Tenants with Sustainable Incomes over $94,855.70 per Annum Policy

1 December 2014

Tenants with Sustainable Incomes over $94,855.70 Per Annum Policy [PDF 166KB] [Word 224KB]

Purpose
Scope
Background
Policy Overview
Terms of Reference
Operational Guideline

Purpose

The Sustainable Incomes Policy is aimed at ensuring that the provision of public housing assistance remains focused on those people in the Community who have the most need for assistance.

Scope

The Sustainable Incomes Policy will be applied to existing tenants who meet the following criteria:

  • Income/s of the tenant and their domestic partner exceed $94,855.70 gross per annum, adjusted yearly for CPI, for two or more consecutive years
  • Tenants are paying market rent
  • Tenant/s income is sustainable in the longer term

In addition to meeting the above personal criteria other personal circumstances such as age, disability, carer responsibility including foster or kinship care and serious health conditions and ability to borrow or rent in the private market will be taken into consideration.

Housing ACT will establish a Sustainable Incomes Multi Disciplinary Panel consisting of senior managers from across the ACT Government, Community representative and a representative from the business sector. The panel will take into account all the relevant factors of tenants before making a recommendation to the delegate.

Tenants will be provided with written advice that their housing assistance is being reviewed by the Panel and will be invited to provide any additional information regarding their circumstances for the Panels consideration.

Authorisation

This policy is authorised under section 25 (1) & (2a) of the Housing Assistance Act 2007.

Background

The Sustainable Incomes Policy builds on changes to the Housing Assistance Act that was announced publicly in 2007. One of these reforms specifically related to tenants and their domestic partners who have a sustainable combined gross income exceeding $94,855.70 gross per annum, adjusted yearly for CPI.

In response to these changes Housing ACT has been monitoring the incomes of tenants who pay market rent with the 2007-08 financial years the first year that this information was collected.

The policy aims to ensure that the housing system remains as flexible as possible and that housing assistance is focused and targeted to those people in the community who are most in need.

Tenants with a combined income exceeding $94,855.70 gross per annum, adjusted yearly for CPI, over two or more consecutive years will be encouraged to purchase their current home or another dwelling in the private market or consider private rental accommodation.

Policy Overview

Housing ACT will monitor the incomes of tenants and their domestic partners who pay market rent. The incomes of children, (including adult children) will not be taken into account nor will exempt incomes such as Carer Allowance and Family Tax Benefit Part B.

Tenants who pay market rent and do not provide Housing ACT with their incomes details will be issued a 26 week no cause notice of eviction. If tenants provide their income details within the 26 week period the no cause notice will be withdrawn.

Where a tenant and / or their domestic partner has an income in excess of $94,855.70 gross per annum, adjusted yearly for CPI, for two or more consecutive years Housing ACT will carry out an assessment of the tenants continuing need for housing assistance.

An assessment will be undertaken by the Sustainable Incomes Multi Disciplinary Panel consisting of senior officers from across ACT Government and independent Community and Business representatives. The terms of reference for the Sustainable Incomes Multi Disciplinary Panel are at Attachment A of this policy.

Tenants will receive written advice that their housing assistance is being reviewed and provided 14 days to submit additional information to the Panel for consideration.

Circumstances including age, disability, financial status, assets and liabilities, carer responsibility and serious health conditions will be taken into consideration by the panel.

Where tenants’ incomes are considered sustainable in the long term and there are no other circumstances that warrant the continuation of housing assistance, tenants will be transitioned to a range of alternatives including:

  • Purchase of their current property (where available) under the Sale to Tenant or Shared Equity programs;
  • Purchase of another Housing ACT property under the Targeted Shared Equity program;
  • Purchase a property from the private market; and
  • Private rental.

Where tenants present with circumstances that do warrant continuing housing assistance the Panel will recommend either continued monitoring of the tenants income or no further monitoring is required.

Where tenants disagree with the decision of the Panel, a review by the Housing Assistance and Tenancy Review Panel (HATRP) will be available.

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ATTACHMENT A

Terms of Reference Sustainable Income Multi Disciplinary Panel

Purpose

The Sustainable Income Multi Disciplinary Panel (the Panel) is a group that has been established to determine whether tenants and their domestic partner (if applicable) who are currently residing in Public Housing have sustainable incomes that would enable them to secure their own private tenure.

Functions

The functions of the panel are:

a) To examine tenants’ personal circumstances against a broad set of criteria to determine if their income is sustainable so that they can secure their own private tenure; and

b) To make a recommendation to the delegate who will make a decision as to whether to issue a termination notice to the tenant.

Membership

Chair of the Panel

The chair of the Panel is the Senior Manager, Housing Initiatives.

In the absence of the Panel chair, should appoint an alternative delegate to chair the meeting. If the chair has not delegated the chair duty, an Executive from Housing and Community Services will appoint a replacement. The replacement may be any Senior Manager from Housing and Community Services.

Members

  • Senior Manager Housing Initiatives (chair);
  • Management Representatives (ie Executives and Senior Officers from the Community Services Directorate, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons);
  • A representative from the Treasury Directorate;
  • A Community Representative (ie an officer nominated by the Executive of a Regional Community Services); and
  • A business representative from the Housing and Community Services real estate agents, valuers, solicitors or asset consultants.

Observers

The panel chair may invite observers to view the process of the panel.

Frequency of meetings

The Panel will meet on an as needed basis, however, it is expected that it will be required to meet approximately 20 times per annum, in the second half of the calendar year.

The Panel secretariat is responsible for maintaining a calendar and informing members of meetings.

Reporting

The Panel reports to the Housing and Community Services Executive through the chair. The Panel will provide a quarterly summary of progress to the Director General of the Community Services Directorate.

Documentation

The secretariat will distribute to members 3 business days prior to the scheduled meeting, a summary of the financial and personal circumstances of each tenant to be reviewed at the meeting.

Functions of the Panel

The Panel is to undertake the following activities:

  • Prior to the Panel meeting, members are to review each case and consider whether they believe the tenants’ income is sustainable;
  • Members will review up to 15 cases at each meeting;
  • Members will then discuss each case and endeavour to make a joint recommendation to the delegate regarding whether the tenants income is sustainable; and
  • Members will consider the cost to rent privately, purchase privately and purchase through the Sale to Tenant and Shared Equity scheme. Further consideration may be given to age, disability, assets and liabilities of the clients.

Quorum

A quorum shall consist of the chair and at least two others, although it is preferable for 3 other members. One of the members should be external to the ACT Government. At least one member must be external to Housing and Community Services.

Reviewing the Terms of Reference

The committee will review the Terms of Reference.

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Operational Guideline

Sustainable Income Multi Disciplinary Panel

Purpose

To provide guidance to the sustainable income multi disciplinary panel members on the application of what constitutes a sustainable income.

This guideline is written in accordance with the Housing Assistance Act 2007, clause
Section 25 of the Housing Assistance Act which empowers the Housing Commissioner to require an existing public housing tenant to provide specified information that the commissioner reasonably needs for a range of purposes. These include the review of housing assistance being provided to the tenant.

25 Housing assistance recipients - requirement for
Information
(1) This section applies if an entity is receiving housing assistance.
(2) The housing commissioner may, at any time, require the entity to
give the commissioner stated information that the commissioner
reasonably needs -

  • to review the housing assistance being provided to the entity;

What is a sustainable income:
The Sustainable Incomes Policy is applied to existing tenants who meet the following criteria:

  • Income/s of the tenant and their domestic partner exceed $94,855.70 gross per annum for two or more consecutive years
  • Tenants are paying market rent
  • Tenant/s income is sustainable in the longer term

In addition to meeting the above personal criteria other personal circumstances such as age, disability, carer responsibility including foster or kinship care and serious health conditions and ability to borrow or rent in the private market will be taken into consideration.

The panel will consider all relevant factors that Housing ACT including information provided by tenants as to their personal circumstances.

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Considerations

  • Age

Where a tenant and their domestic partner are of an age where they are about to retire and have limited or no superannuation entitlements and will be dependant on the aged pension.

Where a tenant and their domestic partner are of an age where they will not be able to secure a bank loan to purchase a property.

Where a tenant and their domestic partner are of an age where other factors such as medical factors are forcing early retirement and there is no real superannuation entitlements and will be dependant on the aged pension.

  • Carer Responsibility

Where a tenant and their domestic partner have care responsibilities either kinship, foster or other care requirements and this impacts on their ability to secure either a loan to purchase a dwelling or rent in the private market.

Where a tenant and their domestic partner have care responsibilities either kinship, foster or other care requirements and this impacts on the cost of purchase or private rental due to the size of the property required.

  • Financial

Where a tenant and their domestic partner has incomes that are not sustainable in the longer term due to the end of a contract, loss of employment or unstable employment.

  • Disability

Where a tenant and their domestic partner has a disability that requires expensive medical treatments.

Where a tenant and their domestic partner has a disability that requires disabled modifications that are not available in the private market or unaffordable.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Where a tenant and their domestic partner or children are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander decent.

  • Health Conditions

Where a tenant and their domestic partner are experiencing severe or chronic health conditions that may impact on income levels or the ability to work. Also where a tenant’s condition is terminal or requires a high level of medical expense to maintain.

The above scenarios are examples, are not exhaustive and are not intended to limit the range of circumstances that might potentially be considered in the review of housing assistance.

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