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Department for Communities and Social Inclusion

South Australian Housing Trust

Private Rental Assistance Program policy

The Private Rental Assistance Program provides financial assistance to eligible people with low to moderate incomes who either:

  • have difficulty meeting the upfront costs associated with accessing private rental accommodation
  • need help to maintain their accommodation.

This policy sets out:

  • who’s eligible for the Private Rental Assistance Program
  • what Housing SA considers to be special circumstances
  • the types of assistance Housing SA may approve
  • the amount of assistance Housing SA can provide.

Basic eligibility conditions

People are eligible if they meet all of the below conditions:

  • they have an independent income
  • they meet the Private Rental Assistance Program income and liquid asset limits
  • they can show proof of identity, income and rent
  • the total property rent is no more than $450 per week
  • the rent is no more than 50% of the household’s income before tax
  • the property being rented is in South Australia
  • they owe less than $1,000 to Housing SA and have a debt arrangement in place
  • they aren’t bankrupt with a debt to Housing SA
  • they don't have an interest in a residential property
  • they aren’t an overseas student
  • renting the property won’t contravene the conditions of an intervention order.

Liquid assets

A customer with household liquid assets of more than $5,000 isn’t eligible under basic eligibility conditions.

A liquid asset means any cash and funds that are readily available to the customer and their partner - eg cash in bank, shares, term deposit or other money available at short notice.

Debt

Customers with a debt to Housing SA of more than $1,000 aren’t eligible for financial assistance, even if they have a debt arrangement in place.

Customers with a debt to Housing SA of $1,000 or less may be eligible for financial assistance provided they either:

  • repay the debt in full before financial assistance is provided
  • have an arrangement to repay the date when they are assessed for financial assistance, and the arrangement is still in place when it’s provided.

Bankrupt with a Housing SA debt

Customers who are bankrupt with a debt to Housing SA aren’t eligible until either:

  • the bankruptcy is discharged
  • they’re assessed as having special circumstances.

Special circumstances

Housing SA may help someone who isn’t eligible but has special circumstances. The customer needs to contact Housing SA for an interview to assess their circumstances.

A person’s considered to have special circumstances if any of the following apply:

  • they’re moving due to domestic abuse
  • they need to move because their safety is at risk
  • they can substantiate that they’re homeless because they don’t have access to safe, secure accommodation - eg staying in a shelter
  • they’re experiencing a housing crisis - eg a residential property owner who has to leave due to a relationship breakdown
  • they have a serious health or disability issue that hinders access to private rental accommodation - eg they’re in a wheelchair and need a property with modifications
  • they’re experiencing temporary financial hardship.

Types of financial assistance

Bond guarantees

A bond guarantee is an undertaking to a property owner, agent or proprietor that Housing SA will pay for verified claims for unpaid rent or other tenant charges at the end of the tenancy.

Bond guarantees are provided when the bond must be lodged under the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 or the Residential Parks Act 2007.

Bond cheques

Housing SA pays the bond as a cheque for accommodation that isn’t covered under the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 or the Residential Parks Act 2007.

A cheque is made payable directly to the property owner, agency or proprietor.

Rent in advance

Rent in advance is a grant based on the amount of rent payable at the time of the customer’s assessment, and the type of accommodation they are moving into.

Rent in advance won’t be provided after a customer has moved into a property.

Housing SA doesn’t provide rent in advance for debentured community housing.

Rent in arrears

If a person has fallen behind in rent and is at risk of being evicted from their private rental tenancy, they may be eligible for financial assistance to pay their rent arrears.

People are eligible for rent in arrears if they meet the basic eligibility conditions or have special circumstances, and they meet all of the extra conditions below:

  • they live in private rental
  • they don’t live in community housing
  • they have exhausted all reasonable avenues to meet the full cost of their arrears with their landlord
  • their housing security is at risk if payment isn’t made - eg a notice of termination has been served or is imminent
  • the accommodation is affordable and sustainable in the medium to long term.

Approving financial assistance

Housing SA won’t provide financial assistance for the following types of accommodation:

  • boarding in the family home
  • a hotel or motel, unless it’s provided in line with the Emergency accommodation policy
  • within an educational institution or college
  • hospital or club premises
  • a health related facility - eg nursing home, home for aged or disabled persons, mental health hostel, rest home
  • retirement village where a premium is paid in order to live there
  • public or Aboriginal housing - eg as a tenant, other occupant
  • caravan hire or site fees sited somewhere other than a long stay caravan park or camp ground
  • public housing properties transferred to and managed by community housing.

Regardless of the customer’s special circumstances, Housing SA won’t approve the assistance if any of the following apply:

  • the property being rented isn’t in South Australia
  • the person is an overseas student
  • moving into the property will contravene the conditions of an intervention order.

Amount of assistance

Bond

Customers moving into rooming houses may receive a bond guarantee of up to two weeks’ rent.

Customers moving into caravan parks may receive a bond of up to four weeks’ rent.

Customers moving into other types of accommodation may receive a bond of up to four weeks’ rent, or six weeks’ rent if the rent is more than $250 per week.

Rent in advance

Customers can receive up to a maximum of one week’s rent in advance if they haven’t exceeded the maximum limit of assistance.

Customers with special circumstances who can demonstrate temporary financial hardship may be approved up to two weeks’ rent in advance.

Customers moving into rooming houses are only eligible for up to one week’s rent in advance in line with the Residential Tenancies Act 1995.

Rent in arrears

Eligible customers may receive up to one week’s rent in arrears if they haven’t exceeded the maximum limit of assistance.

Maximum limit of assistance

The maximum limit of rent assistance an applicant can receive in a two year period is four weeks’ rent. This includes any combination of rent in advance and rent in arrears.

Claims against a bond

Housing SA may investigate and dispute a claim against a Housing SA bond made by a private property owner, agent or proprietor to check the claim’s legitimate.

If all or part of a Housing SA bond is claimed, it becomes a debt the customer owes to Housing SA. Debts must be repaid in full in line with the Debt policy.

If a customer’s bond is claimed as a result of domestic abuse perpetrated by another person, it’s managed in line with the Domestic abuse policy.

Related information

Controlling documents

Supporting guideline

  • Private rental assistance program procedures v 24.1

Related policies and other documents

Date this policy applies from

14 June 2017

Version number

24.1

The online version of the policy is the approved and current version. There is no guarantee that any printed copies are current.


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State Government of South Australia © Copyright DCSI .

Provided by:
Department for Communities and Social Inclusion
URL:
http://dcsi.sa.gov.au/services/housing-sa/housing-trust-policies/Private-rental-programs/private-rental-assistance-program-policy
Last Updated:
28 Oct 2016
Printed on:
13 Dec 2017
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