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How your rent is calculated

Information for public housing tenants

We use your total household’s assessable income to calculate your rent.

You will pay rent based on 25% of your total household's assessable income or your property market rent—whichever is lower.

The market rent is based on rent charged for a similar private rental property.

Note: Your rent can change after you move in; for example, your income may change or someone leaves or joins the household. We review your household income regularly.

Rent subsidy

Your rent subsidy is the difference between the rent you pay and the market rent for your property. We subsidise the difference to make sure your rent is affordable.

For example: The weekly market rent for your home is $180. If the weekly rent you pay for your public housing property is $100, your weekly household rent subsidy is $80.

Types of income assessed

  • Pensions, benefits and some allowances paid by the Department of Human Services (Centrelink) and Department of Veterans' Affairs
  • Family Tax Benefit
  • Wages, salaries and work allowances such as overtime, bonuses, shift allowances and penalty rates
  • Income such as regular superannuation, compensation, interest from savings, maintenance and lump sum payments

We will also average your previous 4 weeks of earnings from:

  • casual earnings
  • overtime
  • bonuses
  • allowances
  • other income which varies.

Types of income not assessed

Incomes that are non-assessable for rent assessment purposes are:

  • earned income, such as wages, casual earnings, self-employment income, bonuses and commission of household members aged 24 years or less who are not the tenant or the tenant’s spouse
  • a one-off payment, such as payments for natural disasters
  • a reimbursement or partial payment to offset other costs, such as mobility allowance, pension supplement, allowances for telephone, utilities and GST
  • discretionary income paid as an earn-and-learn incentive, such as education entry payment
  • payments that support broader government objectives, such as payments to carers allowance.

If you’re self-employed

If you’re a contractor or self-employed, you must provide both:

  • your last notice of assessment from the Australian Taxation Office for the previous financial year
  • details of any Centrelink payments you may receive

If your business has been operating for less than 12 months, your rent is based on the Department of Human Services (Centrelink) payment you would be eligible for if you weren’t a contractor or self-employed.

Changes to your income

If your household or your income changes, we will ask you to supply income details for your household.

You must tell your nearest Housing Service Centre about the change within 28 days. If you don’t tell us, your rent may be backdated.

If you have no income

If you have no income or a very low income, or you can’t verify your income, we’ll assess you as having an income based on the equivalent Department of Human Services (Centrelink) payment that most closely aligns with your circumstances, even if you don’t qualify to receive payments.

You may have an income assessed for you if:

  • receive a reduced payment because of a breach of your obligations to receive a payment
  • work part time or receive a low income and you’ve chosen not to receive an income from the Department of Human Services.

When visitors affect your rent

A visitor can stay up to 4 weeks without affecting your rent. If they’re staying longer, you must tell us that someone has moved in within 28 days of them arriving. If you don’t tell us, your rent may be backdated.

How to calculate your rent

When we calculate how much rent you’ll pay, we assess your earned income (wages, casual earning, interest, etc.) on the after-tax amount.

These are tax rates for various income ranges (in line with the Australian Tax Office tax rates). Follow the steps below to calculate your approximate rent.

Income ($)

Tax rate (%)

0–18,200

0

18,201–37,000

19

37,001–90,000

32.5

90,001–180,000

37

180,001+

45

  1. Calculate your tax amount using the tax rate that applies to your gross (before tax) income amount.
  2. Deduct the tax amount from your gross income amount to get your after-tax earned income amount.
  3. Add together any Centrelink income your household receives, including Family Tax Benefit.
  4. Add together the after-tax earned income amount and total Centrelink amount.
  5. Calculate 25% of this total.

If this amount is less than the market rent for your property, this amount is your approximate rent.

If this amount is more than the market rent, you will only pay the market rent.

More information