Living in your home #

We are here to support you to live well in your home and enjoy a stable tenancy. If you have any questions about your lease or your property, please contact our office.

In this part of the Handbook we have answers to the most common questions tenants ask us. There is also lots of extra information about
your tenancy on your lease.


Your rent account #

Your Tenancy Officer can tell you about your rent account, and you can ask about your rent account balance at any time.

We’ll also give you a rental statement of account when your household changes, for example, for the birth of a child, a new job or when
someone else is moving in. When these types of changes happen, you must let us know, so please drop us a line or call in at our office.


You must pay rent #

You must pay rent as agreed, either weekly or fortnightly, on time and in advance.

If you experience financial hardship don't just stop paying your rent – talk to your Tenancy Officer as they may have useful advice or be able to put you in touch with services that can help.
You may be evicted if rent is not paid.


Rent reviews #

The amount of rent you pay is reviewed from time to time. How often this happens depends on the type of housing you have and
how your rent is calculated, but it is normally done every year. You will be asked to confirm your current income and household members.

We will give you notice if your rent is going to be changed.


Other payments you must make #

You are responsible for the cost of damage to the property that is caused by you or your visitors. In many tenancies you are also responsible for water use charges. If you are not currently responsible for water use charges, we may impose those at any time, especially if your water use is considered to be usually high.

A repayment plan can be set up with your Tenancy Officer for these non-rent payments.


Taking care of your property #

Keep your home

• clean
• safe
• free from damage, pests and vermin

Keep your garden tidy by
• mowing lawns (if you have them)
• removing garden waste and lawn clippings.


If damage happens #

you, a member of your household, or a visitor to your home causes damage to the property, you must pay the costs of repairs.

Report any damage that occurs at the property to us as soon as possible.


Decorating your home #

Your home can be decorated to your taste as long as it can be returned to its original condition at the end of your lease.

Floor rugs and pictures can be added, and you can paint if you have asked us and we have agreed.
You are not permitted to move fixtures and fittings (such as built-ins) or build on to, or add to the property.


Repairs and Maintenance #

Who pays for the repairs and maintenance? #

Our responsibility

We pay for wear and tear* repair of

  • Fluorescent lights
  • Common area lights (in complexes only)
  • Stoves
  • Locks
  • Smoke alarms
  • Doors and fittings
  • Taps
  • Fixed floor coverings
  • Internal and external painting
  • Clothes line
  • Downpipes, gutters and drains – except for blockages caused by you**
  • Boundary fences
  • Servicing heat pumps
  • Hot water cylinders

*wear and tear is the result of everyday normal use

Your repsonsibility

As well as damage you** cause, you are responsible to pay for:

  • Replacement of light globes
  • Replacement of smoke alarm batteries, and testing and cleaning as required
  • Broken windows, as specified under the Residential Tenancy Act and reflected in your lease
  • Damage and holes in walls, doors and floors
  • Faulty appliances that are not listed as our responsibility and cause the power supply to trip
  • Blockages to sinks, toilet and drains (where caused by you or your visitors, even if it's accidental)
  • Pest and vermin control
  • Maintaining gardens, lawns and tree pruning, and removal of garden rubbish including lawn clippings and garden waste
  • Replacement of lost or stolen keys – if you are locked out of your home, contact a locksmith to gain entry
  • Repairs to any items that you have installed
  • Cleaning of heat pumps and heat pump filters, as required

How do I request repairs and maintenance? #

When repairs are needed, you must contact us first because we are your nominated repairer.

To report damage from vandalism, please phone Tasmania Police first then contact our Maintenance Helpdesk with the police report details.

To request repairs

1. submit a request from our website by clicking on this link
2. phone the Maintenance Helpdesk on 6173 0061
3. email communityhousing@aohtas.org.au

You will need to tell us your name, address and telephone number. We'll ask you to describe the problem and tell us what you need done.
We will arrange a Works Order or an inspection by our Maintenance Team or a Contractor, depending on the urgency and nature of the repair and we'll give you an expected timeframe for the work or inspection to be done.

Identification of maintenance staff #

We use a range of different companies for repair works and we don't issue them with identification, so you should follow these guidelines:

• you should already know of any works we have organised at your property
• the tradesperson will have a work order from us with your name and contact details
• Centacare Evolve Housing staff will give you prior notice of their visit, and they will identify themselves immediately on arrival.

When in doubt, refuse entry and contact us immediately.

How fast are repairs done? #

This depends on the type of work required and its urgency. Please see below for further information on response times.

Maintenance type and response #

Urgent

Response Time: Made safe within 4 hours

For immediate health, safety or security risk or when further damage will occur if work is not carried out. Temporary repairs may be done to make it safe until business hours, when proper repairs can be completed. You'll need to stay home (if it is safe) and able to be contacted until repairs are done.

If a contractor arrives and you are not available, you may have to pay for this.

E.g. burst water service, gas leak, dangerous electrical fault, flooding or serious flood damage, damage that causes the premises to be unsafe/insecure, or damage likely to cause injury to people or property

Priority

Response Time: Within 24 hours

A problem that is not urgent (as defined above) or an emergency, but is causing inconvenience and may develop into a health, safety or security risk if not fixed promptly.

E.g. essential items such as hot-water service, heating and stove, no light in the home, other electrical fault, toilet fault, leak from pipe or base of toilet, blocked drain outside the home.


Normal 7

Response Time: Within a week

General repairs for problems that are inconvenient, rather than urgent.

E.g. broken washing line, dripping taps, cracked but still secure windows.

Normal 28

Response Time: Within 28 days

General repairs and maintenance will either be attended to within one month or placed on the planned maintenance program, depending on the nature and complexity of the work.

Identification of maintenance staff #

You should always be comfortable that the person visiting your home is who they say they are. We use a range of different companies for repair works and do not issue them with identification. If you are unsure of the caller’s identity, remember the following:

  • it is unlikely that we have organised any work to your property that you were not aware of;
  • the tradesperson should carry a copy of a work order (on our letterhead) which will include your name and contact details;
  • if the person claims to be a staff member or real estate agent, it is unlikely that they would arrive without giving you prior written notice of their visit or identify themselves immediately on arrival.

When in doubt, refuse entry and contact us immediately.


Property inspections #

Property inspections happen at different times and for different reasons. A new inspection report will be done after each inspection. We will make arrangements with you before every inspection, and and we always respect your privacy.

Inspections may happen:
• at least once each year, sometimes more often
• before and after complex repairs
• when assessments for planned works, structural issues or other property condition assessments are being done.


Extra guests #

If someone wants to stay at your place for longer than four weeks, you must let us know so we can approve an additional occupant and adjust your rent,
if needed. Approval depends on the type of housing you have and your circumstances, and it may be subject to conditions.


Being away from your place #

If you're going to be away from your place for longer than four weeks, please let us know. We work hard to house people who are in housing need, so we don't want to
have places vacant for a long period of time.

We do understand there may be good reasons for you to be away, such as:
• a holiday
• hospitalisation of you or an immediate family member.
• incarceration.

If you are planning to be absent from your property for more than four (4) weeks, talk with your Tenancy Officer about your particular situation.


If you are ill or injured #

If you become ill or get injured, we will support you to keep your tenancy. This may include modifying your property, looking for a more suitable one, or assisting your access for in-home support and care services. If the tenancy can't be maintained, we'll work with other support services and
agencies to help find alternative solutions.

We will also support you if you need home modifications due to ageing or disability. We can modify the property ourselves or assist you to access other home modification services and funding (e.g. through government departments or disability services), or look for a more suitable property.


Tenant support is available
#

We support all our tenants to manage and maintain their tenancy, and to live well in the community. If you need extra assistance, contact us so our Tenant Engagement Worker can talk with you about the support options available.

We have strong and well-established links with a range of departments and agencies. The Tenant Engagement Worker can put you in contact with them,
or can make a referral on your behalf, with your permission.


Being a good neighbour #

Every community is diverse. You may have neighbours who are families or singles, of different ages and stages of life, or from different backgrounds.
Just like you, they make choices about their own lifestyles. While neighbours may not always agree with each other’s choices, everyone has a right to live peacefully in their home.

We are dedicated to working with all tenants to achieve successful, stable tenancies and peaceful, respectful neighbourhoods and communities where
everyone can thrive.

As a tenant and good neighbour you and your visitors must follow the conditions outlined in your lease. These include respecting the peace and
comfort of your neighbours by:

• not creating a disturbance in or around your home
• not holding noisy parties
• not revving loud cars or motorbikes or doing burn-outs
• not using offensive language.


Complaining about a neighbour #

We can give you tips on how to resolve disputes.

The first step is to talk things over with your neighbour. If you would like to talk through a mediator, we can refer you to a Dispute Resolution and Mediation service where
an independent mediator may help you resolve your dispute.

We can’t get involved in the mediation process as an advocate or third party.

Always report criminal activity to the Police.

We respect your privacy #

Your privacy will be respected so you can live peacefully in your home. We won’t visit unless you allow us to, or if it is permitted by law, or as
described in your lease.


These visits may take place #

When work is planned, a tradesperson may call and make an appointment, or visit if they are in the area.

When inspections are planned, your Tenancy Officer will make arrangements with you for a time to inspect. If we write and ask you for permission to do an inspection and you don’t respond, we can then enter your property legally.

There are also some other reasons why we can enter your property without your permission. These are if we believe that:

• you are ill or injured and can’t give us permission
• damage has occurred – or is likely to occur – to your property
• there is risk to you or another person on your property
• you have abandoned the home.


Getting involved with Centacare Evolve Housing #

Have a say about decisions that affect your housing by participating in activities and programs for tenants, for example:

• Come along to Tenants Advisory Group (TAG) meetings and discuss issues that affect tenants. Call (03) 6173 0060 to find out more.
• Do the annual Tenant Satisfaction Survey; we will advise you when this is available to complete.

We welcome feedback #

Feedback about our services and staff helps us to:

• Monitor our performance
• Find out what is working well and what isn't
• Improve our services.



How to make a complaint #

You can make a complaint:

• On the phone
• By completing the Complaint Form available at our office
• By email at housingcomplaints@aohtas.org.au

We will acknowledge, investigate and provide a response to you within the timeframes set out in our Complaints and Appeals Procedure.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you have the right to lodge an appeal. If you ask for an appeal it will be completed by
our senior management team who will contact you within one week of completing the review.

If you are still not satisfied with the decision, or the way we have handled your complaint, you can lodge an appeal with the Ombudsman Tasmania.

This is an independent agency and can be contacted on 1800 001 170.


Three important tips to remember #

• pay your rent
• maintain your home, and
• be a good neighbour.

Other responsibilities you have as a tenant are written in your lease.