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Probationary and fixed term lease agreements policy
- The purpose of this policy
- Exceptions to this policy
- Probationary lease agreements
- Fixed term lease agreements
- Reviewing lease agreements
The purpose of this policy
This policy explains the lease system, and sets out how and when Housing SA:
- will offer a customer a probationary lease agreement
- will offer a fixed term lease agreement to a tenant
- reviews, renews or terminates probationary and fixed term lease agreements.
Housing SA lease agreements are also known as Conditions of Tenancy. Any customer allocated a South Australian Housing Trust (SAHT) property signs a lease agreement that lists the conditions that apply to the tenancy. The person who signs the lease agreement is the tenant. The tenant must keep all the conditions in order to continue living in a SAHT property.
Exceptions to this policy
This policy doesn't apply to tenants housed in the following programs:
- Homelessness Supportive Housing
- Direct Lease Youth Priority Program
- Short Term Housing Program
- Pathways Housing Program.
The policy doesn't apply to tenants with a periodic or ongoing lease agreement that began before 1 October 2010, including:
- transfers, except if they are transferred in line with the Disruptive behaviour policy
- tenant exchanges
- same address transfers to a partner
- transfers initiated by SAHT, also known as relocations.
Probationary lease agreements
All new Housing SA tenancies begin with tenants placed on a 12 month probationary lease agreement.
During the probationary lease agreement, Housing SA will:
- support and help new tenants to understand their rights and responsibilities under their lease agreement
- identify when tenants need extra support and refer them to the right supports and services
- focus on prevention and early intervention strategies to help tenants keep tenancies.
The probationary lease agreement will give tenants an opportunity to:
- engage with the supports and services Housing SA refers them to
- develop the skills and information needed to increase the chances of maintaining successful tenancies.
If tenants show they can keep the conditions of their lease agreement, they are offered a fixed term lease agreement.
Tenants who continually or significantly fail to meet the conditions of their lease agreement won't be offered a fixed term lease agreement.
Probationary lease extension
Tenants may be offered a probationary lease extension of 12 months:
- to address any further support issues
- if tenant has some issues with keeping the conditions of their lease agreement that aren't continuous or significant.
Towards the end of the probationary lease extension, but before it expires, Housing SA will review the tenancy. Depending on the outcome of the review, Housing SA may:
- not offer the tenant another lease agreement with Housing SA
- offer the tenant a one year fixed term lease agreement, as they aren't eligible for a longer lease agreement.
Fixed term lease agreements
If the tenant shows they can meet the conditions of their lease agreement, they are offered a fixed term lease agreement.
Fixed term lease agreements can be for a period of 1, 2, 5 or 10 years.
One year fixed term lease agreement
Offered to tenants who either:
- had a probationary lease extension
- weren't meeting the conditions of their fixed term lease agreement at the time their lease was reviewed.
Two year fixed term lease agreement
Offered to tenants who are able to meet the conditions of their one year fixed term lease agreement.
Five year fixed term lease agreement
Offered to tenants who either:
- complete a probationary lease agreement with no or only minor issues
- meet the conditions of their two year fixed term lease agreement.
Ten year lease agreement
This lease agreement is only for tenants who met the conditions of their lease agreement, and meet one of the below:
- they are aged 65 or over, or 45 and over for people of Aboriginal and/ or Torres Strait Islander descent, either on or before the end date of their current lease agreement
- they, or a member of their household, have a verified long-term disability or medical condition.
Verifying long-term disability and medical conditions
Tenants must be able to verify that they, or a member of their household, has a long-term disability or medical condition.
This can include proof that the tenant or a member of their household:
- receives the Disability Support Pension from Centrelink
- receives either the special or intermediate rate of a Disability Pension from the Department of Veterans' Affairs
- receives a Carer Pension from Centrelink, the person they care for doesn't have to live at the property
- receives support from someone who receives either the Carer Payment or Carer Allowance from Centrelink, the carer doesn't have to live at the property
- is housed in a Mental Health Supported Social Housing property.
Reviewing lease agreements
Housing SA reviews lease agreements to determine what happens next - eg determining if the tenant is eligible for a five year fixed term lease agreement.
These reviews happen towards the end of a lease agreement, but before it expires.
When reviewing a lease agreement Housing SA considers if the tenant has met the conditions of the lease agreement. This includes assessing if the tenant:
- has paid rent and any other charges - eg water charges
- has a debt to Housing SA that they are repaying regularly
- has had complaints of disruptive behaviour as outlined in the Disruptive behaviour policy
- is maintaining the property, including outside areas
- is receiving assistance and services they aren't eligible for - eg subletting the property without Housing SA's permission, wrongly paying a reduced rent
- isn't using, or allowing the property to be used, for illegal purposes
- doesn't own or partly own any residential property.
The first review of a probationary lease agreement, known as a support visit, happens six months after the tenant signs the lease agreement. Housing SA will organise to visit the tenant at their home. During this visit Housing SA will:
- discuss any issues the tenant may have in meeting the conditions of their lease agreement
- give the tenant the chance to talk about any concerns they might have about their tenancy
- identify when tenants need further support and refer them to appropriate supports and services
- inspect the property in line with the Home visit policy.
If the tenant is offered a probationary lease extension, another support visit will take place 18 months after they first started the original probationary lease.
Related laws, policies and documents
This policy is based on and complies with:
- Probationary and fixed term lease agreements guidelines v 1
Related policies and other documents
Date this policy applies from
30 March 2016
The online version of the policy is the approved and current version. There is no guarantee that any printed copies are current.