Private Rental Incentives - Information for Applicants and Tenants

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Private Rental Incentives (Pilot Program)

Information for Applicants and Tenants

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What is the Private Rental Incentive program?

The Private Rental Incentives program is a new way we are helping low income Tasmanians access affordable private rental properties.

12 month leases will be offered under this program at guaranteed, affordable rental prices in locations that are convenient for you.

Under this program, you will sign a lease with the Community Housing Provider operating in your region. You won’t enter a direct lease with the property owner.

The Community Housing Provider will be your tenancy manager and will assist you throughout your tenancy.

Properties are being made available for all types of people – singles, couples and families, all across Tasmania.

The program is starting with a target of 110 properties across Tasmania by June 2019.

Applications for the program opened in May 2018.

Who is eligible for the program?

We know that affordable private rentals might not be the best housing option for everyone.

To be eligible for the program you need to be:

  • 18 years or older
  • able to afford the rent and meet income thresholds
  • able to live independently (with little to no support); and
  • able to look after the property

If you have lived in social housing before (either with Housing Tasmania or a Community Housing Provider in Tasmania), your tenancy history may be reviewed to help make the decision about whether this program is the best fit for you.

If you have a tenancy history with substantial rental arrears, property damage or anti-social behaviour you will not be considered suitable for this program.

What sort of properties will be available under this program?

Properties accepted to be part of this program will:

  • Be close to health services, regular and easily accessible public transport, shops and grocery stores
  • Meet minimum standards as per the Residential Tenancy Act 1997
  • Be available to rent for a minimum of 12 months with the option of extension
  • Meet the demands of applicants in terms of affordability, property type, size and location

We will choose properties that are in high demand by our applicants.

What rent will I have to pay?

Maximum weekly rents are set for properties involved in this program. The weekly rent amount will not change during the 12 month lease.

Maximum weekly rent has been set at 20 per cent below the median market rent based on the size and location of the property.

This is considered to be the maximum amount affordable for low income earners.

Rent may be negotiated with the owner but must not be higher than the maximum and must take into consideration the intent of ongoing affordability for the tenant.

The Maximum Capped Weekly Rents are outlined in the table below:

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

What is expected of me as a tenant?

Just like renting any property in the private rental market, you are expected to pay your rent on time, look after the property by keeping it clean and undamaged, and be a good neighbour.

A failure to do this may result in termination of your lease (in accordance with the Residential Tenancy Act 1997).

You need to be able to pay for your water and electricity usage.

You will be responsible for any tenant damage to the property.

Maintenance will be carried out in accordance with the Residential Tenancy Act 1997.

What happens to my lease after 12 months?

Under the program, standard 12 month leases are offered.

As in the private rental market normally, a decision to renew your lease can happen if both you and the property owner want to do that.

A new lease after the first 12 months would then be a direct lease between you and the property owner. The Community Housing Provider is only involved for the first 12 months (during the pilot).

Speaking with your Community Housing Provider and property owner through the period of your lease about this is recommended so you have plenty of time to consider other options if a lease renewal isn’t going to happen.

If the program continues after June 2019, then extensions to current participants may be negotiated.

How do I apply for this program?

To apply for this program, please contact Housing Connect to discuss your eligibility and complete and application.

People who meet the eligibility criteria and are on the existing social housing waitlist were contacted in May 2018 and invited to apply for the program.

These people were asked to contact Housing Connect to complete the application process.

If you think you might be suitable and either did not receive an invitation, or are not currently on the housing waitlist please contact Housing Connect on 1800 800 588 to go through the application process and find out if you are eligible.

I am on the Housing Register. Why do I have to complete another assessment with Housing Connect?

This program is about increasing the housing options available to you. It will assist you to find a private rental property rather than social housing.

We need to be able to make sure that this program is right for you.

We need to make sure all of your details are correct and we know exactly what type of property in what type of location you are looking for.

I am not on the Housing Register but I am a low income earner/Centrelink recipient and am struggling to find an affordable rental. Can I apply for housing through this program?

Yes. Please contact Housing Connect on 1800 800 588 to discuss your eligibility and to go through the application process.

I am a current tenant struggling to pay my rent. Can my owner or agent list the property I’m in for the program and lower my rent?

No. Existing tenancies are not eligible for the initiative.

I’m concerned my owner will end my tenancy so they can access this program. Can this happen?

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

Housing Tasmania carry out checks to make sure properties approved for this program don’t already have tenants in them.

I live in an affordable rental now, but my lease is about to expire. Can the owner choose not to renew my lease so they can include the property in this program?

Owners are allowed to not renew a lease at the end of a lease term date. They may do this for many reasons.

The program is about increasing choice for tenants in the private rental market. Properties that are already being rented affordably won’t be approved under this program.

What happens if I unreasonably reject a property that is offered to me through this program?

If you unreasonably reject a property offered under this initiative that meets the preferences you chose in your application your application for the program may be cancelled.

This cancellation will not impact the status of any other social housing applications you may have.

What happens to my social housing application if I accept a property under this program?

If you accept a property offered to you under this program and you also have an active Social Housing Application, then your Social Housing application will be cancelled as you will be securely housed.

You are encouraged to speak regularly with your tenancy manager to work out whether you and the property owner are happy to renew your lease at the end of the 12 months. If a lease renewal isn’t going to happen, get in contact with Housing Connect early so you can consider other options.

Do I pay a bond?

Yes you will be asked to pay a bond. If you need assistance to pay this bond you are still eligible to apply for Private Rental Assistance through Housing Connect.

Will I be eligible for Private Rental Assistance?

Yes. You will be able to apply for Private Rental Assistance if accepting housing through this program. Housing Connect can provide you with further information.

As well as assistance with bond and rent in advance payments, private rental assistance can help with rental arrears, removals assistance and starter packs for new tenancies.

Will I get Commonwealth Rent Assistance?

Yes, if you are eligible for it. You need to contact Centrelink to discuss your eligibility, or check their website.

Who do I contact if there is an issue during my lease?

Contact your Community Housing Provider to discuss any concerns about the property or tenancy as a first step.

The following information may also help:

What are Community Housing Providers?

Community Housing Providers work with Housing Connect and Housing Tasmania to provide safe and affordable homes through various programs.

Community Housing Providers manage over 4 000 properties in Tasmania.

Our Community Housing Providers are registered and experienced tenancy managers.

Under this program owners will sign a head lease with a Community Housing Provider, and the tenant will sign a sub-lease with the Community Housing Provider.

Further Information:

Housing Connect : 1800 800 588

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

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