, Workers Compensation, Home and Contents, or Income Protection Water usage – where business is highly dependent on water, e.g. beautician, growing plants, dog washing.
Legal fees Web site development costs.

Proof of income and assets

When applying for a rent subsidy, a client must provide documents to prove all income received by all members of their household aged 18 years and over. Proof of income documents must be original. Examples of acceptable proof of income are documented in the table below. FACS may request further documentation or evidence to support the proof of income requirements.

Table 1: Proof of income and assets
Income/Asset Type Proof of income
Benefits and allowances paid by Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • As provided through the Centrelink Income Confirmation Scheme
  • An income statement from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Child support, maintenance or maintenance in kind
  • Documents from Centrelink or Child Support Agency about the amount and frequency of payments made or received, including in-kind payments.
  • As provided through the Centrelink Income Confirmation Service.
  • Documents detailing a private arrangement.
Income from bank accounts and investments, trust accounts, and other financial assets
  • As provided through the Centrelink Income Confirmation Service.
  • A recent letter or statement from a bank/ investment organisation about savings/investments etc., providing details of the amount, annuity, or shares held and dividend received.
  • A bank statement, account records and statements of Term Deposits.
  • Letter or statement from an investment organisation providing details of the dividend or income received.
  • A letter or statement showing the origination, date and source of the funds, and disbursement arrangements.
  • Note: documents are required for any funds held in any and all bank, credit union, or other financial institution, including accounts which a tenant or household member operates as Trustee, either within or outside Australia.

Overseas pensions
  • As provided through the Centrelink Income Confirmation Service.
  • A letter or statement from an overseas government detailing the amount received.

Property assets (Real estate), including land, commercial or residential premises, interest in deceased estate or inheritance.

For property owned or part-owned by the tenant or household member in Australia or overseas

  • As provided through the Centrelink Income Confirmation Service.
  • A completed FACS Details of Land and Property Ownership Form, with associated documents.
  • A certified copy of a Certificate of Title, a mortgage document or other title documentation.
  • Documents showing percentage of ownership, the value of the property or a recent valuation by a certified valuer, and any income received from the property
Self employment
  • A profit and loss statement completed by an accountant within the last six months, or
  • An income taxation return for the most recent financial year.
  • Note:  a tax assessment Notice is not acceptable.
  • Each partner in a business who is also resident in the household must provide their individual documents relating to the business partnership.
Special purpose payments
  • As provided through the Centrelink Income Confirmation Service.
  • A letter from a university or other organisation in relation to the value of prizes, scholarships or study grants received.
  • Documentation detailing the amount of child support payments received or paid where acceptable to FACS.
Wages/salary/superannuation/self-managed superannuation fund, and other income
  • As provided through the Centrelink Income Confirmation Service.
  • Completed Employment Income Details form
  • Where acceptable to FACS, payslips with year to date earnings and other details as outlined in the FACS Employment Income Details Form.
  • Employer statement or letter confirming personal and payment details, nature and period of employment and all other details as outlined in FACS Employment Income Details Form.
  • Where acceptable to FACS, An electronically generated statement of earnings.
  • A letter or statement from WorkCover or the insurance provider detailing the amount and frequency of any income received, including any lump sum payments received.
  • Recent letter or statement from the superannuation fund including the payment amount and the payment period start and end dates.

Participation in the Income Confirmation Scheme (ICS)

If a public housing tenant or household member receives payments from Centrelink, they can agree to Centrelink providing details of their Centrelink income through the ICS. If the tenant agrees to participate in the ICS, FACS may use Centrelink’s advice of their assessable income to determine eligibility for a rent subsidy.

If income changes, the ICS does not automatically provide FACS with their updated income details from Centrelink. Therefore, if a member of a public housing tenancy participates in the ICS, they must inform FACS within 28 days of any changes to their income. They do not need to provide further details of a Centrelink pension or allowance change, as FACS will then request this electronically using ICS.

If a tenant or household member participates in the ICS and has an income in addition to their Centrelink payment, they may need to give FACS proof of this income separately if FACS is not able to obtain that information from Centrelink in an acceptable form.

Notwithstanding that FACS obtains a client’s income information through the Centrelink ICS, FACS may request additional evidence from the tenant to verify the household income.

3. Eligibility for $5 minimum rent

In some situations, FACS will assess a tenant or household member’s contribution to the rent payable as $5 per week. These situations are set out in Table 1 below.

The tenant must provide documentation to substantiate all claims for the minimum rent charge.

A $5 minimum rent is not applied:

  • To the Estate of a deceased tenant who was the sole occupant of the property.(In these cases, refer to the Manage the Death of a Sole Tenant - Procedure).
  • Where the tenant or a household member is on holiday, overseas, or away from their property for an acceptable absence.
Table 1: $5 minimum rent criteria
SituationCODEDetails

No Centrelink income as spouse or partner earns too much.

NILPRTLM

The tenant or adult household member receives no other income and is not eligible for Centrelink benefits due to the income of their partner.

Every six months, FACS will review the $5 rent assessment.

Sponsorship, two-year or five year waiting period or holding a temporary visa while waiting for a DIMIA decision on immigration status.

NILBRI

NILMIG

The tenant or adult household member (other than a NZ non-protected SCV holder) receives no other income (or receives only Family Tax Benefits) and is not eligible for Centrelink benefits due to their immigration status.

Note: Family Tax Payments are assessable income for rent assessment purposes.

Every six months, FACS will review the $5 rent assessment.

Youth Allowance / ABSTUDY and the Family / Parental means test

NILMNTST

The tenant or adult household member is:

  • Not eligible to receive Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY due to Centrelink’s family / parental means test, and
  • They are not considered to be economically independent by Centrelink, and
  • They have no other income.

Some household members over the age of 18 years do not receive Centrelink income, have no other income, and their parent receives Family Tax Benefits on their behalf. These household members are eligible to pay a $5 minimum rent.

Every six months, FACS will review the $5 rent assessment. After review, FACS will either extend or cancel the $5 minimum rent.

Nursing home, rehabilitation, respite care or a refuge (or other safe place)

NILNUR

NILREF

NILREH

NILRES

The tenant or adult household member’s living expenses are increased because they are required to pay a fee for their accommodation while in a nursing home, rehabilitation centre, respite care, or in a refuge (or other safe place) after leaving domestic violence. Where there are other adult household members remaining in the dwelling, their income is included in the calculation of the rent subsidy.

Every three months, FACS will review the $5 rent assessment. After review, FACS will either extend or cancel the $5 minimum rent.

Prison

NILGOALC

NILGOALR

A tenant or household member who is in prison for six months or less is eligible for $5 minimum rent.

Tenants who go to prison for a period of more than six months must relinquish their tenancy. Where there are other household members, FACS will review the circumstances of the household and consider whether another household member is able to be considered for recognition as a tenant.

5. Eligibility for the Start Work Bonus

Tenants or any person in the household over the age of 18 will be eligible for the Start Work Bonus provided:

  • The tenant  applies directly to FACS for the Start Work Bonus by completing a rent subsidy application form and providing evidence of  the household income (even if the income details were provided through the Income Confirmation Scheme) within 28 days of starting paid employment for casual, part time, full time or seasonal work, or self-employment, and
  • The Rent Subsidy Application form and documentation is provided within 28 days of starting paid employment - verbal notification is not acceptable, and
  • The tenant receives a rent subsidy and the person applying for the Start Work Bonus did not include wages as a source of income before they started the job, i.e., they are not already in existing employment, and
  • The increase in household income is not due to the tenant or household member moving from one type of employment to another, including, for example, moving from part time to full time work, and
  • The tenant or household member is currently receiving a statutory income, and
  • The tenant or additional occupant is not receiving a New Enterprise Scheme Allowance, and
  • The tenant or household member is not receiving income from Work for the Dole that is equivalent to the Newstart Allowance (or other statutory benefit) appropriate for their age and household composition, and
  • The tenant or household member is not a low wage earner who receives an income below the Newstart Allowance (or other statutory benefit) appropriate for their age and household composition.
  • The tenant or household member is not paying a concessional rent eg $5 minimum rent or a temporary reduced rent
  • The total grace period entitlement is not exceeded.

FACS reserves the right to limit or decline a request for the Start Work Bonus to be granted where the household employment history indicates a misuse of the grace period assistance.

6. Eligibility for temporary reduced rent payable

In some situations, FACS will reduce the rent payable by the tenant for a short period of time. These situations are set out in Table 1 below.

Refer to Amend Rent Payable – Procedure

Table 1: Reduced rent payable criteria
SituationCodeReason
NCAT Order (not related to Market Rent Review) CNMR Where the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) has ordered that the rent payable be amended for a period of time. This order is not related to the annual Market Rent Review.
Damage Rectification RECT Where a property has been damaged and the repairs are to be completed whilst property is occupied or the tenant has been relocated for a short period for the repairs to be completed. The tenant cannot utilise the full amenities of the property and the tenancy has not been terminated.
Fire Damage FIRE Where a property has been damaged by fire and the repairs are to be completed whilst property is occupied or the tenant has been relocated for a short period for the repairs to be completed. The tenant cannot utilise the full amenities of the property and the tenancy has not been terminated.
Hard to Let Property HTLP In cases where a property is considered Hard To Let and a reduced rent payable has been approved for a period of time.
Maintenance Required MAIN Where maintenance is required to a property before a tenant is to move in and the tenancy has already been created.
Outcome of Estate of deceased tenant pending ODEC Where a sole tenant has died and tenancy cannot be ended until Management of the Deceased Estate is determined and keys are returned.
Recognition as a Tenant pending SUCC Where an application for Recognition as a Tenant is being reviewed and rent payable by household member is to be reduced to the household member’s rent amount. Existing Subsidy Review will remain in place until there is a decision outcome.
Refurbishment RFMT Where a property is to be refurbished whilst property is occupied or the tenant has been relocated for a short period for the refurbishment to be completed. The tenant cannot utilise the full amenities of the property and the tenancy has not been terminated.
Regional Capped Rent REGC Where a District Director has approved a reduction in rent payable for a property.
Relocation for Management Purposes MGMT Where a tenant is paying market rent and has been relocated to a property with a higher market rent for management purposes. Rent  is reduced by 50% of the difference between the market rent for 26 weeks.
Storm Damage STOR Where a property has been storm damaged and the repairs are to be completed whilst property is occupied or the tenant has been relocated for a short period for the repairs to be completed. The tenant cannot utilise the full amenities of the property and the tenancy has not been terminated.

Water usage charges

1. Tenancies and properties which are exempt from water usage charges

Some tenants are exempt from water usage charging due to the type of tenancy they have, or the program purpose of the property they live in. Tenancies and properties that are exempt from water usage charges are detailed in Tables 1 and 2 below.

Table 1: Tenancy types exempt from water usage charges

Exempt tenancy types

Community lease

Serviced rooming house/joint venture

Commercial lease

Shared equity

Office of community housing

FACS staff/resident managers

PEP - private

Not known at conversion

Protected tenancy

 

Table 2: Properties with program purposes exempt from water usage charges

Exempt program purposes
Affordable housing - HNSW managed Housing stock transfer
Affordable housing - OCH managed LGCHG (general) CWMIS
CAP general non-SAAP LGCHG (main) non-CWMIS
CAP women’s non-SAAP LGCHG (mainstream) CWMIS
CAP youth non-SAAP LGCHG Burdekin youth
Commercial properties non-shops/HNSW LGCHG Co-op CWMIS
Community housing acquisition - general Local government initiatives program
Community housing acquisition - partnership Long term head leasing OCH
Community housing acquisition - pensioner Long term leases
Community housing acquisition - supported Neighbourhood facilities
Community housing programs Occasional child care program
Community tenancy capital scheme Portable unit (separate from dwelling)
Community tenancy leasehold scheme RBB/HNSW joint venture private rental
Community tenancy mainstream scheme Redevelopment community mainstream
Crisis deed of agreement Richmond scheme
Crisis female capital (women’s housing) Shared equity partnership scheme
Crisis general capital Shops only
Crisis general leasehold Short term head leasing OCH
Crisis general mainstream Social housing subsidy program initiative
Crisis hostels capital Special purpose capital housing
Crisis women’s capital Special purpose leasehold housing
Crisis women’s leasehold Special purpose mainstream housing
Crisis women’s mainstream Special state program - homeless youth
Crisis youth Burdekin State boarding houses
Crisis youth capital State community capital housing
Crisis youth leasehold State community leasehold housing
Crisis youth mainstream State community mainstream housing
Crisis youth social justice Burdekin Supported disabled initiative (SHIP)
FACS offices Supported mental health initiative
Housing for community programs Unknown at data load
Housing partnership community Vacant land
Housing partnership mainstream  

2. Percentage water charge rate

From 2 July 2018, the percentage water charge rate is 4.9% of the rent payable, capped at the maximum charge of $8.95 per week.

3. Minimum and maximum charges

Some water charges have minimum and maximum limits. These are outlined in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Minimum and maximum water usage charges
Charge type Minimum charge Maximum charge

Percentage water usage

$1 per week.

This means that FACS will waive the water usage charge if it is calculated at less than $1 per week.

$8.95

Actual water usage

$1 per week.

This means that FACS will waive the water usage charge if it is calculated at less than $1 per week

There is no maximum actual water charge. If a tenant’s water usage is excessive, their water charges will reflect that usage.

4. Water usage allowances

FACS will provide water usage allowances as outlined in Table 1 below:

Table 1: Allowances
Allowance Type Eligibility Criteria

Kidney dialysis

The tenant or a household member must be paying an actual water usage charge and be undergoing kidney dialysis at home.

Where the local water authority provides an allowance in such circumstances, FACS will assist the tenant to obtain an allowance from the water authority. FACS will not provide an additional allowance where the water provider is already providing the allowance. This is because the tenant will receive the benefit of the allowance when FACS processes the bill for that property.

If the local water authority does not provide an allowance, FACS will grant an allowance based on a calculation of the cost of 100 kilolitres of water from the local water authority. An allowance of 100 kilolitres of water per quarter aligns with the allowance offered by Sydney Water for customers undergoing kidney dialysis at home. FACS will then adjust the tenant’s water usage account at the start of each quarter.

If the credit adjustment FACS provides under this allowance is greater than the actual water charge for the billing period, FACS will adjust the tenant’s water account so that there is a ‘nil’ water usage charge for that period.

At the end of each year, FACS will extend the water usage allowance if the tenant provides evidence that the tenant or household member is expected to continue undertaking kidney dialysis at home for a further 12 months.

Percentage water charge tenants are not eligible for the kidney dialysis allowance as the water charge paid by these tenants does not directly relate to their water usage. In setting the percentage rate for the percentage water charge, FACS deducts an allowance for high water use by some tenants due to health or disability issues.

Health and disability

The tenant or a household member must be paying an actual water usage charge and have a health condition or disability that necessitates the use of significantly higher amounts of water than FACS considers normal for a similar sized household.

FACS regards a significant amount of water as a minimum of 25 kilolitres of water above normal household use.

If FACS grants an allowance, it will adjust the tenant’s water usage account on a quarterly basis. FACS will base this adjustment on a calculation of the cost of the kilolitre allowance granted applying the current water usage charges of the local water supplier.

Percentage water charge tenants are not eligible for the heath and disability allowance as the water charge paid by these tenants does not directly relate to their water usage. In setting the percentage rate for the percentage water charge, FACS deducts an allowance for high water use by some tenants due to health or disability issues.

Large household

The tenant must be paying an actual water usage charge and have a household of six or more people.

FACS will grant a large household allowance of $10 per quarter.

Percentage water charge tenants are not eligible for the large household allowance as the water charge paid by these tenants does not directly relate to their water usage.

Rent Subsidy Non-Disclosure

1. Receipt of information by FACS

There are many ways FACS can become aware that a tenant may be receiving a rent subsidy to which they are not entitled. The most common ways include:

  • The tenant provides information that is inconsistent with information supplied for previous rent subsidy applications
  • FACS receives information that is inconsistent with its current records relating to the tenant’s household circumstances
  • An acquaintance, relative or work colleague of the tenant advises FACS of changes to the tenant’s household circumstances.

2. Inquiries related to alleged subsidy non-disclosure

FACS may make inquiries about matters related to an alleged failure to disclose a change in household circumstances where:

  • There is a lawful reason to do so (for example, where the information is required for a purpose directly related to assessing the tenant’s eligibility for rent subsidy)
  • There is a current signed authority (for example, the tenant has signed an application for rent subsidy authorising contact with third parties)
  • There is a clause in the tenancy agreement giving consent to FACS to make enquiries with third parties about the tenant’s income and assets
  • An exemption has been granted and is documented in the FACS Privacy Code of Practice (for example, protection of the public revenue).

FACS may make inquiries with, for example:

  • The tenant’s employer or alleged employer
  • The tenant’s neighbours
  • Supply authorities, such as gas, electricity, water and telephone providers
  • The police or other government agencies
  • The appropriate local council
  • Any other likely sources of relevant information.

FACS will also review the tenant’s file and any Rent Subsidy Applications submitted by the tenant during the period of the alleged failure to disclose information.

3. Assessment criteria and evidence for determining subsidy non-disclosure

FACS will carefully consider the merits of any information before using it as the basis of a decision regarding a tenant’s alleged failure to disclose changes to their household circumstances. FACS will weigh information according to its reliability, strength, impartiality and importance. FACS will not give weight to evidence or factors that are not relevant or important to the case.

FACS will take into account the following information when deciding whether a tenant’s alleged failure to disclose information about their household circumstances amounts to an unsubstantiated allegation, rent subsidy non-disclosure or possible rent subsidy fraud:

  • Whether the tenant has denied the allegations
  • Whether the tenant has admitted the allegations in part or in full
  • Whether the tenant has a reasonable explanation for failing to disclose information about changes to their household circumstances
  • Whether the tenant was aware of their obligation to disclose information about the change to their household circumstances. If the tenant claims they were not aware of this obligation, whether this claim is reasonable
  • Whether the tenant signed a rent subsidy application form during the relevant period
  • Any previous history of the tenant’s failure to disclose information about changes to their household circumstances
  • The estimated monetary value (in terms of arrears of new weekly rent)
  • Length of time involved
  • The number of times FACS has previously interviewed the tenant in relation to current and/or previous allegations
  • Whether the tenant has a reasonable ability to obtain the information required to clarify the circumstances
  • Whether the tenant has refused or failed to supply information that is reasonably available to them to clarify the circumstances
  • Relevant evidence/information provided by the tenant
  • Any extenuating circumstances or mitigating factors.

Extenuating or mitigating circumstances may include:

  • Diminished capacity of the tenant to understand their obligations, for example, due to disability barriers
  • Any duress the tenant may have suffered to falsely declare, or not declare, changes to the household circumstances, for example, threatened or actual domestic/family violence.

FACS will take into account the following evidence when deciding whether a tenant’s alleged failure to disclose information about their household circumstances amounts to an unsubstantiated allegation, rent subsidy non-disclosure or possible rent subsidy fraud:

  • Any Rent Subsidy Application form(s) which contains information about a tenant’s obligation to disclose any change to their household circumstances signed by the tenant during the period of alleged failure to disclose information
  • Any information that FACS has given to the tenant (verbal or written), which outlined the tenant’s obligation to advise FACS of any change to household circumstances
  • Oral or written advice from any third party that the tenant has had a change in their household circumstances
  • File notes and information held on FACS’s computer system
  • Information about the tenant’s income that differs from previous information supplied for the same period
  • Any explanation provided by the tenant or other household member
  • Proof of residency of alleged additional occupants, e.g., driver’s license, correspondence addressed to the tenant’s or other address
  • Proof of income for the tenant or alleged additional occupants, e.g., Centrelink income statement discloses income besides the basic benefit/allowance, such as wages
  • Evidence of ownership of property or other assets
  • Evidence of any extenuating or mitigating circumstances.

Evidence that FACS may consider in determining whether any mitigating or extenuating circumstances apply includes:

  • File notes and information held on FACS’s computer system relating to incidents of domestic violence or problems relating to cultural issues
  • Police reports
  • Support letters from advocates
  • Information held about the tenant’s capacity to read, write and understand English
  • Documentation of health or intellectual disability issues which may affect a person’s comprehension or decision-making ability.

4. Outcome of assessment

FACS may take a range of actions depending on whether it has determined that the situation is one of unsubstantiated allegation, rent subsidy non-disclosure or possible rent subsidy fraud. The actions are outlined in the table below.

Table 1: Outcome and actions
Outcome of assessmentAction

Unsubstantiated allegation

FACS will not take any further action, except to remind the tenant of their obligation to disclose any future changes to their household circumstances. However, FACS will keep information regarding the allegation and resolution on the tenant’s file.

Rent subsidy non-disclosure

FACS may take one or more of the following actions:

  • Reassess the tenant’s rent subsidy from the date the change occurred and negotiate a repayment plan for any resulting arrears. Where a tenant pays a water usage charge based on a percentage of net rent, FACS will also reassess the tenant’s water usage charges
  • Cancel the tenant’s rent subsidy from the date the change occurred and negotiate a repayment plan for any resulting arrears
    • FACS is able to pursue any debt resulting from a rent subsidy cancellation or re-assessment in accordance with the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.
  • Take action to terminate the tenancy

Any debt accrued by rent subsidy non-disclosure is not written off due to bankruptcy and can be pursued.

Rent subsidy fraud

FACS may take one or more of the following actions:

  • Reassess the tenant’s rent subsidy from the date the change occurred and negotiate a repayment plan for any resulting arrears. Where a tenant pays a water usage charge based on a percentage of net rent, FACS will also reassess the tenant’s water usage charges
  • Cancel the tenant’s rent subsidy from the date the change occurred and negotiate a repayment plan for any resulting arrears
    • FACS is able to pursue any debt resulting from a rent subsidy cancellation or re-assessment in accordance with the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.
  • Take action to terminate the tenancy
  • Commence proceedings for criminal prosecution under the Housing Act 2001 or the Crimes Act 1900 or refer the matter to the Department of Public Prosecutions for prosecution under the Crimes Act 1900.

Any debt accrued by rent subsidy fraud is not written off due to bankruptcy and can be pursued.

Account management

1. Evidence requirements when making decisions about managing accounts

FACS will consider the following evidence requirements when making decisions about managing accounts.

Situation Evidence Requirements

Reasonable repayment arrangements

  • FACS computer records or documentation of the household’s income
  • FACS computer records showing the amount of the debt
  • File notes or other documentation related to the client’s circumstances

Reasonable repayment arrangement broken

FACS computer records indicating that a tenant has not made a repayment

Inability to meet reasonable repayment requirements

The client will need to provide written advice from:

  • A financial counselling service, or
  • The NSW Public Trustee and Guardian, or
  • The Public Guardian, or
  • A tenants’ advocacy service, or
  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIA), or
  • Another similar service

Obtaining a Specific Performance Order under section 187

FACS computer records indicating a tenant’s payment history, the level of arrears, the existence of repayment arrangements and any breach of those arrangements

Obtaining a Specific Performance Order after the issue of a notice of termination

  • As above for Specific Performance Orders under section 187
  • Previous specific performance orders

Issuing a Notice of Termination

  • As above for Specific Performance orders after issuing a Notice of Termination
  • File notes, computer records and letters outlining attempts to contact the tenant
  • Breaches of previous specific performance orders

Applying for an Order of Termination and Possession

  • As above for issuing a Notice of Termination
  • The tenant is still occupying the premises
  • File notes, computer records and letters outlining attempts to resolve the situation and have the tenant enter into a reasonable repayment arrangement
  • File notes or written evidence documenting that the intervention of support services (where applicable) has failed to assist in resolving the situation

Credit or debit balances on vacated accounts

FACS computer records

Transferring credit balances to other accounts where the tenant is still housed with FACS

Written agreement from the tenant to transfer the balance

Tenant declared bankrupt

Notices to Creditors of Bankruptcy by the Trustee in Bankruptcy

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