Your Rent

Your rent is due each fortnight and must be paid two weeks in advance. If you are experiencing difficulties paying your rent, please contact an Access Housing Debt Recovery Officer as soon as possible on 9534 0425 or email tenantpayments@accesshousing.org.au. Your tenancy may be at risk if you fail to take prompt action.

Our full Eligibility & Rent Setting Policy can be viewed here.  The following information explains how we set and review your rent.

How we calculate your rent

Your household income and assets will determine the rent you pay. Household income is the total gross income of all adults (over 16 years old) who are residing in your home.  There are some Centrelink or Veteran Affairs payments which we do not include when calculating your rent. You can view the list of payments we do not use here.

We have two rent calculation formulas that we use.  The one we use for you depends upon whether your household income and assets meet the criteria for public housing (Band A) or community housing (Band B). You can view the current Income and Assets Limits for public and community housing here.

If you meet the criteria for public housing (Band A) your rent will be calculated using the Very Low-Income formula which is 25% of total gross assessable household income plus 100% Rent Assistance up to the Access Housing Maximum Rent.

If your income and assets exceed the public housing criteria but are within the limits for community housing (Band B), your rent will be calculated using the Low-Income formula which is 30% of total gross assessable household income up to the Access Housing Maximum Rent, plus 100% Rent Assistance, if payable.

Gross income is the amount you receive before tax.

Rent Assistance is paid to you by Centrelink or by Veterans Affairs. When working out your rent, we add the full amount (100%) of rent assistance you are entitled to to calculate your total rent.

Example of a rent calculation for a household on very low-income formula:

The formula for very low income (Band A) is 25% of total gross assessable household income plus 100% Rent Assistance up to the Access Housing Maximum Rent.

A household’s total assessable household income = $1,553.98 per fortnight         

25% of $1,553.98 = $388.50 (this is called the Base Rent)

The household’s Rent Assistance entitlement = $128.00

Base Rent + 100% Rent Assistance = Total Rent
$388.50 + $128.00 = $516.50
_

So, in this example, the total fortnightly rent is calculated to be $516.50.

However, we do not charge more than 74.99% of the current Market Rent, which is the rent you would pay for a property of the same size, type and nearby location if you were renting privately. So, the final rent will either be 25% of total gross assessable household income plus 100% Rent Assistance OR the Maximum Rent, whichever is the lower amount.

In the above example, the current Market Rent for this property
is 
$600 pf. We take 74.99% of this figure so that the Maximum
Rent we 
will charge is $449.94. Therefore, the total fortnightly
rent this
tenant will pay is $449.94.
 

How we review your rent

Once a year we will ask you to complete and return an Eligibility and Rent Review form to ensure that you are still eligible for community housing and are paying the correct rent. On this form you must provide details of who is living in the property and also provide proof of income for everyone over 16 years of age. You may also need to provide us with information regarding your assets.

Generally, the proof of income you need to provide for everyone in the household (over 16 years) is:

Income Type Proof
Centrelink or Veteran Affairs

Income statement not less than 4 weeks old

Wages Consecutive payslips for the past 6 weeks
Self-employed Last financial year’s ATO tax assessment notice

 

You must also include any other income sources you have such as interest on savings, maintenance, overseas pension etc. The evidence we need for these is detailed on the Eligibility and Rent Review form.  If you have difficulty obtaining proof of household income, please contact the Rent Review Officer who sent you the review letter or email review@accesshousing.org.au.

Please note that Centrelink do not automatically notify us of any changes to your Centrelink payment, so we will always need you to provide your current Income Statement. We are approved by Centrelink to offer their customers the Centrelink Confirmation eServices (CCeS) – Income Confirmation service. If you choose to use this free, confidential service you can authorise Centrelink to provide your income details directly to us. This means that we can carry out your eligibility and rent review without you having to obtain an Income Statement from Centrelink yourself.

Some housing programs we manage require you to provide additional information, such as 12 months proof of income.  If you need to do this, we will advise you of what proof you must provide in your rent review letter.

You will need to sign and return the Eligibility and Rent Review form and proof of household income by the date printed on the form. If you don’t do this, we will not be able to confirm that you are still eligible for community housing or calculate your rent according to your household income. If this happens, your rent may increase to Market Rent. In this case, you will need to find alternative housing. It is very important that you return the form promptly. If you are experiencing difficulties with the form, providing proof of income or the timeframe, please contact the Rent Review Officer on the letter or email review@accesshousing.org.au as soon as possible.

If we need to ask you for more information, we will automatically extend the return date.

In addition to the annual review, we will also re-assess your eligibility and rent if your household income increases or decreases or someone moves in or out of your home. You must notify us within 14 days of any occupancy or change in income over $50 per fortnight.

 

How we notify you of your new rent

We will always notify you in writing of your new rent. Your letter will:

  • Confirm your continued eligibility for affordable housing
  • Tell you what your rent calculation formula is, and if it has changed
  • What your new rent is and whether your rent has increased, decreased, varied or remained the same
  • The date your new rent starts
  • How much rent assistance is included in the calculation

Please contact the Rent Review Officer who sent you your advice letter or email review@accesshousing.org.au if you think your new rent is incorrect.

If you are a Centrelink customer, you can use the Electronic Verification of Rent (EVoR) to give us authorisation to let Centrelink know if your rent has changed, so you don’t have to complete a rent certificate and you will automatically receive the correct amount of rent assistance. This service is free, and you can withdraw your authorisation at any time.

 

Rent changes

Your rent is calculated according to your household income and can increase, decrease, vary or remain the same.

A rent variation is when your rent calculation formula does not change, but your rent increases because your household income has increased. You will receive 15 days’ notice of a rent variation.

  • Example: A tenant’s rent is calculated according to the Very Low-Income formula. The tenant’s partner moves in and the household income increases. The income is still within the Very Low-income formula, so the rent calculation formula stays the same, but the increased income means the amount of rent they pay increases. The tenant receives 15 days’ notice of the rent variation.

 

A rent increase is when your rent calculation formula has changed, or when your household income stays the same, but the Market Rent has increased. You will receive 60 days’ notice of a rent increase.

  • Example: A couple’s rent is calculated according to the Very Low-Income formula. One of the tenants starts full time work and the household income increases. They no longer meet the public housing criteria but still meet the community housing criteria. The rent calculation is changed from the Very Low formula to the Low-Income formula and the increase in household income means an increase in rent. They receive 60 days’ notice of the rent increase.  
  • Example: A tenant’s rent is calculated according to the Very Low-Income formula. Their household income has not changed but the market rent figure has increased, which increases the rent. The tenant receives 60 days’ notice of the rent increase.

 

Rent decreases can be due to a rent variation or a change in the rent calculation formula. Decreases in rent due to a household change start from the date you notify us. Decreases caused by a decrease in Market Rent at the time of an Annual Review will be effective from the anniversary date of the review.

  • Example: A tenant’s rent is calculated according to the Very Low-Income formula. Their working hours are reduced by their employer and their income decreases. The tenant remains on the same rent calculation formula and, because their income has decreased, the rent decreases. The new rent will start from the date they notified us of their new wage.
  • Example: A tenant’s annual review is due on the 1st March. The tenant’s household income has not changed, but when the review is processed, the rent decreases because Market Rent has decreased.  The new rent will start from the 1st March.
 

Paying your rent

You can pay your rent by BPAY, internet banking or by making an EFTPOS payment at any Access Housing office.

If you are a Centrelink customer, you can set up Centrepay Deductions, so your rent is paid directly to us each fortnight. You can also give permission for us to change your Centrepay deduction if your rent changes. We will always tell you if we have made any change to your deduction.

Centrepay deduction is a free service and you can cancel your authorisation at any time but please remember if you do so, you must make alternative arrangements to pay your rent.