Housing FAQ

The Nature of the accommodation on offer

  • We will offer rented accommodation to Participant Tenants, with lease terms longer than that of a typical rented property. In most cases, dwellings will be a 2 bed apartment, townhouse or villa, shared by 2 Participant Tenants. In some cases, if a “live in” support worker is required, a 3 bed property will be offered. Our principle is that the houses will be embedded in the community, close to transport and services, and will not be part of a clustered living arrangement or development.

  • We will provide a range of options, some being new, and some being older. Either way, we are committed to ensuring quality accommodation is provided to our Participant Tenants, at an affordable cost.

  • Yes, we believe that 2 persons sharing in a house is the preferred option to enable an independent living experience to be nurtured.

  • Our rental offering is based on the principle of independent living, and we do not envisage Participant Tenants will require a parent or carer to live in with them.

  • We envisage that the needs of the majority of Participants living in the houses will mean that only minor modifications will be required.

  • The houses will be low maintenance. Hearth will ensure any relevant repairs and maintenance services are provided as applicable to the nature of each residence.

  • In a shared house the furnishing for certain shared items, such as fridges, washing machines, and so on, if required is to be agreed.

  • Once we have fully established Hearth Housing, our aim is to begin to provide properties based on demand, during 2021. Regular updates will be provided on the timing of available properties for rent.

Eligibility for Housing. The Relationship Between Hearth Housing and Hearth Support Services

Tenancy Arrangements and Rent

  • Hearth Housing will be the de facto landlord to the Participant Tenants, albeit the actual property will be owned by a third party investment vehicle. The relationship between Hearth and the participant tenants will be governed by a Lease Rental Agreement.

  • As is the case in any rental accommodation, the principles of the Residential Tenancies Act will apply to define the broad rights of tenants and landlords. This provides for the landlord to establish and apply reasonable house rules, which will need to be agreed through a documented Service Agreement, which also aligns to the expectations and requirements of all the tenants occupying the house.

  • As is the case in any rental accommodation, the principles of the Residential Tenancies Act will apply to define the broad rights of tenants and landlords. The circumstances around lease cancellation will be specified in the lease rental agreements, applying reasonable rules, in compliance to the legal rules.

  • Yes, that will always be a choice for the participant and their parents. The implications of cancellation of the arrangements will be governed by the lease rental agreement.

  • Hearth will take all reasonable steps in the matching of participants into the shared accommodation, involving all relevant stakeholders, parents or guardians. In the event that the relationships between co tenants become unworkable for one or both parties, Hearth will have defined Policies and Processes in place to resolve the situation. This will be Governed by the house rules, and the terms of the lease rental agreement.

  • Rents will be based on market rates applicable to the houses provided, with a level of choice driving that cost. The more expensive the house, the higher the relative rent.

    Participants being eligible for the Disability Support Pension (DSP) are allowed to commit 25% of the DSP towards the rent payments, and further, participants eligible for Commonwealth Rental Allowance (CRA).will be able to allocate those funds against the rent payment.

  • Rent review clauses within the lease rental agreements will define how and when rents are re-assed. This normally comprises an annual CPI adjustment, and/or market review of rentals based on property valuations and the market forces applicable at the time. These agreements may provide for a cap, subject to approval by the property owners.

  • Our understanding is that the majority of participants will be eligible for the CRA.

  • We aim to provide long term security of tenure for our Participant Tenants, through rolling 3 or 5 year lease terms, along with options for extension.

  • Hearth will work with the NDIA on ways to better align the NDIS plans, with the longer term nature of the rental agreements. This will mean the relationship with Hearth Support workers is maintained through the duration of the lease.

Financing of The Properties

Administration Processes

Regulatory and Compliance

  • On the basis that the majority of dwellings will require minimal modifications, the building codes and other regulatory requirements for a rental property will broadly be similar to those of any rental property, including but not limited to fire prevention and detection.

  • It is the responsibility for the property owner to insure the Buildings, and provide for its own landlord and liability insurances.

    Insurances for any specific personal contents will be a matter for each individual to assess.

  • There are many important aspects of safety and well – being to consider in a shared accommodation setting, taking into account the unique needs that may be applicable to co tenants with a disability.

    As an overall guiding principle, the de facto landlord and support service provider, Hearth, is not the guardian of the tenants, meaning Hearth has no direct responsibility for the behaviours or choices made by the tenants, who are treated as adults under the law.

    However, Hearth has a responsibility and duty of care to provide a safe living environment, with security, fire protection, house rules and other safety aspects to be in place.

    A benefit from the Hearth Service model is that Support Workers make daily visits to the house. This will enable fast and easy contact to the parents/ guardians to highlight any areas of concern, including for example, if the participant is not vacant at the property for a reason that is not known by the parent or guardian, or if there are any health concerns.

  • The very fact that participants co sharing, may have individual support workers, Allied health workers, family and friends , all visiting the house, means an inherent risk to be managed, from many aspects, brought to life with the current COVD -19 experiences.

    Hearth already manages COVID safe processes for all in home support that it provides to its participants. The Policies and Procedures involved in a Hearth rented accommodation will of course need to be at the highest level of Quality Control and Compliance.