In September 2013, Housing NSW sent out notices to public housing tenants to tell them that their rent is being increased. The increases are up to $300 per week. The increases apply only to tenants who pay market rent.
Most public housing tenants receive a rental subsidy and also pay 25 per cent of their income in rent. The increase will not change the rent of tenants who receive a rental subsidy.
Some tenants pay market rent because they work part-time or because they have a family member living with them who has an income. For tenants who pay market rent, the increase will automatically take effect unless the tenant makes an application to Housing NSW to get a rebate, or makes an application to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal about the increase. A tenant can make an application to the Tribunal if they believe the increase is excessive. Tenants have 30 days to apply to the Tribunal after getting the notice.
Housing NSW sets the market rent for the property based on the rent a private tenant would pay for a similar property in the same location. It is not based on the individual property. This is problematic because private properties often have additional features and amenities that public housing properties don’t.
When a public tenant makes an application to the Tribunal about a rent increase, Housing NSW will have an assessor value the premises. RLC ran two drop in clinics this month to assist tenants who have received rent increase notices.