Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Women Pru Goward today announced an eight week amnesty period for public housing tenants to report any undeclared income so their rent can be calculated correctly.
Public housing tenants pay rent based on their income, so it is important that tenants are honest with the Government.
“The amnesty gives tenants an eight-week window to report any income they may be receiving over and above what they have declared to Housing NSW, and avoid prosecution or back-rent. Once the amnesty is over, quite substantial penalties can apply, including eviction,” Ms Goward said.
Housing NSW has clear rules as to how much income, financial assets or property ownership public housing tenants can have, to ensure housing is granted to those in the community most in need. Generous subsidies allow public housing tenants to pay only 25% of their income as rent, but the system relies on the honesty of tenants.
“In an exercise conducted with Centrelink late last year, almost 500 public housing tenants were earning unreported income totalling $308,610 per week. Additional rent now being received from assessment of that undisclosed income is more than $4 million per year.”
This year’s amnesty follows on from the highly successful Undeclared Occupant Amnesty in 2013. In a two month period early last year, more than 4,000 reports were received from tenants, neighbours and anonymous callers, which led to around $9 million in additional annual rent revenue.
“Additional rent from the amnesty will be reinvested back into the social housing system, to help provide homes and support for families in NSW who desperately need it. When everyone pays their fair share, we can help more families with their housing needs,” Ms Goward said.
The amnesty begins on 7 April 2014 and runs until 31 May 2014. Members of the public can anonymously report any public housing tenants they suspect are underreporting their income, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.