What to expect #
When you are offered a home it is up to you to decide if you will accept it or not. A Tenancy Officer will arrange to meet with you to view the property. You can ask questions, ask about modifications and repairs, or say you do not want to rent the property.
Your tenancy officer will provide clear, useful information to ensure you understand the expectations and your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. This will include information about:
- Payment responsibilities – including security deposit/bond, rent payment and rent arrears;
- Our approach to tenant improvements and repairs;
- The procedure for reporting repairs that are needed;
- Maintenance that you are responsible for;
- What it means to be a good neighbor and what to do if disputes and conflicts occur with neighbours.
Before accepting a property you must tell us if you want to keep pets.Written permission is needed before an animal can be kept at a property at any time during your tenancy.
If pets are agreed to, you must:
• comply with council regulations and register all dogs
• make sure your pets are not a nuisance or a danger
• agree that you are responsible for any harm to people or property damage your pet may cause
• agree that permission to keep a pet may stop if there are reasonable grounds.
Your lease agreement
When you accept a property, you sign a lease called the Residential Tenancy Agreement. If you need help to understand this lease, or if you are not sure about any items in it, you can ask your Tenancy Officer. Also, you can bring someone with you when you sign the lease.
When you sign the lease, you will need to pay two weeks rent up-front.
The lease is a legal contract that we’ll both sign. It sets out rights and responsibilities for you as the tenant, and for us as the landlord. Keep your copy of the lease in a safe place as it’s a useful document that you may want to refer to later.
Your rent amount
We’ll tell you how much your weekly rent amount will be. It is calculated as follows:
For Social Housing
Your rent is income-based, so we match the rent to your household income. It is calculated as:
• 25% of assessable household income + Commonwealth Rent Assistance
• or market rent, as assessed by independent valuation
• whichever is lower
For Affordable Housing
Your rent is calculated from discounted market rent as:
• a percentage of 'market rent' and normally at or below 80%
• 'market rent' is as assessed by independent valuation or internal assessment
How to pay your rent
We’ll explain how your weekly rent amount is calculated, based on either your combined family income or reduced market rent, depending on the type of property you are being offered.
When you sign the lease, you will need to pay two weeks rent up front. We also need you to tell us how you’re going to pay your rent each week or fortnight. There are a range of options available:
- Direct debit from Centrelink (this is called CentrePay)
- Direct debit to our bank account
- Electronic transfer via online banking
- Using a rent card (available through Reception)
- Payment at our office via EFTPOS. We’re not able to accept cash payments.
We recommend you set up an automatic payment for your rent and we can help you do this.
The condition report
At the start of your tenancy your home will be clean and in good repair.
When you sign your lease a condition report is provided to you. It describes the state of the property. You then check it and let us know if there is anything you don’t agree with.
A bond (called a Security Deposit) is a payment made by a tenant before moving in. It is security against unpaid rent or damage to the property. The bond amount is equal to two weeks rent, and we will tell you how much this is.
The bond payment is made – along with two weeks rent in advance – at the start of the tenancy.
New tenants pay their bond to Rental Deposit Authority (RDA) at Service Tasmania and then give us the receipt. The RDA holds the bond until you move out.
The process for us lodging a claim against your bond, and for you to reclaim your bond, at the end of your tenancy are set out in your lease agreement.
Commonwealth Rent Assistance
If you receive a Centrelink benefit you may be eligible for Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA). CRA is a Federal Government contribution to your rent. You can claim CRA through Centrelink.
Your personal information is kept private
We respect your privacy and we keep your personal information confidential within our organisation. It is kept on a ‘needs-to-know’ basis. This means only those who need the information can see it.
We do not share information about you with other organisations or agencies unless you have agreed to that. If you can't give consent to information being shared (for example you have an incapacitating illness) we will take all reasonable steps to protect the privacy and confidentiality of your personal information.
If you visit our office and we need to collect information of a personal nature from you, we will offer a private place to do this. Tenant information is stored securely and only kept for as long as
necessary. When the information is no longer needed it is disposed of in a confidential way.
Our full Privacy and Confidentiality Policy can be found here.
Your responsibilities #
The lease describes in detail your rights and responsibilities as a tenant but put simply, there are three key things we need you to do – pay your rent, maintain your home and be a good neighbor.
Pay your rent on time, in full and in advance
You must pay rent either weekly or fortnightly and stay in advance at all times. If you do not pay your rent you can be evicted from your property. If you experience financial difficulties during your tenancy, it is important to contact your tenancy officer before making a decision to stop paying rent. Your tenancy officer may have some suggestions or put you in touch with support services.
In addition to your rent, there will be other charges (sometimes called non-rent) that we may ask you to pay such as:
- Water usage charges;
- Charges related to damage to the property that is caused by you or your visitors (the cost is determined by the type of damage and the complexity of the repair).
You can negotiate a repayment plan with your tenancy officer for non-rent payments.
Remember that your weekly rent may be worked out by the combined income of who is living at the property so you must tell us when:
- Your household income changes, and/or
- Any changes to who is living in your home.
Maintain your home
Your home should be maintained to a reasonable standard making sure that it is kept clean, safe, fit to live in, and free from damage, pests and vermin. You must keep the garden tidy and if there are lawns, you must keep them mown and dispose of garden waste and lawn clippings.
If you, a member of your household, or a visitor to your home cause damage to the property, you are responsible for the repair costs. You must report damage that occurs at the property as soon as practical.
You are welcome to decorate your home by adding floor rugs or hanging pictures, however the property must be returned to its original condition when you vacate. You may only paint with our permission, so please talk to us first. As outlined in the lease agreement, you are not permitted to alter, build on or add to the property, or move fixtures and fittings. To do so is a breach of your lease.
Be a good neighbour
We are committed to working with each tenant to achieve successful and long term tenancies as well as building positive and sustainable neighbourhoods and communities. We value serving a diverse tenant population - singles and families with people at all different stages of life. This diversity brings different lifestyle choices. While neighbours may not always agree with each other’s choices, everyone has a right to live peacefully in their home.
Being a good neighbour is everybody’s responsibility. You must follow the conditions outlined in your lease which include being responsible for your own behaviour and the behaviour of visitors and occupants at your property.
It’s not okay for you or your visitors to cause a disturbance or annoyance in or around your home or to interfere with the peace and comfort of your neighbours – e.g. by holding noisy parties, revving loud cars or motorbikes, doing burn-outs, or using offensive language.
If you have a concern about a neighbour you can try to solve the problem by talking with them directly or through a mediator. We have information on resolving disputes, and we can refer you to a Dispute Resolution and Mediation service where an independent mediator may help you resolve your dispute. We won’t get involved in this process as an advocate or third party.
Our responsibilities #
At the start of your tenancy we have a responsibility to provide you with a home that is clean and in good repair. When you sign your lease we’ll give you a condition report that describes the state of the home and property. It’s essential that you review this report and let us know if you don’t agree with our description.
Throughout your tenancy, we remain responsible for repairs that are the result of fair wear and tear.
We will respect your right to live peacefully in your home. We won’t interfere with your privacy, unless you or the law allows us to, as described in your lease. We ask our tradespeople to call and make an appointment with you before they arrive to do planned works.
Your tenancy officer will make regular inspections of your property and will always make arrangements with you in advance. If we write and ask you for permission to do an inspection and you don’t respond, the law says we’re allowed to enter your property. We’re also allowed to enter your property without your permission if we believe that:
- You are ill or injured and can’t give us permission, or
- Damage has occurred to your property or there is likely to be damage to all or part of your property, or
- There is risk to you or another person on your property, or
- You have abandoned your home.
We commit to respecting and maintaining your privacy and conﬁdentiality. To this end, we aim to always keep your personal information conﬁdential within our organisation and on a ‘needs-to-know’ basis — that is, only those who need the information will have access to it.
We will not share information about you with other organisations or agencies unless you give us consent to do so. If there is a situation where you cannot give us consent to information being shared (for example you are experiencing an incapacitating illness) we will take all reasonable steps to protect the privacy and confidentiality of your personal information.
If you visit our office and we need to collect information of a personal nature from you, we will offer a private place to do this.
We securely store tenant information and only keep it for as long as necessary. We dispose of information in a conﬁdential manner once we are no longer required to keep it.