This document defines Homes North’s approach to ensuring tenancies are not left vacant for long periods of time.
This policy applies to all tenants of Homes North.
Homes North is committed to maintaining tenancies.
This policy outlines the circumstances and timeframes where an absence can be approved.
Social housing is a scarce resource and a valuable asset for those in need. Homes North balances the specific needs of tenants with the need to maximise property usage as homes and not to leave properties vacant for long periods.
This document outlines Homes North’s policy on tenants being absent from their homes for more than six weeks.
Homes North will not approve absences of more than twelve months in total, in any 5 year period.
When Homes North provides a property for a client, they are expected to live in the property. Homes North will approve an absence from the property if it is satisfied that the tenant has maintained a successful tenancy for 12 months or more and has an acceptable reason for being away and all rental and non rental accounts are paid up to date. Acceptable reasons for absences of up to three months include:
Homes North will not approve repeat absences relating to holidays, assisting with immigration matters in the country of origin or employment or training.
The tenant must obtain written approval from Homes North to be away from their home for more than six weeks. Homes North may approve for a tenant to be absent from their dwelling in excess of six weeks and up to three months if it is satisfied that the property will be maintained, rent and water charges will continue to be paid during the absence.
If a tenant is away without approval, or has stayed away for longer than the time approved, Homes North may decide to:
If the tenant is to enter a nursing home, Homes North will not approve requests for absence beyond the initial three months. The tenant should relinquish the tenancy or ask Homes North to consider an application for succession of tenancy from a remaining household member.
If the agent is not currently a member of the household and wants to live in the property while the tenant is away, they must apply to Homes North to become an authorised additional occupant.
Although the tenant must appoint an agent for the time they are away, the tenant is still legally responsible for meeting their obligations under the tenancy agreement.
Any breaches that occur while the tenant is away may result in Homes North taking action in the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) to take possession of the property.
Tenants who intend being absent from their home must appoint an agent to care for the property while they are away. Homes North will not approve succession of tenancy to an appointed agent unless they are already an authorised additional occupant, or they are the tenant’s spouse or de- facto partner currently living in the property.
Homes North will consider each case on its merit. The application for succession must meet all requirements of the Homes North Policy for Succession of Tenancy. If an application for succession is not successful and the tenant does not return to the property, Homes North may seek termination of the tenancy through the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
This policy is subject to change from time to time at the discretion of Homes North. Where an individual is observed to not be working within the scope of this policy, the breach will be addressed by a team leader.
It is the responsibility of the:
Chief Executive Officer to ensure this policy and associated procedures are applied and committed to by the Senior Management Team.
Senior Housing Managers & Asset Manager to provide the team with timely policy-related support and guidance, to ensure familiarity with this policy and related procedures, to commit to following them accordingly and where relevant, promote the policy to their team.
Employees to ensure they comply with this policy, be responsible for their own behaviour and if required, attend relevant training as provided by the company from time to time.
Standard 1.3.2 – Utilisation of Housing Stock Policy information
Policy no: 1.3.2\1