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Changing a Tenancy Policy

Policy Last Amended: 4 July 2014

 

1. Background

Housing NSW tenancies may change for a number of reasons, including:

  • Housing NSW relocates a tenant to another property for management purposes (also called a management initiated transfer).
  • Mutual exchange with another tenant.
  • The original tenant dies or leaves the household as a result of being imprisoned or for health reasons.

The intent of this policy is to explain the criteria for changing a Housing NSW managed tenancy based on each of the reasons above. The Tenancy Policy Supplement provides further information to support this document.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all tenancies managed by Housing NSW, including Aboriginal Housing Office tenancies.

 

This policy does not apply to tenant initiated requests to transfer to another property for example due to:

  • needing a larger or smaller property,
  • needing a property with different characteristics
  • breakdown of the household or family.

Information about tenant initiated requests for transfer is contained in the Housing Pathways Transfer Policy.

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3. Policy statement

Housing NSW will change tenancies in accordance with:

  • The Housing Act 2001
  • Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and Regulations
  • The terms of the residential tenancy agreement
  • Where relevant, Housing NSW policies.

Both the tenant and Housing NSW have rights and obligations under the above Acts, the residential tenancy agreement and, where relevant, Housing NSW policies.

Relocating tenants for management purposes

As a social housing landlord, Housing NSW has the right to ask any tenant to relocate to another suitable property, identified by Housing NSW, that:

  • Meets the tenant's known housing and locational needs, and
  • Allows continued access to services, and
  • Supports the creation of a successful and sustainable tenancy in the new location.

Housing NSW will only require a tenant to relocate for valid reasons related to the management of a tenancy or the property portfolio. For more information, go to Relocations for portfolio management purposes and Relocations for tenancy management purposes.

 

Relocations will apply to any tenant asked by Housing NSW to relocate for management purposes, including a tenant who:

  • Has been approved for a transfer
  • Is seeking a mutual exchange
  • Has a household income that is over the social housing entry eligibility limit. For more information, go to Income eligibility limits.

If necessary, Housing NSW will enforce its right to relocate a tenant to another suitable location by taking termination action through the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Aboriginal Housing Office tenants subject to relocation

Housing NSW, as managing agent for the Aboriginal Housing Office, will consult with the relevant Regional Manager of the Aboriginal Housing Office to ensure that affiliation with family and land is supported for Aboriginal Housing Office tenants being relocated for the following reasons:

  • Redevelopment/Sale of Property
  • Underoccupancy
  • Serious anti-social behaviour.

Relocation from a Housing NSW complex that is designated as a Senior Communities complex

When Housing NSW designates a complex as a Senior Communities complex, tenants who are 54 years and younger (44 years if Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander) can relocate to appropriate alternative accommodation within the first six months of the complex being designated as Senior Communities. For more information, go to Relocation of younger tenants from Senior Communities properties.

Large-scale relocations of whole communities managed by Housing NSW

Sometimes Housing NSW will undertake large-scale relocations of whole communities, or public housing areas. In this situation, Housing NSW may appoint a project team to manage the relocation process.

 

When undertaking a larger scale relocations project, Housing NSW may decide to set up a community reference group or hold community forums to provide information. Housing NSW will make a decision to set up a group or forum after considering relevant factors such as the scale or complexity of the relocation process, the appropriateness of other available communication or feedback options and the level of interest from members of the community affected by the relocation.

 

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My Property Choice – Millers Point

 

Tenants who are relocating from Millers Point may make use of a choice-based letting system called My Property Choice.

 

Under this approach, tenants are able to view vacant properties which match their entitlement in any location and decide whether to bid for them. There are open house viewings for the properties and a set time limit to put in a bid. If there is more than one bidder, names are drawn in a ballot.

 

My Property Choice is an additional option to give people some level of choice and supplements the traditional approach to the offer of vacant properties to applicants.

 

Unsuccessful bids for properties under this process will not count as a formal offer of a property under the two offer policy of alternative accommodation for relocating tenants. An offer only becomes a formal offer, once the tenant has been advised that their bid has been successful and agrees to sign a tenancy agreement. Once the offer is accepted the tenant will be required to sign the tenancy agreement within 24 hours.

 

My Property Choice does not apply to all properties. It does not, for example, apply to properties which have particular features such as a modified property or to properties which are under consideration by a tenant or client as part of the normal allocations process.

 

No aspect of the My Property Choice process is appealable. For more information regarding appeal rights, go to the Client Service Delivery and Appeals Policy.

Relocation from a property that is being redeveloped

In a situation where Housing NSW relocates a tenant from a property that will be redeveloped to provide social housing, the tenant can express their interest in returning to live at the site after the redevelopment is complete. This would mean relocating the tenant while the redevelopment project is undertaken and then a second relocation to return them to the site when it is complete.

 

Housing NSW will consider requests from tenants to return after the property redevelopment is complete on a case-by-case basis. Housing NSW will consider the tenant's housing needs when making its decision. For more information, go to Eligible to request to return to a property after redevelopment and Approval to return to a property after redevelopment.

What areas can Housing NSW relocate a tenant to?

Relocating tenants are able to nominate the area they would like to move to. Housing NSW will approve this area unless there are compelling policy or operational reasons to decline the tenant's nomination. For more information, go to Restriction and approval of rehousing location.

How will a tenant be relocated?

When Housing NSW relocates a tenant it will:

  • Tell the tenant about the relocation
  • Interview the tenant to find out their housing and relocation needs
  • Give the tenant an individual relocation statement outlining their relocation entitlements
  • Confirm that information about the tenant's housing needs is up to date
  • Offer alternative housing to the tenant. Most tenants will receive two reasonable offers of alternative accommodation; however, in some circumstances a tenant may only receive one offer. For more information, go to Relocation offers
  • Make final arrangements for the tenant to sign a new tenancy agreement when they accept an offer of alternative housing
  • Issue a Notice of Intent to Issue a Notice of Termination if the tenant rejects all reasonable offers of alternative housing and, where necessary, issue a Notice of Termination and apply for termination of the tenancy at the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

For more information, go to The relocation process.

Assistance with the relocation process

Housing NSW will provide practical assistance to relocating public housing tenants where it is appropriate and necessary for helping the tenant and their household to relocate.

 

Housing NSW will assess each tenant's situation on a case-by-case basis and make a decision based on the individual circumstances of the tenant. Housing NSW's aim is to help the tenant establish a tenancy in the new location that is likely to be successful and sustainable. Also, where the tenant has brought additional amenity to their current property, Housing NSW will consider transferring this level of amenity to the new property. If a Housing NSW tenant is relocating to a property managed by a community housing provider, any transfer of amenity to the new property will be negotiated with the community housing provider on an individual case-by-case basis. For more information, go to Assistance with the relocation process.

 

Housing NSW will also work with the tenant to identify any support services that they may require in the new area, make appropriate referrals to those agencies and encourage the tenant to follow up on referrals.

Number of offers for a tenant relocating for management purposes

Housing NSW tenants who are being relocated for management purposes will, in most cases, receive two offers of alternative accommodation. In exceptional circumstances, Housing NSW may decide that it will make one offer of alternative housing to its relocating tenants.

Rejection of reasonable offers for relocation

If a Housing NSW tenant rejects all reasonable offers of alternative social housing, Housing NSW will undertake a final check to confirm that the offer(s) made to the tenant took into account all of their known housing needs and were consistent with the entitlements set out in the tenant's individual relocation statement. For more information on reasonable offers, go to the Matching and Offering a Property to a Client Policy.

 

If a Housing NSW tenant is under-occupying their property and rejects all reasonable offers of alternative social housing, a Vacant Bedroom Charge will be applied to their tenancy by adjusting the tenant’s rent subsidy. For more information on Applying a Vacant Bedroom Charge, go to the Charging Rent Policy.

 

Housing NSW has the legal right to terminate a tenancy on the grounds that it has made an offer of alternative social housing. This legal right is set out in Section 148 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

 

The processes that Housing NSW is legally required to follow when relying on Section 148 to terminate a tenancy, including the review processes, are set out in Sections 149 and 150 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

 

Section 149 also requires the Minister for Housing to publish procedures for reviews under Section 149 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

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Reviewing an approved relocation for management purposes

To ensure that a relocation continues to reflect the tenant's current housing situation, Housing NSW will coordinate a review of relocations for management purposes:

  • Every six months, or
  • When new information from either the tenant or Housing NSW prompts a review.

Following a review, Housing NSW may change the priority of a relocation for management purposes to take account of any differences in the level of urgency of the tenant's circumstances.

 

Housing NSW will undertake an assessment of the degree of urgency when it must move a tenant being relocated for management purposes as a matter of urgency.

Type and Length of Lease

Where Housing NSW relocates a tenant to a property managed by a community housing provider and also approves that tenant to return to public housing as part of the same relocation process, Housing NSW will offer them the same type of lease as their previous public housing lease.

 

Housing NSW offers leases of different types and lengths after a change of tenancy, depending on a client's circumstances. For more information, go to Tenancy Policy Supplement - Changing a tenancy – Type and length of lease offered.

 

Where a Housing NSW relocates a tenant to an alternative property managed by a different housing provider, the tenant will be offered a type and length of lease in accordance with the individual provider's policy.

Paying rent after relocation

Tenants of Housing NSW who are relocated to another property managed by Housing NSW will be charged rent as follows:

  • If they receive a rent subsidy, Housing NSW will calculate the rent for the new property in the same way as for the current property. This may result in a change to the amount of rent paid if there have been recent changes to the household income or number of people in the household. For more information, see the Charging Rent Policy.
  • If they pay the market rent, Housing NSW will ask the tenant to pay the market rent for the new property. In the case where the market rent for the new property is higher than the market rent currently paid by the tenant, and the tenant is not eligible for a rent subsidy, Housing NSW will consider limiting the additional rent the tenant is expected to pay.

Where Housing NSW relocates a tenant to an alternative property managed by a different housing provider, the tenant's rent will be assessed in accordance with the policy of the individual provider.

 

All community housing providers calculate rent in accordance with the Community Housing Rent Policy.

 

Mutual Exchange

The following criteria only apply to tenancies managed by Housing NSW. It does not apply to tenancies managed by community housing providers. Community housing providers will manage applications for mutual exchange in accordance with their own individual policies.

What is a mutual exchange?

A mutual exchange is where one tenant exchanges properties with another tenant. It provides a way for public housing and Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) tenants to move to a location they prefer, or to obtain more suitable accommodation.

 

Mutual exchanges can only occur between tenancies managed by Housing NSW. This means that, provided the eligibility criteria are met, a tenant of Housing NSW or the Aboriginal Housing Office:

  • Can mutually exchange with another Housing NSW or Aboriginal Housing Office tenant
  • Cannot mutually exchange with a tenant of a community housing provider.

Finding a property to exchange

Housing NSW provides a computer matching service to help public housing and AHO tenants find and contact other public housing and AHO tenants living in homes that are suitable to mutually exchange.

 

An exchange may involve more than two tenants. The time taken to find a match depends on the availability of tenants in the desired location who want to exchange. There is no charge for this service.

 

When Housing NSW finds a match, it will notify each tenant and send them a letter containing the name, phone number and address of the other tenant. The tenants then make their own arrangements to view each other's homes. Tenants are under no obligation to accept an exchange and can reject an alternative home without penalty.

 

Additionally, tenants may also advertise or arrange an exchange themselves (although Housing NSW must approve the exchange before it can take place). Tenants cannot offer financial or other incentives to encourage other tenants to exchange. If Housing NSW becomes aware that incentives of any form are involved, it will not approve the exchange.

Assessing a request for a mutual exchange

If the tenants agree to exchange, they must notify their local Housing NSW office. Housing NSW will advise tenants in writing whether it has approved or declined their application for mutual exchange. For more information, go to Criteria for approving a mutual exchange.

 

Housing NSW must approve a mutual exchange before the tenants move. If they move before approval is given, they may have to return to their previous dwellings. Moving without approval is a breach of the tenancy agreement.

What happens when Housing NSW approves a mutual exchange?

Tenants must sign a new tenancy agreement for the new home. They sign at the same time, preferably in the same office. Tenants are responsible for arranging keys and for paying their own removal costs. If Housing NSW has approved a tenant for a transfer, Housing NSW will take them off the NSW housing register when the mutual exchange is finalised.

 

Tenants who exchange into a headleased or Public Equity Partnership property cannot buy the property or carry out any modifications or additions.

Recognition as a tenant

The following information applies only to tenancies managed by Housing NSW. It does not apply to tenancies managed by community housing providers. Community housing providers manage applications for recognition as a tenant or succession of tenancy in accordance with their own individual policies.

What is recognition as a tenant?

Recognition as a tenant is the situation that arises when a household member or other eligible person connected to the household requests to continue living in a property managed by Housing NSW, including an Aboriginal Housing Office property, after the tenant has:

  • died, or
  • left the property as a result of being imprisoned, or
  • left the property due to health reasons, for example has entered a nursing home or an institutionalised care facility.

For more information on acceptable absences see the During a Tenancy Policy.

 

Housing NSW must be informed of the above recognition as a tenant event as soon as possible.

 

Housing NSW will assess requests for recognition as a tenant and either:

  • grant approval for recognition as a tenant to continue living in a property managed by Housing NSW, or
  • decline approval, when this occurs Housing NSW expects household members to leave the property.

When deciding whether to approve recognition as a tenant, Housing NSW will balance the rights of access to public housing and Aboriginal housing against the need to make public housing available to clients on the NSW Housing Register, particularly those approved for priority housing.

 

Tenancies managed by Housing NSW are exempt from the recognition as a tenant provisions in Section 77 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.


Household members must inform Housing NSW of the recognition as a tenant event as soon as possible. If they wish to be assessed to continue living in a property managed by Housing NSW they must lodge an Application for Housing Assistance and a Recognition as a Tenant Supplement within six weeks of the recognition as a tenant event. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients (who have confirmed their Aboriginality) or those seeking recognition as a tenant to an Aboriginal Housing Office Property must submit an application within ten weeks of the event.

 

Housing NSW may consider extending these timeframes, particularly for spouses or de facto partners fifty five years and over and people who are the custodian or legal guardian of minors in the household, if the client demonstrates that there are extenuating circumstances. For example, difficulty ending the previous tenancy despite having made genuine efforts or a medical condition or disability which made it difficult to lodge an application within the timeframe.

 

Housing NSW will only approve one application for recognition as a tenant per household. Housing NSW will consider each applicant's eligibility to determine who is granted recognition as a tenant. In general, a spouse or de facto partner of the tenant who is fifty five years of age or older, or a legal guardian or custodian of minors will be granted recognition as a tenant ahead of other household members.  

Situations where the recognition as a tenant process does not apply

The recognition as a tenant process does not apply in the following circumstances:

  • If the tenant leaves due to a breakdown in the household relationship, or a an application is submitted to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal under Section 79 of the Residential Tenancies Act, Housing NSW will consider the other household member's future housing need under the Family Breakdown section of Transfers. For more information, go to the Transfer Policy - Eligibility for Transfer
  • When tenants vacate their tenancy by choice and have the means to provide for the housing of other household members, Housing NSW expects them to do so.
  • Between different housing providers. For example, a public housing tenant cannot be granted recognition as a tenant or succession to a community housing tenancy.

Common eligibility criteria for recognition as a tenant

All clients requesting recognition as a tenant must demonstrate that they meet the following criteria:

  • Are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and
  • Agree in writing to relocate if the current property does not match their assessed housing requirements, and
  • Except for custodians and legal guardians of minors living in the property, be an approved additional occupant of the household or included on applications for rent subsidies for:
    • Two years prior to the request, or
    • The whole of the tenancy if it is less than two years old, and
  • Have had a satisfactory occupation within the tenancy for the above period, or otherwise satisfy Housing NSW that they will be able to sustain a tenancy.

For situations where Housing NSW may consider waiving the requirement to have lived in the household for a minimum period go to the Tenancy Policy Supplement – Exceptions to minimum period of occupation.

 

Housing NSW will not approve recognition as a tenant if:

  • Whilst an occupant of any Housing NSW or Aboriginal Housing Office property, the client committed acts of violence, for example, physical attacks or serious verbal threats directed at neighbours or Housing NSW staff.
  • Whilst an occupant of any Housing NSW or Aboriginal Housing Office property, the client was involved in illegal activities in that property.
  • The client has been convicted of arson or deliberate damage to any Housing NSW or Aboriginal Housing Office property.
  • The client is an unsatisfactory or ineligible former tenant.

Additional criteria and processes

Housing NSW also applies different additional criteria and processes for assessing eligibility for recognition as a tenant depending on:

  • whether the person seeking recognition as a tenant is Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or neither Aboriginal nor Torres Strait Islander, or living in an Aboriginal Housing Office property, and
  • the relationship the client has with the tenant.

Recognition as a tenant – all clients except Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The information in this section applies to the majority of clients requesting recognition as a tenant. Different information applies to clients who are able to confirm Aboriginality, for further information go to Recognition as a tenant – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.

 

The Recognition as a Tenant Supplement consists of two parts, A and B. Part A notifies Housing NSW that a change in the household has occurred and is to be completed by all households. Housing NSW will consider this information and determine if the household is eligible for a provisional lease.

 

Part B can be completed by a household if they wish to apply for recognition as a tenant. Housing NSW will assess this information and determine if the household is eligible to continue living in a property managed by Housing NSW.

Provisional lease

Housing NSW will offer a six month provisional lease to people who submit an application within the six weeks timeframe provided they meet the criteria for provisional leases set out in the Types and Length of Lease Policy. These clients will also be considered for recognition as a tenant, if they have requested it in their application form.

 

People assessed as ineligible for social housing assistance as high risk registered persons are not eligible for a provisional lease.

 

People who do not submit an application within six weeks and who have not been granted an extension due to extenuating circumstances will be offered a three month provisional lease provided they meet the criteria for provisional leases set out in the Types and Length of Lease Policy. This will allow them to have stable housing while they seek alternative accommodation. They will be required to move out of the property at the end of the lease.

 

Housing NSW will not offer a provisional lease or assess an application for recognition as a tenant if the previous tenancy has not been:

  • relinquished by the tenant or the tenant’s legal representative; or
  • approved to be taken over upon receipt of a death certificate, where a tenant has died without a will and the estate is not being managed by the NSW Trustee and Guardian; or
  • formally ended under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 within a reasonable timeframe – usually six weeks.

If none of the above occurs, Housing NSW will take steps to formally end the tenancy and recover vacant possession of the property.

 

If a client is not eligible for a provisional lease, Housing NSW will decline any application for recognition as a tenant that has been lodged, although the client may still apply for other housing assistance products through Housing Pathways.  

Specific criteria for recognition as a tenant - succession

Housing NSW will grant recognition as a tenant through succession of tenancy to clients if they meet the following specific criteria:

  • They meet the common eligibility criteria set out above, and
  • They are the spouse or de facto partner of the tenant, they are fifty five years of age or older, and they meet the eligibility criteria for social housing. However, they are not required to meet the income and asset eligibility criteria. Where there are other household members residing with the spouse or de facto partner who is fifty five years of age or older, the household is not required to meet income and asset eligibility for the purpose of assessment for recognition as a tenant, however the household income and assets are considered for the purpose of assessment for subsidised rent; or
  • They relinquished a Housing NSW managed tenancy in order to act as a live-in carer to the tenant or other household member, and they meet the eligibility criteria for social housing; or
  • They are the custodian or legal guardian of minors, and
    • they were not part of the household at the time the event occurred, and
    • they would not otherwise be able to provide suitable housing for the minors therefore leaving them at risk of homelessness, and
    • they agree in writing to live in the property, and continue to provide care for the children
    • they are eligible for social housing.

For more information about the evidence requirements for a de facto partner, go to Evidence Requirements for a De Facto Partner.

 

For more information about the evidence requirements for a live-in carer, go to Tenancy Policy Supplement - Evidence Requirements for a live in carer.

 

In a situation where a custodian or legal guardian of minors does not meet the eligibility criteria for social housing, Housing NSW may decide to grant succession if:

  • The client has been formally granted custody/legal guardianship of the children, and
  • It is in the best interests of the children, and
  • The client can demonstrate that no alternative accommodation is available that is suitable for the care of the children.

In such circumstances, it may be necessary for Housing NSW to liaise with Community Services to ensure that this is the best option for the children involved.

If the client has applied for custody or legal guardianship, Housing NSW may approve succession on the condition that the client agrees in writing that, if their custody or legal guardianship application is not successful, they will relinquish the tenancy.

 

If succession is approved, Housing NSW will grant a two year, five year, ten year or continuous lease, depending on the client's entitlement, when the provisional lease ends. For further information about the type and length of lease Housing NSW will offer see Tenancy Policy Supplement - Changing a tenancy – Type and length of lease offered.

 

If succession is declined, Housing NSW will ask the people living in the property to move out at the end of the provisional lease. Housing NSW will use its rights under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 to seek termination of the tenancy and an order for possession of the property.

Recognition as a tenant - options for other household members

Housing NSW expects other household members who are not eligible for succession to find alternative housing, this is most likely to be in the private rental sector. Household members are able to apply for housing assistance under Housing Pathways, including social housing. They are expected to move out of public housing while they wait for allocation of a social housing tenancy from the NSW Housing Register.

 

In exceptional circumstances Housing NSW may grant recognition as a tenant (but not succession) to a household member who does not meet the eligibility criteria for succession.

 

In order to be granted recognition as a tenant and continue living in a property managed by Housing NSW, the client must demonstrate that they:

  • meet the common eligibility criteria set out above, and
  • are eligible for social housing, and
  • have demonstrated they meet the criteria for Priority Housing, including the requirement to demonstrate they are unable to meet their housing needs in the private rental market. For further information see the Eligibility for Social Housing policy.

If recognition as a tenant is approved, Housing NSW will grant a two year, five year, ten year or continuous lease depending on the client's entitlement, when the provisional lease ends. For further information about the type and length of lease Housing NSW will offer see the Tenancy Policy Supplement - Changing a tenancy – Type and length of lease offered.

 

If recognition as a tenant is declined, Housing NSW will ask the people living in the property to move out at the end of the provisional lease. Housing NSW will use its rights under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 to seek termination of the tenancy and an order for possession of the property.

Recognition as a tenant to an Aboriginal Housing Office property

The final decision as to whether a non-Aboriginal person should be granted recognition as a tenant to an Aboriginal Housing Office tenancy rests with the Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Housing Office.

 

When receiving an application for recognition as a tenant from a non-Aboriginal person living in an Aboriginal Housing Office property, Housing NSW will apply the processes set out in the Recognition as a tenant – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients section below.

 

In general, Housing NSW will recommend to the Aboriginal Housing Office that the application, from a non-Aboriginal person, be declined, unless the client has clearly demonstrated that they meet:

  • the common eligibility criteria for recognition as a tenant, and
  • the specific criteria under Recognition as a Tenant – Succession, or
  • the specific criteria under Recognition as a Tenant - Options for Other Household Members.

The recommendation will include identifying if Aboriginal children are part of the household.

 

Housing NSW will not agree to a request from the Aboriginal Housing Office, to provide a tenancy in a NSW Land and Housing Corporation (public housing) property, for a client who has been approved for recognition as a tenant by the Aboriginal Housing Office.  

Recognition as a tenant – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients

The information in this section applies to clients who are able to confirm their Aboriginality. They must complete both Part A and Part B of the Supplement. However, these clients are not offered a provisional lease.

 

Housing NSW will grant recognition as a tenant through succession if they meet the following criteria:

  • They meet the common eligibility criteria set out above, and
  • They have confirmed their Aboriginality. For more information see the Social Housing Eligibility and Allocations Policy Supplement, and
  • They can demonstrate that:
    • o they are the spouse or de facto partner of the tenant, who currently lives in the property and they meet the eligibility criteria for social housing. However, they are not required to meet the income and asset eligibility criteria. Where there are other household members residing with the spouse or de facto partner, the household is not required to meet income and asset eligibility for the purpose of assessment for recognition as a tenant, however the household income and assets are considered for the purpose of assessment for subsidised rent; or
    • they are a member of the household, other than the spouse or de facto partner of the tenant, who currently lives in the property and is eligible for social housing; or
    • they are the custodian or legal guardian of minors, and agree in writing to live in the property and continue to provide care for the children, and are eligible for social housing.

 

See the Tenancy Policy Supplement - Evidence Requirements for a De Facto Partner for further information about the evidence requirements for a de facto partner.

 

For situations where Housing NSW may consider waiving the requirement to be currently living in the property go to the Tenancy Policy Supplement – Exceptions to minimum period of occupation.

 

In a situation where a custodian or legal guardian of minors does not meet the eligibility criteria for social housing, Housing NSW may decide to grant succession if:

  • The client has been formally granted custody/legal guardianship of the children, and
  • It is in the best interests of the children, and
  • The client can demonstrate that no alternative accommodation is available that is suitable for the care of the children.

In such circumstances, it may be necessary for Housing NSW to liaise with Community Services to ensure that this is the best option for the children involved.

If the client has applied for custody or legal guardianship, Housing NSW may approve succession on the condition that the client agrees in writing that, if their custody or legal guardianship application is not successful, they will relinquish the tenancy.

There are circumstances where Housing NSW will consider granting succession to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander client who is not a current member of the household. For further information see Recognition as a tenant – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients who are not current household members.

 

Where Housing NSW proposes to decline an application for succession from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person to a NSW Land and Housing Corporation (public housing) property, it may ask the Aboriginal Housing Office to comment on this proposal. This is consistent with Housing NSW's aim to make culturally appropriate decisions concerning Aboriginal people.

 

Where Housing NSW recommends declining succession of an Aboriginal client to an Aboriginal Housing Office property, it must refer this decision to the Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Housing Office for review before it is finalised.

 

If succession is approved, Housing NSW will confirm that the previous tenancy is relinquished or formally ended under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, or a more suitable property for the household identified, and then ask the client to sign a tenancy agreement. For information about the type and length of lease Housing NSW will offer see Tenancy Policy Supplement - Changing a tenancy – Type and length of lease offered.

 

If succession is declined, Housing NSW will ask the people living in the property to move out. Housing NSW will use its rights under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 in order to ensure the property is vacated.

Considerations for all clients applying for recognition as a tenant

Young persons

If the client is a young person aged 16 or 17 years, they may be granted recognition as a tenant if they demonstrate they are able to care for themselves and can meet the terms of the tenancy agreement. For further information see the Eligibility for Social Housing Policy.

Accounts of the previous tenant

Housing NSW cannot pass on the debts of the former tenant to the new tenant when there is a change of tenancy and a new tenancy agreement is signed. If a tenant dies, Housing NSW will write off any amounts they owe. If any of their accounts are in credit Housing NSW will pay the money to their estate. If a tenant leaves the property, Housing NSW will treat any money they owe or any credit as a vacated account.

Requirement to move to a different property

When Housing NSW grants recognition as a tenant it assesses whether the property the person is living in matches their housing requirements. If the property does not match the client's housing needs, Housing NSW will ask the client to agree to relocate to a suitable property as a condition of granting approval to continue living in public or Aboriginal housing. If they fail to comply with this agreement Housing NSW will enforce its right to relocate the tenant under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. For more information see Relocating tenants for management purposes.

Appointed agents 

Housing NSW will not approve recognition as a tenant to appointed agents unless they are already another household member, or they are the tenant's spouse or de facto partner and the tenant has relinquished the tenancy. For more information on appointing an agent see the During a Tenancy Policy.

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4. Legislation and compliance

Social housing providers change tenancies in accordance with the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and the Housing Act 2001.

 

If Housing NSW decides to relocate a tenant for management purposes, it still reserves its right at all times to issue a notice of termination of a residential tenancy agreement if there have been breaches of the residential tenancy agreement. This proviso applies to ensure Housing NSW can comply with its legislative obligations as well as its contractual obligations under the residential tenancy agreement.

 

5. Related documentation

6. Further information

Appeals and review of decisions

If a client disagrees with a decision a social housing provider has made, they should first discuss their concerns with a staff member from the provider that made the decision. The next step, if they still believe the social housing provider made the wrong decision, is to ask for a formal review of the decision. For information on how reviews work, the client can ask the housing provider for a copy of the fact sheet Reviewing Decisions, or read the Client Service Delivery and Appeals Policy.

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Last modified: Monday, 7 July 2014

Housing Pathways © 2014
Date last modified: Monday, 7 July 2014