Public, community and affordable housing
Tenants in public and community housing have raised a number of questions relating specifically to their housing situation during the COVID-19 crisis.
DCJ Housing, Community Housing Providers and Specialist Homelessness Services have information on the Communities and Justice website here.
The information includes:
- details for a range of support services,
- a copy of the letter and factsheet sent to all public housing and Aboriginal Housing tenants in NSW
- information about home visits
- information about property maintenance and additional cleaning.
- Will my rent go up due to increasing social support payments?
Renters in public and community housing have expressed concern that their rent may increase because pensioner and other income support payments are being increased. There are two payments, the Economic Support payments of $750 and Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight. These two payments are not assessable for calculating rents in public and community housing. So, your rent should not be increased. You can look up the new list of what income is assessable on the DCJ Housing website here.
- Can I be evicted?
Tenants in social housing, such as public and community housing are not protected by the eviction moratorium.
What happens if am behind in my rent?
Rents are set as a percentage of your income, so if someone in your household has lost their income you should immediately ask the landlord to reassess your rent.
If you live in public housing, either the Department of Communities and Justice or the Aboriginal Housing Office, the Minister has directed the Department not to proceed with rent arrears evictions so long as the you agree to a modest repayment plan and go onto the Rental Deduction Scheme (RDS). If you have concerns about how the arrears was calculated, make sure to seek advice from your local Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service.
If you are in community housing and are worried you have an arrears debt get in touch with your provider and ask to negotiate a repayment plan.
What about other reasons?
See our Factsheet 10: Landlord ends agreement
- Cleaning and maintenance
DCJ Housing reports they are increasing their common area cleaning programs in multi-unit and high-rise building complexes in the inner city of Sydney.
In apartment buildings with lifts there should be a cleaner who undertakes cleaning of lifts every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm, every day. If you think this is supposed to be occurring in your area but it is not we suggest reporting this to the Housing contact centre on 1800 422 322.
- What if I live in 'affordable housing'?
If you live in affordable housing you may be covered by the changed eviction rules. It depends whether or not the landlord is a social housing provider. In other words, is the landlord a community housing provider or is the landlord a private landlord who is receiving a rebate to provide a lower rent? Check your written residential tenancy agreement or ask for a copy. The landlord's name will be on the front of the agreement.
If the landlord is a social housing provider, and they either own the property or are head-leasing it from the owner, then you are not covered by the rules and the protection against evictions.
If your property is owned by a person or a company that is not a social housing provider and instead a social housing provider is managing the property for them, then you are covered by the rules.