How rent is calculated

We use your total household’s assessable income to calculate your rent subsidy and the rent you will pay.

You will pay rent based on either 25% of your total household's assessable income or the market rent for the property in which you live—whichever is lower.

The market rent is equal to the rent charged for a similar property in the private rental market.

Rent subsidy

Your rent subsidy is the difference between the rent you pay (based on your household's assessable income) 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 (based on your household income) 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 (formerly known as Centrelink) and the 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 relate to incomes that are either:

  • 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 which support broader government objectives (such as payments to carers allowance).

You will still only pay rent based on either 25% of your total household's assessable income or the market rent for the property whichever is lower.

What if I’m self-employed?

If you are a contractor or self-employed, you must provide your last notice of assessment from the Australian Taxation Office for the previous financial year and details of any Centrelink payments you may have received.

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

Changes to your income

If you have a change to your household income or household members, we will complete a full household rent review asking you to supply all of your household income. You must tell your nearest Housing Service Centre within 28 days of the change. If you don’t tell us you may have to pay a penalty and your rent may be backdated.

If your household income increases because a new person has moved in, your rent will be reviewed and we will advise you of the new rent amount.

What if I have no income?

If you have no income, a very low income, or you cannot verify your income, you will be assessed as having an income based on the equivalent Department of Human Services payment.

The equivalent Department of Human Services payment is the payment that most closely aligns with your circumstances, even if you do not qualify to receive payments.

Changes to your rent

Your rent can change after you move in, for example, if your income changes or someone leaves or joins the household. We review your household income regularly.

Does having someone stay affect my rent?

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

More information