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Tenancy Charges and Account Management Policy Supplement

This document provides additional information to support the following policies of the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ):

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 DCJ
  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

DCJ 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 DCJ uses to determine if a tenant is eligible for a rent subsidy and, if so, how much rent they will pay. DCJ determines a tenant’s eligibility for a rent subsidy by considering their household’s gross assessable income, household size, the 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.

DCJ determines income limits by using different combinations of the four key household member types listed in the table below. DCJ 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 1 July 2019:

Household member

Weekly income allowance

Moderate income limit (or threshold)

30% limit (or threshold)

Subsidy eligibility limit (or threshold)

First Adult

$815

$1,019

$1,520

Each Additional adult

$215

$269

$405

First child

$160

$200

$305

Each additional child

$110

$138

$200

Applying rent subsidy income limits:

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

  • 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.

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

2. Rent assessment rules

Table 1: Rent assessment rules

Condition

Rule

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 DCJ includes their income as part of the gross assessable household income.

Application of concessional rates

DCJ 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 (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)

AHO tenants and their household members may be eligible for CRA. DCJ will impute the CRA amount to which the person is entitled. DCJ will assess 100% of the imputed CRA amount toward the rent subsidy assessment.

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

Rounding

DCJ rounds all subsidised rents to the nearest five cents.

Assessable income and assets

Income and assets are assessable for household members aged 18 years and over, or the tenant and/or their partner if aged under 18 years.

Tables 2 - 6 below provide information on assessable income and assets.

See also Tables 7 – 12 below which provide information on non-assessable income and assets.

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 (CRA)

Public housing tenancies:

Public housing tenants and their partners are usually 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.

Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) tenancies:

Where AHO tenants and their household members are eligible for CRA, DCJ will assess the amount to which they are entitled, whether or not the person actually receives that amount.

Dad and Partner 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 the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

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.

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 pensioners 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 (DVA)

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 (DVA)

Also known as Service Pension.

War Widow's Pension

 

Widow Allowance

No new grants since 1 July 2018.

Widow B Pension

No new grants since 20 March 1997.

Wife Pension

No new grants 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

 

Table 3: Assessable income from wages/salary/superannuation and other payments

Assessable Income

Description / further rules if applicable

Community Development Employment Project (CDEP)

No longer available.

Community Development Program (CDP)

Remote employment and community development program, supporting job seekers since 1 March 2019.

Child support payments, maintenance or maintenance in kind

Assessable if received by the tenant or other household member.

Where a person 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 person 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
  • Where no child support payments have been received, the   relevant Family Tax Benefit entitlement.

‘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 exclude deferred pay.

Dust Diseases Board Compensation payments

Compensation payment paid as a lump sum is not assessable; however any income generated 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 income to which the person would otherwise be entitled, the income will be assessed as though they receive the relevant Centrelink income.

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

Fire fighters Volunteer Payments

 

Fringe Benefit Tax payments

If a person receives a fringe benefit, such as car repayments or payment of school fees (but not limited to these payments), the amount will be added to the gross assessable income.

Other Income

Any regular income received that is not specified in this Policy.

Parental Leave Pay

Eligible employees who are the primary carer of a newborn or adopted child can get up to 18 weeks leave paid at the national minimum wage.

Rent or other income generated by leasing or letting a property

Includes income from an investment property, or short-term or holiday letting or similar, for the whole or part of a property.

Salary/Wages

The gross amount paid i.e. the amount paid before tax and any other deductions such as Garnishee Orders are made.

Salary Sacrifice

Salary sacrifice in lieu of part of the salary will be included and added to the gross assessable income.

Self Employed

DCJ will determine the deductable and non-deductable business expenses and income for the self-employed person. See Table 13 for further information.

DCJ will determine how a hobby or business will be treated for the purposes of rent subsidy assessment.

Generally, the difference between a hobby and a business is:

  • the activities are not undertaken for commercial reasons i.e.   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 person’s spare time
  • the person does not intend to or actually does not make a   profit.

Superannuation

Superannuation benefits include ‘preserved’ and ‘non- preserved’ funds.

Preserved funds are not usually accessible and do not generally allow withdrawal from the funds until  retirement age is reached. Non-preserved funds can be withdrawn at any time.

Superannuation benefits taken at retirement age are assessed in the following manner:

  • As income - if the superannuation generates an income stream, such as an allocated pension or annuity.
  • As Savings (i.e. 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 withdrawn before retirement are assessed as savings.

Wages/Salary

The gross amount paid i.e. the amount paid before tax and any other deductions such as Garnishee Orders are made.

Work Cover Payments

 

Table 4: Assessable income from investments

Assessable Income

Description / further rules if applicable

Dividends and/or earnings from a business

The dividend or earnings received is assessable.

Financial assets

Such as savings bank or credit union accounts, term deposits, managed funds, winnings, money from inheritance, gift or deceased estate including a life interest trust accounts, rollover funds, cryptocurrencies, 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.

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

Income stream generated from allocated pensions or annuities

Only the income generated is assessable. The lump sum from which the allocated pension or annuity is derived is not assessable.

Shares

The income or dividend generated from shares is assessable income. The share value itself is not assessable.

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. The client should obtain a letter from Centrelink confirming the exclusion period.

In these circumstances, income for rent assessment purposes is based on the person’s assumed Centrelink income appropriate to their age and household composition.

Compensation payment paid as a lump sum is not assessable; however any income generated 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 income to which the person would otherwise be entitled, the income will be assessed as though they receive the relevant Centrelink income.

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 in Australian dollars:

  • as documented in a recent assessment obtained through the   Centrelink Income Confirmation Scheme (ICS), or
  • at the foreign exchange   rate at the date of assessment.

DCJ will use the foreign exchange rate provided by Commonwealth Bank 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 Governments, 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 DCJ 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.

See also Tables 2 - 6 above which provide information on 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

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

A specific benefit to assist with the payment of child care fees up to 1 July 2018. From 2 July 2018 clients may be assisted with Child Care Subsidy.

Child Care Benefit/ Child Care Rebate/Child Care Subsidy

Specific payments to help with the cost of child care.

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

 

Disability Youth Supplement

 

Disability Pension (DVA) / Disability Allowance (DVA)

The Disability Pension or Allowance when paid by Veterans’ Affairs is also known as War Disability Pension or War Disability Allowance.

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.

The amount of this income is deducted from assessable components of DVA or Centrelink income.

If the remaining income is less than the Centrelink income to which the person would otherwise be entitled, the income will be assessed as though they receive the relevant Centrelink income.

Disaster Recovery Allowance or Disaster Relief Payment

 

Distance Education Allowance

 

Domestic Allowance

 

Domiciliary Nursing Care Benefit

 

Double Orphan Pension

 

Drought Force Supplement

 

Educational Allowances paid for secondary school student

 

Education Entry Payment

 

Employment Entry Payment

 

Essential Medical Equipment Payment

Helps with the additional cost of running essential medical equipment, medically required heating or cooling, or both.

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

No new grants since September 2016.

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

No new grants since 30 June 2017.

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)

 

PaTH Internship Incentive

Payment to help young people gain skills and work experience.

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 under which Act the condition is accepted.

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

No new grants since 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, the amount is deducted from gross assessable 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
  • undertake journeys not requiring temporary residence.

Superannuation

Where the amount is ‘preserved’ funds i.e. not usually accessible and generally do not allow withdrawal from the fund until retirement age is reached.

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

A lump sum or capital amount that is used to generate income is not assessable.

The income generated from the lump sum is assessable income.

Shares

The share value itself is not assessable.

Income or dividend 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.

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

Reimbursement 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 National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, or a civil compensation payment in relation to institutional child sexual abuse.

Overseas restitution/compensation payment or allowance

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

Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme 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 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

 

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, computers, 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 in the same manner by the Australian Taxation Office.

 

Table 13: Deductible and Non-deductible business expenses

Business expense

Deductable?

Yes or No

Accountancy fees

No

Advertising

Yes

Amenities and refreshments for staff

No

Bank or money transfer fees, bank surcharges or dishonour fees, account service fees

No

Bookkeeping fees

No

Broadband, internet and Wi-Fi support and access fees

No

Company Registration and Return costs

No

Computer consumables

No

Courier costs

Yes

Course costs, professional development, and staff training

No

Debts of the business, including liability for bad debts or losses carried forward from previous financial periods

No

Depreciation

Yes

Domestic expenses

No

Donations

No

Drawings or Distributions

No

Dry cleaning or laundry

No

Electricity (domestic)

No

Electricity (non-domestic)

Yes

Entertainment costs

No

Equipment and lease of equipment

Yes

Expenses paid forward

No

Fees - filing fees such as court, application or document lodgement fees

No

Fees - membership of professional associations, financial or business advice

No

Fees - parking, tolls, vehicle storage

No

Fees - Web content manager

No

Fines - parking, speeding or other (e.g. food handing fines)

No

Freight

Yes

Gas (domestic)

No

Gas (non-domestic)

Yes

Gifts or donations

No

Goods to be sold

Yes

GST on goods purchased to be on-sold

No

Insurance premiums and fees essential to the primary purpose of the business (Exceptions to this rule are noted below.)

Yes

Insurance premiums - Public Liability Insurance

Yes

Insurance premiums and fees - Life, Workers Compensation, Home and Contents, or Income Protection

No

Interest component of a loan repayment where the loan was made for the primary purpose of the business

Yes

Legal fees

No

Licenses essential to the primary purpose of the business

Yes

Licenses not essential to the primary purpose of the business

No

Materials

Yes

Medicare levies

No

Motor vehicle expenses essential to the primary purpose of the business

Yes

Motor vehicle expenses not essential to the primary purpose of the business

No

NRMA or other roadside service fees

No

Office or business premises cleaning costs, cleaning products

No

Office maintenance and refurbishment

No

Payroll tax and expenses such as payroll preparation fees

No

Personal expenses

No

Postage

Yes

Printing

Yes

Principle component of loan repayment

No

Protective clothing and uniforms

No

Public risk insurance (Premiums)

Yes

Purchase of capital items, small plant equipment, including mobile phones, laptops, notepads or other electronic devices

No

Rent for commercial premises or a virtual trading space i.e. an electronic retail outlet - related to the primary purpose of the business

Yes

Rent for residential premises

No

Research costs

No

Salary for the business owner/s

No

Salary for employees

Yes

Security installations or costs

No

Signage

No

Stamp Duty

No

Stationery

Yes

Storage fees for goods to be sold

No

Superannuation contributions for the self-employed person/s

No

Superannuation levy for employees

Yes

Taxation levies

No

Telephone (domestic)

No

Telephone (non-domestic)

Yes

Tools

Yes

Training and professional development courses for the self-employed person/s

No

Travel essential to the primary purpose of the business

Yes

Subscriptions

Yes

Wages for employees

Yes

Wages for the business owner/s

No

Water usage - domestic or non-domestic

No

Web site development costs

No

Proof of income and assets

When applying for a rent subsidy, a tenant must provide documents to prove all income received and all assets for all members of their household aged 18 years and over. Proof of income documents must be original.

Examples of acceptable documents to demonstrate proof of income are shown in the table below. DCJ 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 income or 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: Acceptable 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 documented in a recent assessment obtained through the Centrelink Income Confirmation Service (ICS).
  • A letter or statement from an overseas government detailing   the amount and frequency received. The document must be translated into   English.

Note: DCJ will assess amounts in Australian dollars at the foreign exchange rate provided by Commonwealth Bank at the date of assessment.

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 DCJ 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 (ICS).
  • A letter from a university or other organisation in relation to the value of prizes, scholarships or study grants received.

Wages/salary/superannuation/self-managed superannuation fund, Compensation, and other income

  • As provided through the Centrelink Income Confirmation Service (ICS).
  • Employment Income Details form completed by the employer/s.
  • Where acceptable to DCJ, payslips with year to date earnings and other details as outlined in the DCJ 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 DCJ Employment Income Details form.
  • Where acceptable to DCJ, 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, type, 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, DCJ 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 DCJ with their updated income details from Centrelink. Therefore, if a member of a public housing tenancy participates in the ICS, they must inform DCJ 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 DCJ 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 DCJ proof of this income separately if DCJ is not able to obtain that information from Centrelink in an acceptable form.

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

3. Eligibility for $5 minimum rent

In some situations, DCJ 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.

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 Process - Manage the death of a sole tenant).
  • Where the tenant or a household member is on holiday, overseas, or away from their property for an acceptable absence.

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

Table 1: $5 minimum rent criteria

Situation

CODE

Details

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, DCJ 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, DCJ 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, DCJ will review the $5 rent assessment. After review, DCJ 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, DCJ will review the $5 rent assessment. After review, DCJ will either extend or cancel the $5 minimum rent.

Prison

NILGAOLC

NILGAOLR

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, DCJ will review the circumstances of the household and consider whether another household member is able to be considered for recognition as a tenant.

4. 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 DCJ 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.

DCJ 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.

5. Eligibility for temporary reduced rent payable

In some situations, DCJ 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

Situation

Code

Reason

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

DCJ 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)

DCJ 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 1 July 2019, the percentage water charge rate is 5.2% of the rent payable, capped at the maximum charge of $9.40 per week.

Under the Social Housing Management Transfer program, at the time of management transfer a community housing provider will accept the following conditions:

Shared Water Meter:

  • Tenants are charged a percentage water rate (5.2% of the net weekly rent payable – excluding the vacant bedroom charge, capped at $9.40 per week).
  • Once the tenant’s income changes, the community housing provider may apply their own policy for assessing the tenants new rent and water charges.

Separate Water Meter:

  • Tenants pay the actual water usage based on a bill that is received from the water authority every 13 weeks.
  • Once the community housing provider receives the first bill they may apply their own policy for assessing the tenant’s water charges.

For specific requirements to tenancies transferring to community housing provider management under the Social Housing Management Transfer program, please refer section 5.6.1 of the Community Housing Rent Policy (https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/housing/community-housing-policies/rent).

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 DCJ will waive the water usage charge if it is calculated at less than $1 per week.

$9.40

Actual water usage

$1 per week.

This means that DCJ 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

DCJ 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, DCJ will assist the tenant to obtain an allowance from the water authority. DCJ 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 DCJ processes the bill for that property.

If the local water authority does not provide an allowance, DCJ 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. DCJ will then adjust the tenant’s water usage account at the start of each quarter.

If the credit adjustment DCJ provides under this allowance is greater than the actual water charge for the billing period, DCJ 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, DCJ 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, DCJ 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 DCJ considers normal for a similar sized household.

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

If DCJ grants an allowance, it will adjust the tenant’s water usage account on a quarterly basis. DCJ 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 health 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, DCJ 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.

DCJ 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 DCJ

There are many ways DCJ 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
  • DCJ 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 DCJ of changes to the tenant’s household circumstances.

2. Inquiries related to alleged subsidy non-disclosure

DCJ 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 DCJ to make enquiries with third parties about the tenant’s income and assets
  • An exemption has been granted and is documented in the DCJ Privacy Code of Practice (for example, protection of the public revenue).

DCJ 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.

DCJ 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

DCJ 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. DCJ will weigh information according to its reliability, strength, impartiality and importance. DCJ will not give weight to evidence or factors that are not relevant or important to the case.

DCJ 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 DCJ 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.

DCJ 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 DCJ has given to the tenant (verbal or written), which outlined the tenant’s obligation to advise DCJ 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 DCJ’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 DCJ may consider in determining whether any mitigating or extenuating circumstances apply includes:

  • File notes and information held on DCJ’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

DCJ 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 assessment

Action

Unsubstantiated allegation

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

Rent subsidy non-disclosure

DCJ 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, DCJ 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

·

  • DCJ 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

DCJ 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, DCJ 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

·

  • DCJ 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

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

Situation

Evidence Requirements

Reasonable repayment arrangements

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

Reasonable repayment arrangement broken

DCJ 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

DCJ 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

DCJ computer records

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

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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Last updated: 10 Sep 2019