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Department of Human Services

Rent policy

This policy sets out how Housing SA calculates and charges rent for public and Aboriginal housing properties.

This policy doesn’t apply to:

  • Pathways Housing Program tenancies
  • housing in Aboriginal Communities managed by Housing SA
  • properties leased to another agency
  • joint venture properties.

Rent is charged every Saturday, and is paid in line with the Customer payment options and Income Management policy.

Unpaid rent becomes a debt the tenant owes to Housing SA in line with the Debt policy.

Tenant responsibilities

The tenant is the person who signed the lease agreement, also known as the Conditions of Tenancy, with Housing SA.

Tenants are responsible for:

  • paying rent at least one week in advance
  • telling Housing SA about any change to their household or household income in writing within 14 days
  • providing evidence of their household or a household member’s income when asked by Housing SA
  • providing proof of a caring arrangement when asked by Housing SA
  • paying rent until the end of their lease agreement.

Types of rent

Market rent

Market rent is the maximum amount of rent that can be charged for a public or Aboriginal housing property. Market rents are based on information provided by the State Valuer General, taking into account the location, age, size and condition of the property.

Market rents are reviewed each year.

Tenants are charged market rent if either:

  • they don’t apply or aren’t eligible for a subsidised rent
  • they don’t provide proof of income when asked to do so by Housing SA
  • someone in the household owns or partly owns residential property, and Housing SA decides to charge market rent.

If the State Valuer General’s annual review increases the property’s rental value, the market rent increases incrementally once every six months by either:

  • $10 per week, if the tenant rents public housing
  • $5 per week, if the tenant rents Aboriginal housing.

If the State Valuer General’s annual review decreases the property’s rental value, the market rent remains the same.

If the State Valuer General decreases a property’s market rent because of an error - eg the assessment was based on incorrect property details, the market rent may be decreased.

Subsidised rent

Subsidised rent is no more than 25% of the tenant’s total assessable household income before tax.

Tenants can apply for a subsidised rent.

They are eligible for a subsidised rent if the market rent is more than 25% of their total assessable household income before tax.

Subsidised rents are reviewed twice a year, and whenever a tenant’s household income changes.

Calculating rent

Adults

An adult is someone aged 21 and over, and 25% of their assessable income before tax is used to calculate rent.

If the tenant is aged 20 or younger, they are considered to be an adult.

Children

A child is someone aged 20 or younger.

If the child is in the legal custody or guardianship of the tenant or their partner, 15% of the below income before tax is used to calculate rent:

  • Family Tax Benefit payments
  • child support maintenance received by the tenant or their partner
  • any income received by children aged 18 to 20.

Income received by children in the legal custody or guardianship of the tenant or their partner aged 16 or 17 isn’t included when calculating rent.

If the tenant rents Aboriginal housing, anyone in the household aged 16 to 20 is treated as a child in the legal custody or guardianship of the tenant or their partner when calculating rent.

If there are other children in the household who aren’t in the legal custody or guardianship of the tenant or their partner, 25% of the income before tax received for or by them is used to calculate rent.

Fluctuating income

If someone in the household has a fluctuating income - eg casual wages, their total assessable income before tax is averaged across 12 weeks.

Adults with minimal or no income

If an adult in the household has minimal or no income, Housing SA calculates rent based on the maximum amount of income they’d otherwise be eligible for from Centrelink.

If someone in the household other than the tenant is a sponsored migrant, rent is calculated based on any income they receive, not the income they’d otherwise be eligible for from Centrelink.

Very low household income

If the total assessable household income before tax is less than Centrelink’s single Newstart Allowance rate, calculate rent based on 19.5% of the total assessable household income before tax.

Carers

Income received by a carer isn’t included when calculating rent if they meet all of the below conditions:

  • they live in the property
  • they aren’t the tenant or the tenant’s partner
  • they provide constant care to the tenant
  • they provide proof of the caring arrangement to Housing SA.

Only one person in the household is considered to be caring for the tenant when calculating rent.

Proof of the caring arrangement is either:

  • a letter from a health professional stating who’s providing care, who’s receiving care, and confirming the carer provides constant care
  • a completed Care provider authority form and Care receiver authority form if the tenant and carer both receive an income from Centrelink.

Housing SA may ask for proof of the caring arrangement at any time.

Cottage flats

From 20 October 2018 subsidised rent in cottage flats increase from:

  • 19% of the tenant’s total assessable household income before tax for a bedsit flat with no separate bedroom
  • 21% of the tenant’s total assessable household income before tax for a one bedroom flat.

Rents increase by:

  • 1.5% of the tenant’s total assessable household income before tax, in November 2018 and November 2019
  • 1% of the tenant’s total assessable household income before tax twice a year in line with subsidised rent reviews from late 2020 to late 2021.

Increases occur until the subsidised rent in the cottage flat is 25% of the tenant’s total assessable household income before tax.

Increases won’t be more than $10 per week, unless there is a change in the tenant’s household income.

If there is a change in the tenant’s household income, rent is assessed at the rate that applied at the most recent increase.

Progressive Purchase Scheme

Rent calculations for tenants participating in the Progressive Purchase Scheme are based on:

  • the total assessable household income before tax
  • the portion of the property they’ve purchased
  • Housing SA’s reduced maintenance responsibility.

Missing, false or incorrect information

Housing SA investigates if it suspects a tenant has withheld, or provided incorrect or false information about their household or household income.

If a tenant receives a subsidised rent based on missing, incorrect or false information, their rent is immediately recalculated. They are charged the difference between the subsidised rent they were paying, and the correct amount of rent they should have been paying for the period of time they were incorrectly charged.

Housing SA may also:

Related information

Controlling documents

This policy is based on and complies with:

Supporting guidelines

  • Rent procedures v1
  • Income Confirmation Service procedures v1

Related policies and other documents

Date this policy applies from

19 October 2018

Version number

1

The online version of the policy is the approved and current version. There is no guarantee that any printed copies are current.

State Government of South Australia © Copyright DHS .


Provided by:
SA Department for Human Services
URL:
https://dhs.sa.gov.au/services/sa-housing-authority/housing-policies/rent-debt-and-charges/rent-policy
Last Updated:
05 Jul 2018
Printed on:
12 Dec 2018
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