Appeals Policy

Appeals Policy

1. Purpose

This document defines Homes North’s approach to managing appeals, who can appeal and determining which decisions can be appealed.

 

2. Scope

This policy applies to all applicants, tenants, or former tenants of Homes North. This policy does not deal with complaints, compliments or general feedback. These are covered in the Complaints and Feedback Policy.

 

3. Definitions

  • Applicant – the person who makes the formal application for housing assistance
  • Tenant – the person who signs the Residential Tenancy Agreement with Homes North
  • Former Tenants – tenants who no longer reside in a Homes Property
  • Household members – all other people we have approved to live in the home regardless of age or relationship

 

4. Policy statement

Homes North is committed to the fair and effective management of appeals.

An applicant or tenant has the right to lodge an appeal to Homes North if they disagree with a decision we have made that they believe may affect their application for housing, or their tenancy.

The objective of the appeals process is to ensure that:

  • there is a fair mechanism for decisions to be reviewed if those decisions cannot be considered by other bodies, such as the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT);
  • the correct decision has been made in each Homes North individual case under review; and
  • Homes North also views the appeals and review process as an opportunity to:
    • gain feedback from tenants and applicants
    • demonstrate that we are open to receiving their views and issues
    • review and improve our policies and procedures where necessary.

 

5. Appealing a decision

All Appeals must be lodged within 3 months of the applicant being notified of the original decision.

Applicants and tenants can appeal decisions made by Homes North. Examples of decisions that can be appealed include:

  • social housing eligibility
  • housing entitlements
  • priority housing eligibility
  • private rental subsidy
  • recognition of tenancy
  • offers of a property
  • transfers
  • relocating tenants for management purposes
  • rental subsidy (charging rent)
  • modification of a property
  • absence from a dwelling
  • tenant changes
  • offers of a property
  • transfer water charges.

For a full list of appealable issues visit the Housing Appeals website at hac.nsw.gov.au.

Where possible, applicants and tenants who are not satisfied with our decisions, are encouraged to first speak to the Homes North staff member who made the decision, (or another staff member). If they are still not satisfied with the decision, there are two levels of appeals open to them if their issue is appealable:

  • the first level involves an internal review by Homes North
  • the second level involves an independent review by the Housing Appeals Committee.

There cannot be more than one first-tier appeal against a decision. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your first-tier appeal then you may lodge a second tier appeal.

 

5.1 First-level appeals

First-level appeals can be made in the following ways:

  • fill out our online form – Appeal Form
  • email details of your appeal to appeals@homesnorth.org.au
  • post our appeal to PO Box 1146, Armidale NSW 2350
  • phone 1300 662 721 or 02 6772 5133
  • in person, using the online appeals form, at any of our offices
  • at an off-site location such as a home visit by a member of staff.

Tenants and applicants are encouraged to ask a Homes North staff member for advice on whether their issue can be appealed, as not all issues are eligible for review by Homes North (refer to lists above).

Staff may also help the person in completing the form and give other assistance (the staff involved in making the decision in question should not be involved in this process).

 

5.2 First-level process

In most cases, first-level appeals are to be decided within 25 working days from the date Homes North receives a tenant’s or applicant’s written application for review.

Exceptions to this timing may be where we are waiting on further information from the tenant or applicant, or another person or organisation. In which case, we will write to the tenant or applicant and advise them that we require more time, up to another 25 working days.

The internal review will be conducted by a Homes North staff member who was not involved in making the original decision.

The recommendations of that officer will then be considered by a member of the senior management team responsible for the relevant area of Homes North operations.

Final decisions on first-level appeals will be signed off by the CEO.

The personal making the appeal will be notified in writing of Homes North’s decision.

Our written response will include details of how you can request an independent review by the NSW Housing Appeals Committee if you are unhappy with the outcome of the first-level appeal.

 

5.3 Second-level appeals

If a tenant or applicant believes the decision made by Homes North in the internal appeal (first-level) review is incorrect, they can lodge a request for an independent review with the Housing Appeals Committee to review the decision.

The Housing Appeals Committee is an independent agency that can review decisions of Homes NSW and community housing providers. They are easy to contact by phone, email and also through online services. Contact details are:

External appeals can be lodged:

  • online at https://www.hac.nsw.gov.au/how-to-appeal/appeal-online
  • by filling out the Appeal Form available from the Housing Appeals Committee (https://www.hac.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/333849/Second-Tier-Appeals-Form.pdf)

The NSW Housing Appeals Committee will consider your request for independent review and request information from Homes North. The NSW Housing Appeal Committee reaches a conclusion about the independent review and writes a report with recommendations that is sent to the tenant/applicant and Homes North.

Once a decision has been made, following an independent review by the Housing Appeals Committee, there are no further appeals possible regarding that decision.

Homes North acknowledges that in some limited circumstances an appeal may require quick action to ensure procedural fairness and compliance with specific legislation. In these circumstances Homes North will always endeavour to comply with legislated timeframes.

 

5.4 Issues outside of this policy

The NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), deals with other tenancy issues arising from Homes North obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 including maintenance and lease issues. NCAT can be contacted on 1300 006 228 or www.ncat.nsw.gov.au.

6. Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the:

  • Chief Executive Officer to ensure this policy and associated procedures area applied and committed to by the senior management team.
  • Regional Manager, Asset Manager and Senior Housing Managers to provide the team with timely policy-related support and guidance, to ensure familiarity with this policy and related procedures, to commit to following them accordingly and where relevant, promote the policy to their team.
  • Employees to ensure they comply with this policy, be responsible for their own behaviour and if required, attend relevant training as provided by the company from time to time.

 

7. Where to get more information

Contact Homes North on 1300 662 721 or (02) 6772 5133, or appeals@homesnorth.org.au.

 

Policy information

Policy no:      3.6.1\1            Version: V3

Date last reviewed: 5 December 2023

Download Appeals Policy