Aboriginal Community Housing Rent Policy
The NSW Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) is changing the way rent is charged on all AHO social housing properties managed by Aboriginal Community Housing Providers and Community Housing Providers. The AHO is replacing the current Build & Grow Rent policy with the new Aboriginal Community Housing Rent Policy (ACHRP).
The ACHRP is an income based rent setting model that aligns with Community Housing sector rent setting. It applies to all tenants who are renting an AHO property.
What are the Main Changes?
The amount of rent you will pay will now be based on your total Gross Household Income (GHI). This figure will be compared to the market rent for your property and you will pay the less of the two. See below figure.
Your housing provider will need to first determine the market rent payable for your property. Please note this is the maximum amount of rent you can be charged for the property.
Once the market rent for your property has been determined. You will need to provide income details for all household members over the age of 18 years. This will allow your provider to determine if you are eligible to receive a rent subsidy. Once your provider has determined your rent payable, they will advise you in writing.
Your household rent will include 100% of the maximum Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) that your household is entitled to receive from Services Australia (Centrelink).
What is Market Rent?
Market rent is the maximum amount of rent that can be charge for a property.
The AHO charges market rent for all its properties then offers a rent subsidy to tenants who are eligible.
Your provider will undertake market rent reviews on all AHO properties annually to ensure the amount of rent charged for your property is up to date with movements in the rental market.
How is Market Rent Determined?
Market Rent is determined on the property type, size and location. Market rent is set on AHO social housing properties using The Rent and Sale Report published quarterly by Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ).
What is a Rental Subsidy?
A rent subsidy is the difference between market rent and what rent you actually pay.
Tenants residing in AHO properties are eligible to apply for a rental subsidy in accordance with the Aboriginal Housing Act 1998 section 11. Rent subsidies are granted to tenants to assist them with the cost of housing.
Your provider may undertake a rent subsidy review every 6 months. The reason for this is to ensure you are being charged the correct rent. As a tenant you have the right to ask your provider to conduct a rent subsidy review whenever there is change in your household income or family complement.
What is Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA)?
CRA is a rent supplement provided by the Commonwealth Government and paid to people on Centrelink payments to meet the cost of renting, provided they meet eligibility criteria.
Why CRA-based rents?
The Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) is trying to access more CRA funding from the Commonwealth as the extra funding will enable the AHO to maintain and improve the condition of its existing properties.
Why are AHO tenants eligible for CRA?
AHO properties managed by Housing NSW are treated as community housing by Centrelink and so household members in these properties may be eligible for CRA.
Public housing tenants, however, are not eligible for CRA .
How often do I need to advise my housing provider of change in household income or makeup?
Tenants need to advise their provider of any changes in their household income or family complement within 28 days to ensure the correct rent is being charged.
What does this mean for you?
The amount of rent you are currently charged may change. Your rent may increase or decrease depending on your circumstances. It may also stay the same.
You will receive correspondence from your housing providers over the coming months to advise of this change and what you will need to do.
If you do not provide income details for all household members over the age of 18 years you may be charged market rent.
Who can you talk to about this change?
In the first insistence you should contact your housing provider. Should you want to talk to someone at the AHO please contact your regional AHO office.
Phone: (02) 8836 0000
Phone: (02) 6659 2630
Sydney South Eastern Region:
Phone: (02) 8836 9423