Housing

Tenant Amnesty 2017

The Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) is running a tenant amnesty for all FACS Housing and Aboriginal Housing Office approved household members from 24 April – 11 June 2017.

Tenants who declare new sources of income, financial assets, owned property and/or unauthorised occupants during this time period will not have their subsidy backdated, or fear prosecution.

The easiest way to make a declaration is by using the online form.

You can also make a report;

Because the amnesty offers tenants such a wide range of protections, we’ve taken the time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions below.

We’ve also translated this information into seven different languages:

The amnesty allows approved tenants and household members living in public housing to tell us about a change in their circumstances without backdating their subsidy or fearing prosecution.

The amnesty covers all FACS Housing and Aboriginal Housing Office tenants and approved household members.

  • Any undisclosed income – this includes income from employment, dividends from shares, superannuation payments received during retirement or a change in your Centrelink payment type. You do not need to report any changes if you had an increase to your current Centrelink payment – this will be identified during an automatic subsidy update. YOU WILL HOWEVER need to report any changes to your payment type (for example if you’ve gone from Newstart Allowance to Disability Support Pension)
  • Any financial assets – this includes a financial inheritance, cash savings,  term deposits and any other financial asset.
  • Any property ownership – this includes a home/unit, vacant land or commercial property owned under your name or that you have shared ownership of
  • Any unauthorised occupants – this includes anyone living with you who hasn’t been approved by FACS

Yes. Tenants who make declarations that don’t fall under one of the protected amnesty categories will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and may face prosecution, based on the evidence provided.

You also need to ensure that you make any reports during the amnesty period, from 24 April – 11 June 2017, to qualify for the protection from penalty and prosecution.

Breaches of your tenancy agreement that are not specifically covered by this amnesty, such as illegal or antisocial behaviour, will be dealt with under FACS’ normal policy.

Also, protection from prosecution, subsidy cancellation, debt recovery and tenancy termination will not be offered to tenants for matters under investigation prior to the commencement of the amnesty.

Tenants or approved household occupants who commenced employment within six months of the disclosure/allegation received date, may be offered a grace period of up to 12 weeks.

Members of the general public can also contact FACS and make allegations in relation to public housing and Aboriginal Housing Office tenants during the amnesty period.

Tenants will have one opportunity to respond and accept the allegations made against them by the public and will also be protected during the amnesty period. If a tenant does not accept the allegation, FACS will still investigate according to standard business procedures.

The easiest way to make an allegation is by using the online form.

You can also make a report:

You can choose to make an anonymous report and any information you provide will remain confidential.

If you choose to make a report, make sure you have the following in front of you:

  • Income statement from Centrelink
  • Any photo ID/pension card
  • Bank statements
  • Payslip
  • Medicare card

While the majority of social housing tenants do the right thing, the amnesty provides an opportunity for tenants who need to make a declaration, without the threat of prosecution.

No. Only FACS Housing and Aboriginal Housing Office tenants are protected by the 2017 amnesty.

If an allegation is made against you, FACS will write to you to give you the opportunity to respond and accept or dispute the allegation made against you. Should you accept the allegation, you will be protected during the amnesty. If you do not accept the allegations FACS will still investigate according to standard business procedures.

Should you need advice about these matters you can call your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service (find contact details at www.tenants.org.au) or on Mondays contact the Tenants' Union of NSW advice line on (02) 8117 3750 or 1800 251 101 for independent and free advice

www.facs.nsw.gov.au