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.

Your rent can change after you've started your tenancy - for example, your household income may change if someone leaves or joins the household.

Need to talk to someone about your rent? Telephone 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

Types of income assessed

  • Pensions, benefits and some allowances paid by Services Australia (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 payments 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.

To check if an income you receive is included when we work out your rent, contact your nearest Housing Service Centre.

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
  • your last Centrelink PAYG payment summary for the previous financial year.

If your business has been operating for less than 12 months, your rent is based on the Services Australia (Centrelink) payment you would be eligible for if you were not a contractor or self-employed.

Changes to your income

You must tell your nearest Housing Service Centre if your income or household changes within 28 days. We will ask you to supply income details for your household.

If you don’t tell us of the changes within 28 day of the change occurring, depending on your circumstances, a rent increase 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 Services Australia (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 you:

  • 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 Services Australia.

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 (%)











  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.

More information