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Rent Verification

Document

Last amended: 11 January 2012

When is rent verified?

A person's rent must be verified when an application for rent assistance is received or at any time during the year when notification is received from the pensioner of a change in rental payment. This includes any change of address notification.

Purpose of rent verification

A person's entitlement to payment of rent assistance can be affected by any of the following changes:

  • rent payment or liability to pay rent ceases,
  • rent paid below the threshold,
  • rent paid increases,
  • type of accommodation changes and Government rent becomes payable,
  • type of accommodation changes to payment of board and lodging,
  • renter becomes an ineligible property owner,
  • a partner starts receiving (or there is a change in) an allowance or pension from Centrelink or DVA, or
  • renter leaves Australia.

Note: Some of the above would result in loss of rent assistance eligibility and some in a change in the amount paid for rent assistance. Loss of eligibility would prompt questions such as had the pensioner become a homeowner, whereas change in rent assistance paid would prompt verification of rent paid.

What is considered acceptable proof of rent?

Acceptable proof of the amount of rent paid includes any one of the following:

  • signed rent book,
  • rent verification form signed by the landlord,
  • recent rent receipt, not more than 12 weeks old,
  • current lease or tenancy agreement in the client's name,
  • document confirming a regular (eg. weekly) maintenance charge for services provided in a retirement village, or
  • signed letter or statement from the landlord or person to whom rent is paid.
Payment of rent by a co-tenant

In a situation of shared accommodation, where one tenant is paying the entire rent without contribution from the co-tenant, there is no requirement to halve the rent payment across both tenants for the purposes of assessing rent assistance eligibility. That is, the rent assistance provisions do not require that a co-tenant must contribute to the payment of rent.


Rent Assistance is an allowance, which may be paid to a service pensioner or income support supplement (ISS) recipient to assist in meeting the cost of rental accommodation.

To receive rent assistance, a pensioner must be paying rent (other than Government rent) for accommodation in Australia, and the amount paid must exceed a certain threshold.

An ineligible property owner is a property owner who is ineligible for rent assistance.

According to subsection 5N(1) of the VEA, these people are not regarded as ineligible property owners and therefore may be eligible for rent assistance:

  • a person who is a property owner by virtue of paragraph 5L(4)(c) (proceeds of sale of principal home disregarded for 12 months); or
  • a person who:
  • is absent from the person's principal home, in relation to which the person is a property owner; and
  • is in a care situation but is not residing in a retirement village; or
  • a person who:
  • is absent from the person's principal home, in relation to which the person is a property owner; and
  • is personally providing community-based care for another person; or
  • a person who pays amounts for the use of a site for a caravan or other vehicle, or a structure, that is the person's principal home; or
  • a person who pays amounts for the right to moor a vessel that is the person's principal home.

 

 

Centrelink is a Government service delivery agency responsible for delivering a range of Commonwealth Government services (including social security pensions and allowances) to the Australian community through a network of more than 400 Centrelink offices.

Australia is defined in the Acts Interpretations Act 1901 and includes the following territories and Islands:

  • Christmas Island
  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Subsection 5Q(1) of the VEA provides specifically that the definition of Australia includes the external territories for many VEA purposes including Part III, IIIAB, some parts of Part IIIB, Parts IIID, VIIA, VIIC and sections 52ZO, 58A, and 132.  Norfolk Island] is currently the only external territory of Australia. For the above VEA sections, which cover service pension, [glossary:income support supplement:118], pension bonus, pension loans scheme, Veterans supplement, pension supplement and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card purposes it is considered to be part of Australia. The test of residing in Australia does not by itself satisfy the full definition of Australian Resident, as residency also requires Australian citizenship or the holding of a specified visa.

Papua New Guinea and Nauru have both previously been external territories of Australia.  Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island, formerly regarded as separate islands, are now part of mainland NSW and Tasmania respectively.

 

 

A person is a homeowner if he or she has a right or interest, which gives reasonable security of tenure in the principal home. A person is also considered to be a homeowner if they have sold their home in the previous 12 months and intend to use part or all of the proceeds to purchase another home.

According to subsection 5M(3) of the VEA, premises constitute a retirement village if:

  • the premises are residential premises; and
  • accommodation in the premises is primarily intended for persons who are at least 55 years old; and
  • the premises consist of one or more of the following kinds of accommodation:
  • self-care units;
  • serviced units;
  • hostel units; and
  • the premises include communal facilities for use by occupants of the units referred to above.