Tenancy

AHV currently services over 1500 tenancies across the State of Victoria.

Our tenancy team consists of 11 Housing Officers and additional support staff spread across Victoria. The team is responsible for establishing sustainable tenancies for our clients, including undertaking property management duties, linking tenants in to support services and building relationships with appropriate resources in their region to assist with community capacity building. They are supported by our Maintenance and Client Services teams and aim to ensure our tenants and clients have the support AHV can provide to enable them to have stable, comfortable housing.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.