The purpose of this document is to explain the policy for Rental Fraud. This includes social housing, affordable housing, and transitional housing.
Housing Plus will start a tenancy in accordance with:
Both the client and Housing Plus have rights and obligations under the above Acts, the residential tenancy agreement and this policy.
Term: Tenancy Agreement
Definition: The Residential Tenancies Act 2010(NSW) (the RT Act 2010) defines a residential tenancy agreement as ‘an agreement under which a person grants to another person for value a right of occupation of residential premises for the purpose of use as a residence’ (section 13(1)).
Term: Market Rent
Definition:Market rent is the amount of rent that a real estate agent or landlord would charge each week if the property were rented in the private market.
Term: Rent Subsidy
Definition: A rent subsidy is the difference between the market rent and the rent a tenant pays based on their household’s assessable income and rent assessment rules.
Housing Plus may grant a rent subsidy if a tenant with a low or moderate household income applies for a rent subsidy. The rent subsidy will reduce the amount of money the tenant pays in rent.
The rent subsidy is the difference between the market rent and the rent the tenant pays based on their household’s assessable income. Housing Plus does not pay the rent subsidy to the tenant, but deducts it straight from the market rent.
Housing Plus calculates subsidised rent according to the tenant’s household size, type and gross assessable income. For more information, see the Charging Rent Policy. Tenants who receive a rent subsidy must advise Housing Plus of any changes to their household circumstances within 21 days of the change occurring. They must do this even if they are in the Centrelink Income Confirmation Scheme.
The intent of this policy is to:
Housing has the authority to grant a rent subsidy under the provisions of the Housing Act 2001
A tenant is responsible for showing Housing Plus that they are entitled to receive a rent subsidy. If Housing Plus receives information that a tenant may be receiving a rent subsidy they are not entitled to, it will assess the situation to determine if:
Rent subsidy non-disclosure occurs where a tenant has failed to advise Housing Plus of any change to their household circumstances but has not done so deliberately.
Rent subsidy fraud occurs where:
Where Housing Plus investigates an allegation of rent subsidy non-disclosure, it will apply the principles of procedural fairness. This means that a tenant will:
Where Housing Plus finds that a tenant has received a rent subsidy they are not entitled to, it may take a range of actions, depending on the circumstances. These actions may include cancelling or adjusting rent subsidies, through to termination of the tenancy and/or criminal prosecution. Housing Plus can take these actions under the provisions of the Housing Act 2001 and the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.
A tenant may be receiving a rent subsidy they are not entitled to if they have not told Housing Plus about:
Where Housing Plus receives information that a tenant’s household circumstances may have changed, or may not be correct, and the tenant has not told Housing Plus, it will investigate the matter by:
Where this initial assessment indicates that possible rent subsidy non-disclosure has occurred, Housing Plus will continue to investigate the matter by:
Housing Plus will consider a range of evidence when deciding:
Housing Plus will take into account the following information when deciding whether a tenant’s alleged failure to disclose information about their household circumstances amounts to an unsubstantiated allegation, rent subsidy non-disclosure or possible rent subsidy fraud:
Extenuating or mitigating circumstances may include:
Housing Plus is able to grant, re-assess or cancel rent subsidies in accordance with the provisions of the Housing Act 2001. Housing Plus is able to pursue any debt resulting from a rent subsidy cancellation or re-assessment in accordance with the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.
The Housing Act 2001 prescribes a maximum penalty of 200 penalty units (that is the equivalent of $2,200 at the date of publication of this policy) and/or three months imprisonment for:
Housing Plus will protect the identity of an informant/complainant at all times and cannot disclose information about the informant/complainant without their permission, unless required by law, for example, as part of a criminal proceeding.
In order to protect the tenant’s privacy, Housing Plus will not tell the informant/complainant about the outcome of the investigation.
Where an assessment indicates that possible rent subsidy fraud has occurred, Housing Plus will investigate this with a view to criminal prosecution. The standard procedures for criminal investigations will apply.
Updated – November 2018
Housing Plus is a progressive social enterprise that re-invests ALL profits back into improving social outcomes for individuals and communities in regional NSW. Housing Plus is a registered not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, and is a Tier 1 accredited community housing provider.
Suite 8, Level 2, 113 Byng Street
Orange NSW 2800
PO Box 968 ORANGE NSW 2800
Phone: 1800 603 300
Fax: (02) 6361 1609