The department uses your household's assessable income to calculate your rent subsidy and the rent you will pay.
As a department tenant, you will pay rent based on either:
- 25% of your household's assessable income; or
- the market rent for the property in which you live, whichever is lowest.
Which types of income are assessed?
- Most pensions, benefits and allowances paid by Centrelink and the Department of Veterans' Affairs
- Wages, salaries and some work allowances such as overtime, bonuses, shift allowances, and penalty rates;
- Other income such as regular superannuation, compensation, interest from savings, maintenance and lump sum payments.
Which types of income are not assessed?
Some types of income which are usually not assessed include:
- Payments for specific purposes such as Pharmaceutical Allowance, Telephone Allowance, Family Tax Benefit Part B, or Foster Care Allowance.
- Youth Allowance and Abstudy paid at the dependant rate unless paid to a tenant or a spouse.
- Allowances paid by employers for expenses incurred on the job, for example, tools, meals, clothes and travel allowances.
What is my 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.
The Queensland Government subsidises this amount to ensure your rent remains affordable.
What if I am a contractor or self-employed?
Household members who are contractors or are self employed must provide their last notice of assessment from the Australian Taxation Office.
Note: if the business has been operating less than 12 months, rent is based on the Centrelink payment that a household member would be eligible for if they were not a contractor or self employed.
What does income include?
Income, which is averaged over the previous four weeks, includes:
- casual earnings;
- allowances; or
- other income which varies for other reasons.
Contact your nearest Housing Service Centre for more information.
Can my rent change after I move in?
Yes. Your rent can change for a number of reasons for example, if your income changes or someone leaves or joins your household. The department will reviews your household income annually (see Rent reviews).
What if I have no income?
If you have no income, a very low income or you cannot identify or verify your income, you will be assessed as having an income based on the Equivalent Centrelink Payment.
The Equivalent Centrelink Payment is the payment that most closely aligns with your circumstances, even if you do not qualify or meet the payment requirements. The Equivalent Centrelink Payment depends upon, but is not limited to your age, marital status, whether you live at or away from home, and if you have children.
What if my household's income decreases?
If your household income decreases at any time, ask your nearest Housing Service Centre to review your rent. The Housing Act 2003 requires that you must advise the department of any change in your income or household within 28 days of the change occurring.
What if my household's income increases?
You must advise the department of any change in your income or any household member's income within 28 days of the change occurring.
Generally, your rent will not increase until your next rent review.
If your household income increases because a new person has moved in with you, you must advise the department within 28 days. Your rent will be reviewed and you will be advised of your new rent amount.
Note: if you do not advise the department within 28 days, you may incur a penalty under the Housing Act 2003 and your rent may be backdated.
Is there a maximum rent that I can pay?
Yes. The market rent for your property is the maximum rent you could pay. Market rent is equal to the rent charged for a similar property in the private rental market.
Will visitors affect the rent I pay?
A visitor can stay up to four weeks without affecting your rent but you must advise the department within 28 days of the visitor moving in. If you don't tell the department that someone has moved in, you may incur a penalty under the Housing Act 2003 and your rent may be backdated (see Visitors).