This document defines Homes North’s approach to managing appeals received from applicants and tenants, and determining which decisions can be appealed.
This policy applies to all applicants, tenants or ex tenants of Homes North.
- Applicant – the person who makes the formal application for housing assistance
- Tenant – the person who signs the Residential Tenancy Agreement with Homes North
- Resident – a person who lives in the property on a permanent basis
- Spouse – a husband or wife considered in relation to their partner
- Household members – all people living in the home regardless of age or relationship
4. Policy statement
Homes North is committed to the fair and effective management of appeals.
This policy outlines the approach of Homes North in managing appeals lodged by applicants and tenants.
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 Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal
- The correct decision has been made in each Homes North individual case under review.
- 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.
4.1 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 including decisions about eligibility for community housing, transfer, offers of housing, repairs and rental subsidy calculations.
Applicants and tenants have a right to appeal most decisions where Homes North has applied a policy to their situation. Some matters come under the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), including maintenance and lease issues.
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.
4.2 First-level appeals
First-level appeals are made in writing to Homes North office. 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 below). 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).
In most cases, first-level appeals are to be decided within 25 working days from the date Homes North received 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. 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 person making the appeal will be notified in writing of Homes North’s decision.
4.3 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 ask the Housing Appeals Committee to review the decision. The Housing Appeals Committee is an independent agency that can review decisions of Housing NSW and community housing providers.
4.4 Homes North Applicants can appeal against the following issues:
4.4.1. Social housing provider eligibility
- General eligibility for or removal from a waiting list/Housing Register
- Backdating of eligibility date
- Eligibility of people classified as unsatisfactory or ineligible former tenants
4.4.2. Housing entitlements
- Size and type of dwelling
- Modifications or special features of dwelling needed for medical reasons
- Location need entitlements
4.4.3. Priority housing eligibility
- Eligibility for priority housing
- Specific location or housing type needs
4.4.4. Succession of tenancy
- Eligibility to be granted succession of tenancy
- Eligibility for a minor to be granted a tenancy (under 18 years of age)
4.4.6. Offers of Property
- Whether an offer is considered ‘reasonable’ (e.g. type, location, size)
- The acceptability of reason for not accepting an offer
4.5 Homes North tenants can appeal the following issues
- Eligibility for a transfer
- Category of transfer approval granted
- Eligibility for priority transfer
- Location approved for a transfer
- Relocation of a tenant for management purposes
- Transfer of tenants under relocation powers
4.5.2. Rental Subsidy assessment
- Calculation of, change to, or cancellation of rental subsidy
- Water charges related to subsidy
4.5.3. Modifications to a property
- Need for modifications for disability/medical reasons only (not maintenance or upgrade issues)
4.5.4. Absence from dwelling
- Permission to be absent and rent calculation during absence
4.5.5. Tenure categories and tenure review
- Length of tenure granted
- End of tenure eligibility review
4.5.6. Tenant charges
- Charges at vacation of dwelling where not covered by NCAT
4.5.7. Offers of a property transfer
- Whether a ‘reasonable’ offer has been made and the offer countered for purposes of the offers policy
- Offers made to tenants under relocation powers
4.5.8. Joint Tenancies
- Eligibility for joint tenancy
4.5.9. Antisocial behaviour
- First and Second Strike Notices for antisocial behaviour
4.6 Homes North applications and tenants can not appeal the following issues
- Decisions that are not directly related to the person or household
- Matters that are the responsibility of other tribunals (such as repairs and maintenance, which are the responsibility of the NCAT)
- Housing providers’ policies
- Matters for which clients cannot make application to housing providers
- Internal administrative and funding matters of Homes North
- Complaints about the way a service is provided
- Programs not related to the provision of a service
- Decisions about providing more than the maximum service or benefit available under Homes North policy
- Decisions to provide services on an ‘out of guidelines’ basis
- Decisions about home purchases assistance services.
This policy is subject to change from time to time at the discretion of Homes North. Where an individual is observed to not be working within the scope of this policy, the breach will be addressed by a senior housing manager.
It is the responsibility of the:
- Chief Executive Officer to ensure this policy and associated procedures are applied and committed to by the Senior Management Team.
- Senior Housing Managers & Asset Manager 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.
6. Where to get more information
Contact Homes North on 6772 5133 or firstname.lastname@example.org or
PO Box 1146
Armidale NSW 2350
Forms or other organisational documents
- Standard 3.6 – Complaints & Appeals
- Residential Tenancy Act (2010)
Policy no: 3.6.1\1 Version: V2
Date last reviewed: January 2019