Private Rental Incentives FAQ - Information for Property Owners and Agents

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Private Rental Incentives Frequently Asked Questions - Information for Property Owners and Agents

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Overview

This is an initiative funded by the Tasmanian government to help low income Tasmanians access the private rental market.

Incentives will be offered to property owners to encourage them to make their private rental properties available and affordable to low income households. Properties are needed that are suitable for singles, couples or families across Tasmania.

This is a pilot and it is anticipated that 110 properties will be made available under this initiative by June 2019.

What are the eligibility criteria for properties?

Suitable properties must:

  • Be in close proximity to services, especially: health services, public transport, and shops/grocery stores (open on weekends)
  • Meet minimum standards under the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 (Tas)* (RTA)
  • Be covered by landlord insurance (evidenced by a certificate of currency)
  • Be vacant (or will become vacant before 30 June 2019)
  • Be available to rent for 12 months
  • Be offered at an affordable rent (see Table 1)

Suitable properties are not required to be furnished.

There is a strong preference for one and two bedroom properties throughout the State. However, larger homes are also required across all regions

What is an affordable rent?

The rent that a property owner is willing to charge to participate in this initiative must be at or below the maximum rents set out in the table below. It is intended that the new rent will be lower than what a property owner may currently receive in the market.

Table 1.  Maximum rents during participation

Region

Bedrooms

Maximum (capped) Rents

North West

1

$133

2

$177

3

$216

4

$248

North

1

$148

2

$218

3

$238

4

$289

South

1

$184

2

$266

3

$324

4

$370

  • Maximum rents have been set at 20 per cent below the median market rent (based on size and location of the property). Property owners must be willing to receive no more than the maximum rent for their property when participating in this initiative.

Properties to be selected will:

  • Not have been rented before, or
  • Previously have been used for short-stay accommodation, or
  • Previously have been offered at higher prices.

Properties that are already available at an affordable rent won’t be selected for the initiative.

What are the financial incentives?

The financial incentives are $10 000 in the North and North West and $13 000 in the South. It is higher in the South as rent prices and property costs are higher.

How much would a tenant be expecting to pay to rent a home through this initiative?

The tenant will pay the rental price agreed with the private owner. This will not exceed the maximum rent payable (as outlined in Table 1). This initiative targets properties in the lower price range.

My property won’t be vacant/available until later in 2018 or in 2019.  Can I still apply to join the initiative?

Yes. The pilot runs until 30 June 2019.

If you are interested in participating in the initiative, you will need to complete a Private Rental Incentive Application Form and send it to housing.privaterentals@dhhs.tas.gov.au. Application forms can be downloaded from the website at: www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/housing.privaterentals

Your property will then be assessed against eligibility criteria and you will be notified of the outcome. Community Housing Providers will be advised of approved properties and their potential to enter into a head lease and payment agreement with the property owner.

Applications must be received before June 2019.

My property is currently rented at a higher price. Can I list my current tenant in the initiative and lower the rent?

No. Existing tenancies are not eligible for the initiative.

Can I end my current tenancy so I can list the property under this initiative?

No. Tenancies can only be ended for the reasons set out in the Residential Tenancy Act 1997.

What is a head lease?

A head lease is a tenancy agreement signed between a property owner or agent, and a head tenant (in this case, the Community Housing Provider). The head tenant can then sub-lease the property to eligible occupants.

Why do I have to use a head lease?

The head lease offers property owners with guaranteed rent and with tenancy management by the Community Housing Provider for the term of the lease.

What are Community Housing Providers?

Community Housing Providers work with Housing Connect and Housing Tasmania to provide safe and affordable homes through various programs. Collectively, Community Housing Providers manage over 4 000 properties in Tasmania.

Why do I need to provide evidence of insurance (Certificate of Currency)?

It is an eligibility requirement of the Private Rental Incentive that a property is adequately insured. This includes cover for property damage by the tenant.

Why do I need to provide photos of my property?

Photos are required to assist in the approval process. By providing photos we aim to ensure a quick process from submitting your property application to your new tenant moving in.

What do I need to do before the tenant moves into the property?

A property must be clean and in good condition prior to handover of the vacant property.

Do I choose the tenant?

No. Your property will be matched to a suitable applicant (tenant) through the systems and expertise of the Community Housing Provider and Housing Connect.

An application and assessment process is used when people join the Housing Register. Suitable applicants for the initiative are low income earners who need assistance to access a rental property.

Private Rental Incentives uses experienced tenancy managers to match suitable applicants to suitable properties prior to being accepted to the initiative.

Who do I contact if there is an issue during the term of the lease?

This depends on the issue and who is involved.

The head lease and payment contract (used between the Community Housing Provider and a property owner or agent) and a residential tenancy agreement (used between the Community Housing Provider and tenant) set out the roles and responsibilities for each party during the term of the tenancy.

The RTAsets out the legislative obligations for tenants and property owners.

If you are a property owner it is recommended you contact the Community Housing Provider who is managing your tenancy to discuss any concerns.

However, if you feel that an issue has not been resolved, please contact the Private Rental Consultant in your region. Private Rental Consultants can be contacted on the phone numbers below:

  • Private Rental Consultant South – Mark Riley (03) 6166 3625
  • Private Rental Consultant North and North West – Carli Geard (03) 6777 1267

What happens if I need to lodge a dispute in regards to the tenant?

Prior to lodging the dispute we suggest contacting the Community Housing Provider who is managing the tenancy to discuss your concerns. If you still wish to proceed with lodging a dispute this must be done as per the RTA. A link has been provided for your convenience (see below).

Can I have a direct lease with the tenant instead of a head lease?

One of the eligibility requirements is to enter into a head lease with a Community Housing Provider and that the property will be available to rent for 12 months.

After the head lease expires you and the tenant may like to sign a new and direct lease. In this event, you will no longer receive financial incentive payments.

What happens if I decide to change my agent/property manager? Can my property stay in the initiative?

Yes, but you will need to notify the Community Housing Provider and advise them of the change.

Can I leave the initiative at any time?

No. As with any fixed term tenancy agreement, the head lease may only be terminated by either party in accordance with the RTA.

What happens if I want to sell my property?

The tenancy will continue in the event that the property is sold during the term of the head lease.

If you have placed your house on the market you must inform the Community Housing Provider and disclose to any potential buyer that there is a head lease in place for a fixed term. Once a contract of sale has been signed you must comply with the notification periods of the RTA. You should also inform the Community Housing Provider the expected settlement date and the contact details of the new owner (or agent).

If settlement occurs before the end of the head lease, you will continue to receive incentive payments under your payment agreement until the property settles. The new owner will then receive any remaining payments and rent.

Why are only 110 properties needed for this initiative?

The initiative will commence with a small number of properties and tenants because it is a pilot. The pilot will be reviewed in 2019.

What happens to the tenant/lease after 12 months?

Pending any decision to extend the initiative beyond the pilot period, participation in the initiative will cease at the end of the 12-month tenancy.

If all parties agree a direct lease, one can be signed between the occupant and the owner at the end of the head lease. You will no longer receive incentive payments under a direct lease.

If the initiative extends beyond the pilot period then extensions to current participants may be negotiated.

How does the incentive payment affect my income/pension and is the incentive taxable?

The incentive payment will be made to property owners (or their agents).

It is recommend that you contact your financial advisor or Centrelink (where applicable) prior to submitting your Property Application Form to discuss how the incentive payment may affect you.

My property wasn’t approved. I thought you needed houses?

Through the pilot it is anticipated that 110 households will be assisted therefore not all suitable properties will be approved. Housing Tasmania will approve properties based on identified demand and need.

Where can I find more information?

A property owner or agent can provide their name, contact, and property details to Housing Tasmania by emailing housing.privaterentals@dhhs.tas.gov.au. They will be contacted when the initiative starts in May.

*What are the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 minimum standards?

The RTA provides the requirements for Minimum Standards for residential rental premises.

For further information see:

Further Information

Further information about Private Rental Incentives is available via the options listed below.

Website: www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/housing.privaterentals

Email: housing.privaterentals@dhhs.tas.gov.au

Phone:  Private Rental Consultant – South (03) 6166 3625

Private Rental Consultant – North and North-West (03) 6777 1267