Frequently Asked Questions

Property Maintenance

  • What kind of property maintenance is AHV responsible for?

    AHV is responsible for responsive maintenance on all its properties and provides a 24-hour service.

  • How do I organise repairs for my property?

    The AHV Client Services Team can assist you in organising repairs to your property.

    For non-urgent repairs, please email clientservices@ahvic.org.au

    For urgent repairs, please call the repair line on: 9403 2150 between 8.30am and 4.30pm.

    If you have urgent repairs that require attention outside of these business hours, please call the emergency after-hours repair line: ph. 1300 664 392.

  • What is responsive maintenance?

    Responsive maintenance is day-to-day maintenance or repair works that are carried out on tenanted or vacant public housing and community-managed properties in response to requests for such works, to restore an item or component to its working condition.

  • How long does it take for maintenance and/or repairs to be completed?

    This will depend on the urgency of the issue reported by the tenant. When a tenant makes a request, the issue will be classified as either normal, priority or urgent.

    Urgent works will be attended within 24 hours of a work order being raised by the Client Services Team, and received by the sub-contractor.

    Priority works will be attended within one week of a work order being raised by the Client Services Team, and received by the sub-contractor.

    Normal works will be completed within 1-14 weeks of a work order being raised by the Client Services Team, and received by the sub-contractor.

  • What details are needed when requesting maintenance and/or repairs?

    As AHV properties are not all the same, it is helpful if you can provide specific details about your maintenance or repair request when you contact Client Services. For example, when reporting faults in heating or cooling systems, hot water systems or ovens and stovetops, Client Services needs to know whether the systems are gas or electric. The Client Services Team is trained to assist you in identifying the specifics of your appliances in cases where tenants are unsure.

    Once a repair or maintenance request is made, the Client Services Team will raise a work order, which is sent to a sub-contractor for action.

  • Is my repair request urgent?

    The following issues are considered urgent repair requests:

    • A burst water service
    • A blocked or broken toilet system
    • A serious roof leak
    • A gas leak
    • A dangerous electrical fault
    • Flooding or serious flood damage
    • Serious storm or fire damage
    • A failure or breakdown of any essential service or appliance provided by your landlord or agent for hot water, cooking, heating or laundering
    • A failure or breakdown of gas, electricity or water supply
    • Any fault or damage in the premises that makes the premises unsafe or insecure
    • An appliance, fitting or fixture that is not working properly that causes a substantial amount of water to be wasted
    • A serious fault in a staircase.

    For urgent repairs, please call the maintenance call centre on: 9403 2150 between 8.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

    If you have urgent repairs that require attention outside of these business hours, please call the emergency after-hours repair line: ph. 1300 664 392.

  • What are the maintenance call centre office hours?

    The maintenance call centre office hours are 8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

  • Who do I contact for after-hours emergency repairs?

    If you have urgent repairs that require attention outside AHV business hours, please call the emergency after-hours repair line: 1300 664 392.

    The after hours line is run by an independent call centre that will organise contractors to attend as soon as possible. During business hours, AHV staff will call to follow up on the issue, see that it was attended to properly, ensure that tenants are satisfied with repairs, and organise any necessary follow-up maintenance.

  • What is fair 'wear and tear'?

    In general terms, fair 'wear and tear' includes damage resulting from:

    • Age and reasonable use
    • Wind and weather action
    • Corrosion and termite damage

    Friction through normal use of doors and windows.

  • What happens if my maintenance issue requires further inspection?

    Not all issues can be adequately described over the phone, and at times our staff will require photos to ensure information provided to sub-contractors is accurate.

    In these cases, the Client Services Team may request a maintenance inspection be done by either your Housing Officer or by one of our Property Compliance Officers.

    You will be notified by phone if AHV wishes to arrange an inspection.

    All AHV staff members carry identification with their name, photo and AHV logo.

  • What happens when a sub-contractor needs to complete repairs at my property?

    When a work order is raised with a sub-contractor, AHV will request that they contact you prior to attending your property.

    In cases where the contractor has been unable to get in contact with you, they may attend and leave a calling card. If a calling card is left at your property, please call the number on the card to get in contact with them directly. You can then arrange an alternative time for them to attend your property.

    If the contractor attends your property twice and is unable to complete the maintenance, they will request that your work order be cancelled. You will need to contact AHV and arrange for another work order to be raised, and a new timeframe will be set.

  • What are tenant responsibility maintenance charges (TRMC’s)?

    Tenant Responsibility Maintenance Charges (TRMCs) are the full cost of repairs for damage to property that has been caused by the tenant.

    If a tenant, property occupant or visitor has caused damage requiring repairs, an AHV staff member (either an Housing Officer or Technical Property Officer) will visit the property to assess and photograph the damage prior to arranging repairs.

    AHV’s Debt Recovery Officer will discuss repayment options with the tenant. Payments will be added to the rent until the amount has been paid in full.

  • What are tenants' home maintenance responsibilities?

    AHV requests that tenants report any maintenance issues as soon as possible with the AHV Client Services Team.

    When repairs are required, tenants should make themselves available for contractors to attend, in the timeframe given by Client Services once an assessment of the urgency of the works required is made. Tenants must ensure their contact details are up-to-date.

    Tenants must report any unsatisfactory completed repairs or maintenance.

  • How do I organise a fence replacement?

    AHV will organise an assessment of your fence to determine if minor repairs can fix the issue or if a full fence replacement is necessary. If a fence replacement is required and the property is owned by AHV, AHV will request that the tenant sources three quotes and will discuss the costs with the neighboring property.

  • Am I eligible for a new air-conditioning unit?

    As AHV is a not-for-profit organisation, we can only install non-standard items such as air conditioning if there is a medical reason.

  • Is my property eligible for a carpet replacement?

    AHV undertake property improvement projects on a cyclical basis and identify properties for floor covering replacement in our asset maintenance planning.

  • Can I have my property painted?

    AHV undertake property improvement projects on a cyclical basis and identify properties for painting in our asset maintenance planning.

  • How do I re-light my pilot light?

    All gas appliances have relighting instruction that you should follow. If these are not located on the appliance, they can often be looked up online by searching for your appliance name and product number. For a guide on relighting your pilot light, see: http://www.wikihow.com/Light-a-Water-Heater

  • How do I reset my circuit breaker?

    For a guide on resetting your circuit breaker, see: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-reset-a-circuit-breaker.html

  • How do I check my water meter?

    Water meters are normally situated at the front of properties and the meter has a cover over the water usage dial. If this is dial is turning when all taps are turned off inside your property, it may indicate a leak.

  • How do I organise garden maintenance?

    Garden maintenance is the responsibility of the tenant. If required, the tenant can engage a yard maintenance service. Alternatively, AHV can provide a service at a charge to the tenant.

  • How do I organise rubbish removal?

    Rubbish removal is the responsibility of the tenant. If required, the tenant can engage a rubbish removal service at their expense. Alternatively, AHV can provide a service at a charge to the tenant.

  • Can I get a bungalow?

    Depending on your property, you may be able to get a bungalow. Please contact your Housing Officer to discuss your eligibility.

  • Can I install items in the property?

    Depending on your property and the items you wish to install, this might be possible. Please contact your Housing Officer to discuss your eligibility and details.

  • Can I install items outside my property?

    Depending on your property and the items you wish to install, this might be possible. Please contact your Housing Officer to discuss your eligibility and details.

  • How do I report unsatisfactory repair work?

    If you have had unsatisfactory repairs carried out at your property, please report these to the repair line on: 9403 2150 between 8.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

  • Am I eligible for alternative accommodation during maintenance?

    This will depend on the nature of the maintenance. Most maintenance works can be carried out while tenants are still in the property, however more significant or structural maintenance may require tenants to relocate temporarily. 

  • What do I do if there has been a fire at my property?

    If there has been a fire at your property, please contact AHV as soon as possible. If your property is not AHV-owned, we will provide a report to the Department of Health and Human Services in order to arrange any necessary repairs.

  • Can I have a pet in my property?

    Yes, you can have a pet. When you submit your application for housing, you will need to complete a form with details about your pet. The pet must be compliant with local council regulations.

Tenancy

  • How is my rent calculated?

    AHV provides social housing and support for low income Aboriginal Victorians. This support is targeted to those most in need. There are two forms of rent, Subsidised and Market.

    The formula used to calculate Subsidised rent is:

    • 25 per cent of the main household income; and
    • 15 per cent of Centrelink family-related payments (FTB); and
    • 100 per cent Commonwealth Rental Assistance.

    Market rent is based on the annual market rent data provided by DHHS, which is assessed against ATO market rent benchmarks.  The maximum market rent AHV can charge is limited to 75% of ATO market rent benchmarks. AHV is happy to explain this to you further.

  • How often do I pay rent?

    Rents are charged each week on a Monday.

  • How do I pay rent?

    You can pay your rent by Direct Debit, Centrepay Deduction, or Salary Sacrifice.

  • What happens if I miss a rent payment?

    If you miss a rent payment, you will be required to pay an additional amount until your rent payments are two weeks in advance.

  • I'm in credit with my rent - am I eligible for a refund?

    Tenants must always be two weeks in advance with rent payments. In cases where a tenant is still in credit after rent is deducted, they may be eligible for a refund, and should contact their housing officer to confirm their eligibility.   In these cases, tenants will be required to fill out a reimbursement form that needs to be approved by a tenancy team leader, and payment will be processed.

  • Am I eligible for rental assistance?

    AHV doesn’t determine whether or not our tenants are eligible for rent assistance. This is done by Centrelink. If you are deemed eligible, they will provide you with rent certificate. AHV will complete the landlord section and fax it to Centrelink on your behalf.

  • What is subsidised rent?

    The gap between the market rent and the actual rent charged is termed a rental subsidy. In cases where you are not charged market rent, AHV refer to the actual rent you are charged as subsidised rent.

  • Am I eligible for subsidised rent?

    All tenants are eligible to apply for a subsidy, and are assessed for this subsidy based on their current household income. Eligibility for subsidised rent is reviewed yearly as household circumstances can change. If your household income reduces, you can ask to have your rent reassessed.

    The formula used to calculate rent is:

    • 25 per cent of the main household income; and
    • 15 per cent of Centrelink family-related payments (FTB); and
    • 100 per cent Commonwealth Rental Assistance.
  • What is market rent and how often is it reviewed?

    The Valuer General values AHV properties each year, and the market rent is set based on the private rental market in the local area. AHV provides tenants 60 days notice in cases where rent is set to increase. This takes place at the same time as we assess your new fixed rent for the year.

  • What happens during a fixed rent review? Will my rent change?

    Every year AHV will conduct fixed rent reviews, usually in August. All tenants will be given a minimum of 60 days notice of the market rent charge. AHV will assess whether you are eligible for a rental subsidy.

    Household rents are fixed for 12 months at a time. The aim of fixed rents is to assist households with housing affordability and to provide certainty about the rent they will be charged. When household income increases during a fixed rent period, this additional income will not be used for an assessment of rent until the next rent review date.

    At the date of the annual rent review, if a household has not responded to a request for updated household details, AHV is unable to determine eligibility for a rental subsidy and you will be charged market rent.

    Should the household subsequently provide the information required to determine eligibility, the rent charged will be reassessed in accordance with the fixed rental subsidy policy.

  • What should I do if I don't agree with the market rent amount?

    In cases where tenants don’t agree with the market rent assessment, an independent assessment can be sought through Consumer Affairs Victoria. If a discrepancy is identified, this is reviewed by AHV. If AHV does not agree with the change, the tenant can challenge this at VCAT, or can access their own independent valuation and ask for it to be reviewed by VCAT and/or AHV.

  • What happens if I don't respond to a rent review letter?

    Failure by a tenant to respond to AHV letters (when Centrelink online access for all household members over 18 years of age has not been provided) and submit the required documentation by the due date will result in the tenant being charged full market rent.

  • What happens if my circumstances change?

    AHV should be notified of any change in household circumstances, and a completed application with all required documentation should be provided to AHV within 28 days of the change.

    If the change in circumstances would result in an increase in rent payable, this increase is not imposed on the tenant. However, if a change in circumstances would result in a decrease in rent payable, the rent to be charged is reassessed with effect from the Monday after the change occurred.

  • What happens if I am going to be absent from the property temporarily?

    AHV will apply a subsidy in the following circumstances:

    • tenants or residents in geriatric nursing homes
    • tenants or residents in rehabilitation or respite care
    • tenants or residents in jail.

    The tenant or resident is required to provide documentation to confirm where they are and when they will be returning to the property. This can be:

    • a letter confirming the time they will be absent. This could be from the rehabilitation centre, solicitor, nursing home or social worker from the jail
    • a letter confirming the amount they will be paying during the period they are staying at the other property.

    When a tenant or a resident is temporarily absent, the household rent payable continues to be assessed on the entire household income. The subsidy is applied as follows:

    • for a sole tenant, the rent will be reduced to $15 per week
    • for all other households, where one member of the household is temporarily absent, their share of the rent will be reduced to $15 per week.

    When a tenant or resident returns to the property, rent is increased from the following Monday.

    If a tenant or resident is temporarily away from home and is required to pay accommodation costs (not including accommodation for leisure purposes, such as the cost of a hotel while on holiday), a subsidy can be applied to reduce the rent charge after the entitlement to a subsidised rent has be assessed.

    The maximum period a sole tenant or occupant of the property can be temporarily absent from their home for one of the above reasons is six months.

  • Do I notify AHV about changes of circumstances or wait for the review period?

    It’s best to notify AHV as soon as your circumstances change, as you may be eligible for a reduction in rent.

    If a change in household circumstances results in an increase in the total household income, the increase to the rent is not applied until the next fixed rent period.

  • In what circumstances do I need to notify AHV of changes in my circumstances?

    You need to notify AHV of changes in your circumstances when:

    • Someone moves in:
      The new occupant will need to be assessed, ID provided and a subsidy form completed, including the date they started living at the property.
    • Someone moves out:
      A subsidy form needs to be completed, including the date the occupant left, and a forwarding address.
    • There are income changes for anyone in the property:
      Please complete a rent subsidy form and provide proof of income changes.
    • If a child turns 18:
      When a child turns 18 they are considered a full occupant, and any income will be assessed and taken into account during the rent review period.
    • If you wish to transfer:
      You will need to complete an application form, and on this form you will need to indicate that you are a current tenant. An application form needs to be completed because you will need to have your eligibility re-assessed.
    • If any damage has been done to the property:
      If damage is done to your property AHV needs to be immediately notified to make repairs. If a tenant has caused damage, a payment plan can be arranged. Please contact Client Services to discuss your maintenance issues.
    • If you want to change the names on the tenancy:
      The person you wish to transfer the property lease to must have been living in the property for a minimum of 12 months.
    • If you have visitors staying regularly:
      AHV does not include visitors aged 18 years or over when assessing a household's subsidised rent, where:
      • the visitor is staying in the household for less 12 weeks and can prove they have accommodation elsewhere
      • the visitor is in the country on a restricted visa (except students) for example, as a tourist
      • the visitor is living in the household for less than three nights per week.
    • If you are having difficulty paying your rent.
    • If you wish to terminate your tenancy.
  • If I have people visiting my property, will they be included in my rent calculation?

    AHV does not include visitors aged 18 years or over when assessing a household's subsidised rent, where:

    • the visitor is staying in the household for less 12 weeks and can prove they have accommodation elsewhere
    • the visitor is in the country on a restricted visa (except students) for example, as a tourist
    • the visitor is living in the household for less than three nights per week.

    AHV accepts that there may be special circumstances where a visitor is required to stay for longer than 12 weeks. These circumstances are:

    • the visitor is providing support during illness or pregnancy of the tenant
    • the visitor's accommodation has been damaged by a natural disaster, such as fire or flood.

    Where special circumstances do not apply, AHV includes visitors as residents from the end of the 12-week period.

  • What are my basic rights as a tenant?

    Your rights as a tenant are detailed in the Consumer Affairs Victoria booklet, 'Renting a home: a guide for tenants'.

  • What happens if I have incurred a maintenance debt (tenancy responsibility maintenance charges)?

    If you are paying money towards maintenance, you can discuss payment options with your Housing Officer. An agreement may be put in place to pay a nominated amount on top of your rental payments.

    If you have any further questions regarding your rent please contact your Housing Officer.

  • What do I do if I want to terminate my tenancy?

    If you have decided to move out of your property, you must let your Housing Officer know prior to vacating.

    It is your responsibility to hand the keys into AHV when you leave, otherwise you will continue to be charged rent. If you have misplaced your keys please speak to your Housing Officer.

    It is important to leave your home in the same clean and tidy condition as when you moved in, otherwise you may be charged for the cost of cleaning and removal of any rubbish that is left behind.

    The condition report you were given when you moved in the property will be used by AHV to check the condition of your property on vacating.

    Remember if you still owe rent on your vacated property it is important that you speak to your Housing Officer about a repayment agreement. Any future application you make for housing will be checked for outstanding rental and Tenancy Responsibility Maintenance Charges.