Overview

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Overview

The Private Rental Incentives Program is a head leasing scheme with financial incentives to encourage private property owners in Tasmania to make their homes available and affordable for rent to eligible people on low incomes. The Program increases choice and access for people in the private rental market.  The Program was announced under Tasmania’s Affordable Housing Action Plan 2019-2023 and will be delivered state-wide for the full four-year term.

Key features of the Program are:

  • A single community housing provider (Centacare Evolve Housing Ltd) delivers tenancy management services state-wide
  • Lease terms are for two years with guaranteed rent to the property owner
  • Rents are capped at between 25 to 30 per cent below median rental rates
  • Incentive payment to owners is between $6 000 and $ 9 000 per annum; and
  • We are mainly seeking one and two-bedroom properties close to major urban centres.

Under the Program, up to 250 secure and affordable 24 month leases will be made available to eligible low income Tasmanians. 125 leases will be signed in the first year (2019-20) and a further 125 leases in the third year (2021-2022) of the Program.

This Program was expanded as part of the Commonwealth Government’s Debt Waiver Agreement.  The expansion will see an additional 50 properties over the four years of the Program.

Interested property owners can submit an application by following the instructions available at www.communities.tas.gov.au/housing/rental-services.

Program Details

Property owners (or their agents) with approved properties will enter into a head lease and payment agreement with Centacare Evolve Housing; who are a registered and experienced Community Housing Provider. Centacare Evolve Housing then signs a sub-lease directly with the tenant.

The Program offers the following benefits for a property owner:

  • The opportunity to assist low income Tasmanian households secure affordable and stable housing
  • Receipt of a financial incentive payment (paid in two lump sums within the lease term)
  • Guaranteed rent for a 24 month lease period
  • Fee-free tenancy management for the full lease term by Centacare Evolve Housing, (an experienced and registered Community Housing Provider)  managed in accordance with the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 and
  • Regular property inspections.

The incentive payment will be made in two lump sums. Half will be paid at the beginning of the first year of the sublease (when rental payments commence), and half paid at the beginning of the second year of the sublease. Centacare Evolve Housing will disburse all rental and incentive payments to property owners.

Prescribed maximum rents and incentive amounts vary according to the property location and type across the state. Rent may be negotiated with the owner but must not be higher than the maximum capped rents (shown below) and will not change during the lease term.

Private Rental Incentives Maximum Capped Rents and Incentives

Region

Bedrooms

Maximum Rents (per week)

Incentive Amount

North West

1

$120

$14,000 ($7,000 pa)

2

$180

$14,000 ($7,000 pa)

3

$210

$12,000 ($6,000 pa)

4

$263

$12,000 ($6,000 pa)

North

1

$143

$14,000 ($7,000 pa)

2

$210

$14,000 ($7,000 pa)

3

$248

$12,000 ($6,000 pa)

4

$308

$12,000 ($6,000 pa)

South

1

$193

$18,000 ($9,000 pa)

2

$270

$18,000 ($9,000 pa)

3

$315

$18,000 ($9,000 pa)

4

$385

$16,000 ($8,000 pa)

Applicant/Tenant eligibility:

Suitable Applicants will be:

  • 18 years or older
  • Able to afford the rent and meet income thresholds
  • Able to live independently (with little to no support) and
  • Able to look after the property and meet the requirements of their lease.

If an applicant has lived in social housing before their tenancy history may be reviewed to help make the decision about whether the Program is suitable for them or not.

Applicants can enquire about their eligibility and can apply for the Program at any Housing Connect office in Tasmania.

Suitable Properties

Suitable properties will be sourced from the private rental market and be located close to public transport and essential services.

Preferred properties for this Program are:

  • Currently used for short stay accommodation
  • New to the rental market (includes new ownership of an investment property)
  • Current rental properties that are vacant at the time of application (if previously rented, the vacancy must have been tenant initiated and able to be verified).

As the Program aims to increase choice in the private rental market for

Tasmanians on a low income, properties already available at an affordable rent, or in locations where affordable supply is abundant are unlikely to be selected for the Program.

If the property is being purchased and is awaiting settlement, written notification of settlement from a Solicitor will be required.

Properties must also:

  • Meet minimum standards as per the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 and be fit for purpose to suit the needs of the eligible applicants
  • Be adequately insured throughout the lease term and evidence of this insurance provided to Centacare Evolve Housing, prior to signing the head lease and payment agreement and
  • Be available to rent for a minimum of 24 months.

Preference will be given to properties that are in high demand by applicants. Highest applicant demand is for one and two-bedroom properties throughout the State, located close to major urban centres.

Properties that allow pets will also be given preference.

Properties are not required to be furnished.

National Rental Affordability Scheme Properties

With the Commonwealth Government’s National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) coming to an end, the Tasmanian Government has amended the eligibility criteria for properties under the Private Rental Incentives Program.

Communities Tasmania will apply discretion for properties that are not new to the rental market and tenanted at the time of application for properties exiting NRAS.

Where an NRAS property owner is considering applying for the Private Rental Incentives Program their current tenant can contact Housing Connect to be assessed for the Private Rental Incentives Program. If eligible, they will be placed on the Housing Register.

If the NRAS property is approved by Communities Tasmania for the Private Rental Incentives Program, the tenant can sign a lease with Centacare Evolve Housing; a registered and experienced community housing provider.

NRAS properties will only have discretion applied to their application when current tenants are assessed as eligible.

Property Approval Process

Property assessments are completed in a two-stage process.  A desktop assessment of the property application material is conducted to confirm basic eligibility and demand for that property type and location.  A physical inspection of the property is then undertaken by Centacare Evolve Housing (the tenancy manager) to ensure the property is fit for purpose.

Property approvals are driven by applicant demand in terms of property location, size (number of bedrooms) and property type (stand alone or conjoined). Approval of properties is at the discretion of the Department of Communities.

Property assessments will also make the necessary investigations to ensure no existing tenants are being displaced by the Program. and choice in the private rental market for low income Tasmanians is increased.

If a property is approved, a property owner will enter into a head lease and a payment agreement with Centacare Evolve Housing for a 24 month term.

Centacare Evolve Housing will then allocate the property to a suitable tenant. This will involve showing the property to prospective tenants before a tenant is selected and sub-lease signed. Once the sublease has been signed with a tenant, the first incentive instalment will be paid to the property owner and rental payments will commence.

The average timeframe for the property approval and allocation process is four weeks. Payments are not made during the approval and allocations period, they start once the sublease has commenced.

Shared tenancies are not permitted under this Program.

Centacare Evolve Housing is not required to pay a bond under the head lease agreement with the property owner.

Terminations

Both the head lease and the Residential Tenancy Agreement can only be terminated by any party in accordance with the Residential Tenancy Act 1997.

The sale or transfer of a property is not a reason for termination for fixed term tenancies.

Termination of Residential Tenancy Agreement (sub-lease)

If the sub-lease is terminated either by Centacare Evolve Housing or the tenant, Centacare Evolve Housing will find another suitable, eligible applicant.

Rent will continue to be paid to the property owner by Centacare Evolve Housing whilst a sub-lease is in place; including periods of vacancy.

Termination of head lease

If the head lease is terminated either by Centacare Evolve Housing or the property owner:

  • Tenancy management by Centacare Evolve Housing will cease
  • Weekly rental payments will cease
  • Incentive payments will cease and
  • Incentive payments will be required to be re-paid pro rata in accordance with the payment agreement.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the incentive payment affect my income/pension and is the incentive taxable?

It is recommended that you contact your financial advisor or Centrelink (where applicable) prior to submitting your Property Application Form to discuss how the incentive payment may affect you.

My property is currently for sale, can I apply?

No. Properties must not be for sale at the time of application.

What happens if I want/need to sell my property during the head lease?

We appreciate circumstances may change for a property owner that requires them to sell their property during the term of the head lease.

If this circumstance arises, you must inform Centacare Evolve Housing of your intention to sell the property and disclose to any potential buyer that there is a head lease in place for a fixed term. The new owner will be required to sign a head lease and payment agreement for the balance duration of the initial head lease.

Once a contract of sale has been signed you must comply with the notification periods of the Residential Tenancy Act 1997. You must also inform the Centacare Evolve Housing of the expected settlement date.

A calculation will be made on the incentive payment received and a pro rata amount will be required to be paid back to the Department of Communities by the owner. The Department will then pay the pro rata payment to Centacare Evolve Housing to disburse to the new owner.

I am building or thinking of building a property – can I apply for the Program?

No. We are unable to accept properties that are under construction or are in the planning stage.

A requirement at the time of application is that properties must meet minimum standards as set out in the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 and be ready for occupancy.

Property approval is also based on tenant demand at the time of property application.

My current tenant is on a low income, can I receive the incentive?

No. Existing tenancies are not eligible for the Program.

The intent of the Program is to increase choice for low income Tasmanian in the private rental market.

Can I end my current tenancy so I can apply for the Program?

No. We will only accept vacant properties or recently ended tenancies that are tenant initiated. We will ask for proof to verify this.

Tenancies can only be ended for the reasons set out in the Residential Tenancy Act 1997.

We conduct a number of checks to ensure existing tenants are not displaced by this program.

I know a person on a low income, can I rent my property to them directly through this Program?

No. Eligible tenants for this Program must have an approved Private Rental Incentives Program application (completed with Housing Connect). Centacare Evolve Housing will then allocate tenants based on best fit for the property.

Why do I need to provide evidence of insurance (Certificate of Currency)?

It is an eligibility requirement of the Program that a property is adequately insured. This includes building insurance as well as cover for property damage by the tenant (landlord insurance). A Certificate of Currency must be sighted by and provided to the Centacare Evolve Housing prior to signing the head lease and payment agreement. The required insurance must be maintained throughout the entire tenancy.

Who do I contact if there is an issue during the term of the lease?

Your first point of contact to discuss any issues is Centacare Evolve Housing who is managing your tenancy.

If however, you are unable to resolve the issue, please contact Department’s Private Rental Incentive Property Consultant (contact details below).

The Residential Tenancy Act 1997 sets out the legislative obligations for tenants and property owners.

Further Information

Further information about Private Rental Incentives Program is available via the options listed below:

Website: https://www.communities.tas.gov.au/housing/tasmanian_affordable_housing_strategy/key-projects/private-rental-incentive

Email:     housing.privaterentals@communities.tas.gov.au

Phone:   Private Rental Property Officer

Mark Riley (03) 6166 3625

Centacare Evolve Housing Ltd.

www.catholiccaretas.org.au

Residential Tenancy Act 1997 (Tas) (including property minimum standards)

www.legislation.tas.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-1997-082

Consumer, Building and Occupational Services:

www.cbos.tas.gov.au/topics/housing