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This policy relates to tenant requests to Homes North to carry out modifications to the property they live in. Assisting people to live independently in their current home by providing modifications gives them the opportunity to stay at home rather than living in a nursing home or other care facility.
Applicant – the person who makes the formal application for housing assistance
Tenant – the person who signs the Residential Tenancy Agreement with Homes North
Resident – a person who lives in the property on a permanent basis
Spouse – a husband or wife considered in relation to their partner
Household members – all people living in the home regardless of age or relationship
4. Policy Statement
Homes North is committed to responding to requests for property modifications to accommodate for tenants or household members with special needs. Modifications are changes that we make to a property because a tenant or household member has an identified need that means their current property no longer suits their needs. A modification may also be necessary so that an incoming tenant is able to enjoy the property as mentioned in Purpose.
An assessment will be made to identify the necessary and reasonable modifications required to a property to allow a tenant or household member to continue to reside or take up residency. Homes North will discuss the circumstances with the occupational therapist and the tenant to determine those modifications that could be made within the meaning and requirements of appropriate legislation.
4.1 Types of modifications
Modifications are grouped into two categories: minor and major modifications.
Minor Modifications – involve non-structural work, such as:
A hand held shower
Minor modifications are generally those costing under $2,000.
Major Modifications are considered to be all modification of over $2,000 in value and usually involve structural changes, such as:
Widening door ways
Changing the kitchen, bathroom or laundry
Replacement of floor coverings
Work that requires a Development Application (DA) approval
Prior to modifications being approved, Homes North will undertake a review of all options including:
Undertaking an assessment of the request to ensure modifications meet both the current and likely future needs of the person requiring the modifications.
Consideration of financial resources to complete the requested work.
Long term value of the property.
Costs of alternative options.
The cost and possible benefits of relocating the tenant and household members
Can the tenant sustain the tenancy.
4.2 Requests for modifications
The tenant must make a request and supply supporting documentation. For minor modifications supporting documentation may include medical certificates or a written report from a doctor or health care professional. For major repairs an Occupational Therapist or Specialist report must be provided.
4.3 Requests for modifications to a leasehold property
Homes North will not undertake modifications to leasehold properties. Homes North may negotiate with the landlord on behalf of the tenant to undertake modifications. If a need for a major modification has been identified and the landlord has declined the request Homes North will consider alternative options such as, re-housing when a suitable property becomes available.
4.4 Assessing requests for modifications
Once an application for modifications and supporting document has been received, Homes North’s tenancy team will assess the application. They will consider:
The tenant’s ability to sustain their tenancy if modifications are undertaken.
Whether it is economically viable to undertake the modifications and,
Inspect the property with relevant support person to ensure the property is modifiable.
Once the request has been assessed and a decision has been made the tenant will be advised in writing within twenty (20) working days. If a decision cannot be achieved within this timeframe the tenant will be provided with an update of the assessment in writing.
If the person with the disability moves out of the property Homes North will discuss with the remaining occupants the possibility of relocating to another property so that a suitable client can be matched to the modified property.
4.5 If modifications can not be undertaken
If modifications are not economically viable or will not improve the quality of life of the person requesting the modifications, Homes North may transfer the tenant to another property that matches their needs when one becomes available (see Transfer Policy).
4.6 Appealing decisions
If a client believes Homes North has made a wrong decision they should ask for a formal review of the decision. To do this, the client needs to complete an Appeals Form stating why they disagree with the decision (See our Complaints and Feedback Factsheet, Appeals Factsheet and an Appeals Form).
If the client (known now as an appellant) is dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal appeal process they can proceed to make an appeal to the independent Housing Appeals Committee (HAC). Homes North will advise the appellant how to lodge an appeal with HAC. Alternatively, they may access the HAC on free call on 1800 629 794. The HAC is an independent appeals agency for all NSW social housing clients.
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.