Rent Management Policy
Our rental calculations are based on the Housing NSW Rent Policy. Please refer to the Housing NSW website for further information – www.housing.nsw.gov.au.
Rent Review and Rent Increase Policy
Metro conducts a review of all Tenants’ income every six months to confirm continued eligibility for rent subsidy (where applicable) and to assess the rent payable.
Rent reviews are currently undertaken in January and July and the correspondence sent to tenants gives 60 days notice that (subject to any changes in their income) rent increases will take affect in March and September.
In circumstances where tenants have fluctuating incomes, Metro will conduct more regular review (see below).
It is a condition of their tenancy with Metro that tenants must advise the Co-op within fourteen days of any changes to their income. Failure to advise the Co-operative of any increases in income may risk an ongoing tenancy.
If the Co-op becomes aware of a change in the circumstances of a tenant, we will request updated income information from that tenant between the official rent review periods. The same process for assessing rent increases will apply (ie 60 days from date new income commenced if income increases; immediate reduction in rent if income decreases).
In circumstances where a tenant has failed to advise Metro of an increase in their income, then the rent increase applicable will be backdated to commence 60 days after the tenant’s income has increased.
Where a tenant has been given notice of an increase of their rent to market rent because they have failed to provide documentation to allow us to assess their eligibility for a rental subsidy, and they subsequently supply proof of income, the assessed rent will take effect from the date the income statements are supplied.
A tenant may apply to the Disputes Committee to waive or vary rent payable for a period in special circumstances. Tenants also have the right to external review through the Housing Appeals Committee if they remain dissatisfied with the outcome of any internal review.
Tenants who have fluctuating incomes because they work on a casual or sessional basis, will be required to submit income details on a quarterly basis if their income varies by more than 20% from week to week. Income assessments will be based on an averaging over the 13 week period.
Rent Review Process
Twice a year tenants are required to supply current information about their household income. The process is as follows:
- All tenants (except those who have supplied income information in the previous 6 weeks) will be sent a dated Income Review letter stating that they must supply evidence of the income of all the people in their household by a set date of or market rent will be charged.
- Tenants must supply written verification of all income sources. Generally the Income Statement for Housing Authorities form provided by Centrelink is sufficient proof of income for tenants who are in receipt of a full or part Commonwealth pension/benefit or allowances (such as Family Tax Benefit). Tenants may elect to sign an Income Confirmation Scheme consent form which allows Metro to check their Centrelink Income statements on-line.
- Tenants who are employed will be required to have their employer sign an Employer’s declaration stating their income for the previous 26 weeks. Alternately they can provide official employer issued wages slips which show their Year to Date Income details.
- Where the tenant is self-employed they need to supply a copy of their most recent taxation return or profit and loss statement (as outlined in the Housing NSW rent assessment policy).
The letter send to tenants advising that the rent review is being conducted, will specify the final date when the income evidence must be supplied and the date that rent will change (60 days from the date of the letter).
- The letter will state the market rent that will be charged if current income evidence is not supplied.
- A translated ‘important letter’ form will be attached for tenants who may have difficulty understanding English.
- A photocopy of the letter is kept in the dated rent review file.
- No later than one month after sending the rent review letter a follow up letter is sent to any tenants that have not replied.
- When information is received, the new rent is calculated using the Rent Calculation form on the tenant management system database. This is based on the current Housing NSW Income Policy which assesses the following payments for rent assessment purposes:
- 25% of Income – this includes Commonwealth Pensions or Benefits; Wages (including Worker’s Compensation payments); Maintenance payments or Investment income.
- 15% of Family Tax Benefit A and B.
- 100% of Commonwealth Rent Assistance (please note that tenants already housed by Community Housing Associations as at 1 July 2008 will have CRA contributions increased from 25% at a rate no greater than $10.00 per week per annum until they reach the full 100%).
- A copy of the rent assessment calculations and advice on the new rent start date is sent to the tenant within 7 days, and the ‘new rent’ letter, copies of the income statements and the rent calculation form are filed in the tenant’s file (Income & Rent Review section)
- Tenants who are seeking rebated rents who do not provide income statements or other documentation confirming their incomes by the due date will be charged market rent as from the rent change date (ie 60 days after the rent review request letters are sent).
- If tenants subsequently provide income statements in support of a request for rent to be rebated the rebated rent will be assessed from the date the documents are provided.
The market rent is stated on all residential tenancy agreements. This means that rent can increase or decrease during the period of the fixed term agreement, as long as the amount is not greater than the market rent.
If income has decreased the new rent will take effect from the date the information is supplied (e.g. if a tenant brings an Income Statement dated May 8 showing reduced income the rent reduction would be backdated to that date). If tenants’ income increases between rent review periods they are required to notify us within seven days but the new rent will not take effect for 60 days.