Frequently Asked Questions

Maintenance

  • What can I do first if I have a common issue?

    Before reporting maintenance to AHV, some simple checks:

    If you have an electrical supply issue: 

    • If multiple lights/power points are not working - check your circuit board. The switches should all be in the same position.
    • If your power has gone out after you switched on an appliance - this might mean that the appliance is overloading the circuit or that the appliance is faulty, and needs to be repaired.  
    • If you have sparking power points or lights - turn off the appropriate switch on the circuit board, ensure area and people are safe from harm.

    If you have a water supply issue:

    • If you have no water – please check to see if you have received a disruption notice from your water company. 
    • If you have a severe water leak - please turn the water off at the stop tap. The stop tap is located at base of sinks in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries. 
    • If you have a burst pipe – turn off water mains located at the front or side of your house to prevent extra water costs. 
    • If you have no hot water – check your pilot light. 

    If you have a gas supply issue:

    • If you think you may have a gas leak - turn off the gas meter.
    • If you have no gas – check that your gas meter is on, and check to see if you have received a notice advising of an interruption to your service. 

    Call 132 500 from anywhere in Victoria for flood, storm, tsunami and earthquake emergency.

    For life-threatening emergencies call Triple Zero (000).

  • What are tenants responsible for?

    When making a maintenance request, tenants are responsible for:

    • Reporting maintenance issues as soon as possible.
    • Reporting unsatisfactory repairs.
    • Being available for contractors to access the property.
    • Updating their contact details with AHV. 

    In the home, it is a tenants responsibility to maintain their garden and remove any rubbish. If required, the tenant can engage services. Alternatively, AHV can provide a service at a charge to the tenant.

     

  • How long does it take for repairs?

    When a tenant makes a request, the issue will be classified as either normal, priority or urgent.

    Once a work order has been raised by the Client Services Team, and received by the sub-contractor:

    • Urgent works will be attended within 24 hours. 
    • Priority works will be attended within one week.
    • Normal works will be completed within 1-14 days.

    Tenants, landlords and agents must follow set procedures when dealing with urgent and non-urgent repairs. Tenants must continue to pay rent even while waiting for repairs. If the matter has been heard by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), you can apply for rent to be paid into VCAT’s Rent Special Account until the matter is resolved.

  • Is my maintenance request urgent?

    Urgent repairs are defined as required to protect tenant health and safety, or to maintain essential services. The following issues are considered urgent repair requests:

    • burst water service
    • blocked or broken toilet system
    • serious roof leak
    • gas leak
    • dangerous electrical fault
    • flooding or serious flood damage
    • serious storm or fire damage
    • a serious fault in a staircase.
    • failure or breakdown of gas, electricity or water supply
    • any broken appliance, fitting or fixture that causes a substantial amount of water to be wasted
    • failure or breakdown of any essential service or appliance provided by your landlord or agent for hot water, cooking, heating or laundering
  • What happens if my maintenance issue requires further inspection?

    Not all issues can be described over the phone. Some times our staff will need to inspect and take photos. In these cases, the Client Services Team may request a maintenance inspection be done by an AHV staff member. 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 contractor needs to complete the repairs?

    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 about accidental damage?

    If a tenant, property occupant or visitor has caused property damage landlords can ask tenants to arrange and pay for repairs.

    If there is accidental damage an AHV staff member may visit the property to assess damage prior to arranging repairs. AHV will discuss repayment options with the tenant.

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

  • Can I install items at 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 request renovations/upgrades?

    AHV plan our property improvement projects. These types of works include replacing carpets or painting properties. AHV identify properties for upgrades in our maintenance planning. Contact AHV is you want to make a request. Please note, these projects are not part of our regular maintenance.


    For fences, 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 neighbouring property.

Client Services

  • How do I pay rent?

    Rents are charged each week on a Monday.

    You can pay your rent through:

    • Direct Debit,
    • Centrepay Deduction
    • Salary Sacrifice
    • Australia Post rent cards
    • NAB branches

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

  • 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.

    Subsidised rent is the gap between the actual rent charged and the market rent. In cases where you are not charged market rent, AHV refer to the actual rent you are charged as 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

    Market rent is determined and set independently. 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.

     

  • 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 and subsidised rent?

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

    All AHV tenants are eligible to apply for subsidised rent. AHV review tenants for subsidised rent 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.

  • 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.


    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.

     

    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 the 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 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 $0 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.

  • What happens during a fixed rent review?

    Every year AHV will conduct fixed rent reviews. All tenants will be given a minimum of 60 days notice of the market rent charge. At this time, 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.

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

    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.

    Please note, market rent is independantly set based on the private rental market in the local area by the Valuer General. 

    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 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.