Public housing rent rises

Some housing rents in Katherine will rise to 23 per cent of income over the next five years.
Some housing rents in Katherine will rise to 23 per cent of income over the next five years.

Katherine public housing tenants received a letter in the mail this week changing the way they pay rent.

For some, it may have come as a shock with some rents doubling over the next five years.

The NT Government is changing the way it calculates urban public housing rent so that all tenants pay the same rate of rent.

It is the first change in public housing rents since 1999.

The changes will take effect from October 1.

Public housing tenants in Katherine, Darwin, Palmerston, Nhulunbuy, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs have been notified this week.

Existing urban public housing households will pay a rate of 23 per cent of their assessable household income.

Currently, tenants pay varying amounts – between 10 – 23 per cent of their assessable income as rent.

Rental increases will occur incrementally each year for five years until they reach 23 per cent.

New public housing tenants will pay 25 per cent of their assessible household income.

The government says the change will make rent calculations clearer, fairer and more consistent and will bring the Northern Territory more into line with other Australian jurisdictions.

Officers from the Department of Housing and Community Development will assist tenants in understanding changes and are able to refer tenants for free financial counselling services if required during the transition.

Minister for Housing and Community Development, Gerry McCarthy said public housing tenants deserve to be treated equally when it comes to the rate of rent they pay.

“These changes will streamline the rates at which public housing tenants pay rent and will bring the Northern Territory into line with the rest of the nation.

“The increased rent collected will be invested back into public housing and used for repairs and maintenance.

 “This is the first time since 1999 that public housing rent calculations have been reviewed.”

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