The purpose of this policy is to outline the circumstances in which Homes North agrees to transfer a social housing tenancy to another household member.
This policy applies to all Homes North social housing tenancies.
Homes North is committed to addressing the changing circumstances of tenants.
Succession of tenancy is when Homes North agrees to transfer a tenant’s right to live in a Homes North property to another member of their household. This may come about if a tenant dies, goes into care or is imprisoned. Homes North will recognise the changing needs of tenants in relation to the property they occupy and will endeavour to meet their needs in the most appropriate way.
This policy outlines how Homes North assesses requests for another household member to succeed a tenancy, including general and specific criteria they are required to meet and circumstances where exceptions may be made.
Unless otherwise stated, an applicant for succession of tenancy must meet the following criteria:
Homes North will not approve succession of tenancy if:
If the applicant is the tenant’s spouse, Homes North will approve succession if:
If Homes North accepts an applicant is the de facto partner of the tenant, they will have the same right to succession as a spouse. Where an applicant for succession claims to be the de facto partner of the tenant, Homes North must verify the relationship is de facto. This verification is based on the NSW (Relationships) Act 1984. This Act gives important rights to de facto partners when settling private property and other assets. The Act defines a de facto relationship as a relationship between two adult persons of the same or opposite sex, who:
The Act gives additional property rights to adults who have been in a de facto relationship for two or more years. To verify a de-facto relationship, Homes North will consider such information as Centrelink income statements, Homes North’s records of when the applicant joined the tenancy and the history of the tenancy. When it is difficult to determine the nature of the relationship, an appropriate Homes North officer may ask to interview the applicant.
If Homes North does not accept on evidence that a de facto relationship exists, the applicant may re-apply for succession on the basis of being a household member other than the spouse or de facto partner of the tenant.
If the applicant is a household member other than the spouse or de facto partner, the applicant will be eligible for succession if:
Two years is the standard minimum length of time the applicant must have belonged to the household (or the whole of the tenancy if it is less than two years old). If the applicant is a carer, Homes North will not approve succession if the carer has maintained their own accommodation separate to that of the tenant’s dwelling, regardless of whether it is in the public or private rental market. If the applicant has relinquished a Homes North tenancy to act as a carer to another person, then succession to that tenancy may be granted even if they have not been part of that household for the past two years.
Homes North may approve succession if the applicant agrees in writing to live in the property and continue to provide care for the children who are household members. Should the applicant not meet the eligibility criteria for social housing, succession may be granted if:
In such circumstances, it may be necessary for Homes North to liaise with the Department of Family & Community Services to ensure that this is the best option for the children involved. If the applicant has applied for permanent custody, Homes North may approve succession on the condition the applicant agrees in writing to relinquish the tenancy if their custody application is not successful.
If the applicant was recently released from prison or institutionalised care and they used to live in the tenancy, they must meet other common eligibility criteria for succession and any other specific criteria that apply. Homes North will assess the application on its merit.
Factors that Homes North will consider are the likelihood of the applicant living in the household had they not been in prison or institutionalised care, the tenancy history and their ability to otherwise meet their housing needs.
Tenants who intend on being absent from their home must appoint an agent to care for the property while they are away. Homes North will not approve succession to appointed agents unless they are the tenant’s spouse or de facto partner.
Applicants who have been granted succession of tenancy will be offered the same type of tenancy as the previous tenant.
If the previous tenant was on a fixed term lease, the spouse or partner will be offered the remainder of that fixed term lease unless the succession of tenancy occurs between the lease review date and the lease end date. In this case the spouse or partner will be offered a new fixed term lease based on an assessment of their current household circumstances.
If the previous tenant was on a continuous lease, this will be offered to the new tenant.
Applicants are required to complete the FACS Application for Housing Assistance form and Home North Application for Succession of Tenancy form. Where possible, the application should be submitted at least 21 days before the tenant leaves the property, or as soon as possible in circumstances such as the death, sudden illness or imprisonment of the tenant.
All applications will be dealt with as soon as possible after the application is lodged, Homes North will write to the client to acknowledge receipt within 2 working days and inform them of Homes North’s intention to respond within 20 working days. Homes North may also keep the client informed about the progress of their application during this period if necessary.
Homes North will offer the tenancy to the applicant to an Homes North property they are currently living in, or a different property that matches the applicant’s needs.
Homes North will offer a fixed term lease of 3 months to allow time for household members to source alternative housing. Homes North will deal with this in a compassionate manner, taking into consideration the applicant’s circumstances.
Homes North may take action in the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
The applicant has the right to appeal the decision.
This policy is subject to change from time to time at the discretion of Homes North. Where a staff member is observed to not be working within the scope of this policy, the breach will be addressed by a Senior Housing Manager.
It is the responsibility of:
Chief Executive Officer to ensure this policy and associated procedures are applied and committed to by the Senior Management Team.
Operations Manager, Housing Managers, Asset Manager to ensure familiarity with this policy and related procedures, to commit to following them accordingly and where relevant, promote the policy to their teams.
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.
Contact Homes North on 6772 5133 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Standard 1.3 – Changing Needs of Tenants
Policy Number: 1.3.1\2
Adopted: 13 July 2017