In the next week or two, public housing tenants will receive a letter from the Director of Housing to advise them of any changes to their rent.
The Department of Health and Human Services conduct a rent review in February and August every year.
No tenant is expected to pay more than 25 per cent of their income towards their weekly payment amount for rent.
The below responses may help with questions you have about the rent review process.
If you have any more questions we recommend you call your local Housing Office.
To find your local Housing Office and their contact details, click here.
The Department of Health and Human Services conduct a public housing rent review in February and August every year.
During this process, the Director of Housing will request information about tenants’ current income and notify them of the opportunity to apply for a rental rebate to make sure they are paying no more than 25 per cent of their household income on rent.
For households paying market rent, rents are adjusted by an independent valuation once a year as part of the August rent review.
Every five years, the department’s independent valuation of rent also includes a physical inspection of a sample of public housing properties where the tenants are paying market rent. The Valuer General of Victoria will undertake this process.
What is market rent?
All tenancies have a market rent amount outlined in their tenancy agreement.
Based on household income, tenants might receive a rental rebate which lowers tenants’ weekly payment amount to no more than 25 per cent of their household income. Some tenants might not be eligible for a rental rebate because of a higher household income. These tenants are expected to pay the market rent.
Market rents for all public housing properties are reviewed in August each year.
What is a rental rebate?
All tenants of public housing in Victoria can apply for a rental subsidy called a rental rebate.
The difference between the tenants’ weekly payment amount and the full market rent of the property is a subsidy referred to as a rebate.
The department provides this rental rebate weekly to tenants, to make sure the amount tenants pay is no more than 25 per cent of their household income.
As the subsidy is based on household income, the amount tenants pay will increase if their household incomes increase, and decrease if their household income decreases.
Rebated rents are reviewed twice a year in February and August, but tenants can ask for their eligibility for a subsidy to be reviewed at any time.
I am paying market rent – why has my rent gone up?
The department reviews the market rent on all public housing properties yearly, following an independent valuation. This is to make sure public housing property rent values are as consistent as possible with the private rental market in the same area.
The 2019 independent assessment was undertaken by the Valuer-General Victoria.
As most private market rent values have gone up, most market rents for public housing properties have increased, although some have gone down or remained the same.
In some locations the market rent is so low that a rental rebate is not needed.
Why have they asked me for more information?
Some tenants may have been asked for more information to determine if they are eligible for a rental rebate. To assess this, details of tenants’ household incomes need to be provided.
I have asked Centrelink to give them my information – why are they asking me to provide it again?
The department uses a Centrelink Income Confirmation Service with tenants’ permission. Centrelink provides information about household and income to the department in order to correctly assess the eligibility for rental rebate.
If the information provided by Centrelink was different to current records, the department will request updated information to make sure tenants payment amounts are correctly calculated.
Tenants can submit an Application for rental rebate at any time to make sure the department has current information.
Will my increased charges be back-dated?
No – rent is calculated for a fixed rent period which starts on 4 August 2019. This means there is time for tenants to submit an Application for a rental rebate to test their eligibility and make sure they do not pay more than 25 per cent of their household income.
How many tenants are affected by this change?
Most public housing households pay a rebated rent. The changes will mainly affect those paying market rent. For tenants who pay a rebated rent there will be small rent increases because their incomes have increased in line with Centrelink payment increases.
I can’t pay this amount – what other options do I have?
Tenants can test their eligibility for a rental rebate at any time. No public housing tenant is expected to pay more than 25 per cent of their total household income in rent.
If you believe your rent amount is unfair, you can request an independent review by the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria. Any request for review must be made in writing within 30 days of receiving the notice of rent increase.
For more information about this, check out https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/ or call the renting helpline on 1300 55 81 81.
For more information about rent reviews, click here.
You can also contact your local Housing Office for assistance.