Home » Tenants » Community Housing » Tenant Handbook

Tenant Handbook

This tenancy information page provides useful information about living in Horizon Housing properties and general information for tenants about services, and your rights and responsibilities.

Horizon Housing is a not for profit charity. We were founded from the amalgamation of Vision Housing and Gold Coast Community Housing in 2006. Horizon Housing Company is a trading name of the Gold Coast Housing Company. The Horizon trading name was developed for use outside of the Gold Coast and Horizon Housing Solutions was developed as separate entity in 2011 to support our affordable housing initiatives.
 

Commencing Your Tenancy During Your Tenancy Ending Your Tenancy

Your Lease
Moving In
Confidentiality and Personal Information

Bond

Paying Rent

Entry Condition Reports

Water Charges

Keys

Safety and Security

Taking Care of Your Property

Pets

Property Modifications

Property Inspections

Forms and Notices

Significant Periods of Absence

Feedback

Complaints and Appeals

 

Changing Circumstances

Completion of Condition Reports

Keys

 

 

Commencing Your Tenancy

Your Lease

The length of your lease will generally be 12 months and will be noted on the actual Lease. The start and end date is indicated on your lease. Please retain your copy of the lease for your records.

Moving In

It is important to remember to update your address details with people and businesses you deal with. Some examples are:

  • Phone Company;
  • Banks;
  • Insurance Companies (Contents and Car);
  • Centrelink;
  • Child Care;
  • Dentist;
  • Doctor;
  • Department of Transport—Licence & Registration;
  • Electoral Commission;
  • Medicare;
  • Health Fund;
  • Post Office;
  • Schools; and
  • The Australian Tax Office.

Confidentiality and Personal Information

Horizon Housing only collects information from you that is necessary for us to manage your tenancy. The personal information Horizon Housing holds about you will depend on the services we provide for you. If you believe the personal information we hold about you is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date, you should inform us as soon as possible.

All information, including personal information, collected by Horizon Housing is treated as confidential and is protected by the Privacy Act 1988. Your written consent will be requested should we need to share this information with any external party.

The person you speak to over the phone may be able to update your information, as long as we can verify your identity. Generally, you have the right to see or obtain a copy of personal information about you that we may hold. If you require copies of this information, you should submit a request in writing.

Bond

Bonds are held by the RTA for safe keeping during your tenancy. Your bond must be paid prior to signing up for the property and a copy of the receipt must be given to your Tenancy Coordinator at Sign up.

Paying Rent

There are 2 ways you can pay your rent.

  • Use Centrepay to arrange regular deductions from your Centrelink payment. Centrepay is a voluntary payment option available to Centrelink customers. Go to humanservices.gov.au/Centrepay for more information and to arrange your Centrepay deductions.
  • Electric Funds Transfer to the Horizon Housing Account

Our staff will discuss this with you when you sign your Tenancy Agreement.

Entry Condition Reports

You are required to complete an Entry Condition Report at the beginning of your tenancy.  This is your chance to record details and make comments about the condition of the property.  This is important if there are any disagreements about the condition of the property at the end of the tenancy.

You are required to return the report within 3 working days after the start of your tenancy under the Residential Tenancies & Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.

Our staff will sign the Entry Condition Report and send a copy to you by mail within 14 days.

Water Charges

As per your Lease, you may be charged for excess water.  Your Tenancy Coordinator will inform you about this.
Please refer to the RTA Water Charging Fact Sheet provided in your sign up pack for further information..

Keys

You will be given one set of keys per authorised tenant on the Lease for the property. It is your responsibility to get other sets cut if you need to. You must not give the keys to anyone who does not live in the property. We will not give your keys to anyone else. If you lose your keys, you are responsible for replacing them. If you get other sets of keys cut you must inform your Tenancy  Coordinator and provide details of who they have been given to.

If you are locked out, you can come to our office and we can give you a spare set which you must return immediately. If you are locked out of your house outside office hours, and you need to get in, you will have to call a locksmith at your own expense.

Safety and Security

Feeling safe and confident helps us to stay mobile and makes it easier to enjoy community life and recreational activities. Below are some suggestions  to help you feel safe..

Being safe and securing your home

  • Use a peephole or a window to see who's at the door before opening it.
  • Open your door only to people you know and trust.
  • If someone is at the door and you are alone and feeling insecure, pretend there is someone else in the house (preferably a male).
  • Don't give your name, phone number, address to unknown telephone callers.
  • Try to ensure your house number is easy to see from the street both day and night.
  • Trim bushes and trees that obscure windows and could be used as hiding places by intruders.
  • Have valuables engraved - contact your local police station for details.
  • Plan at least two escape routes so you can leave your home quickly in an emergency.
  • Store emergency numbers in the speed dials of your phone, or keep them written beside your phone.

If there's an intruder

  • If you're at home and find an intruder, you could:
  • Get to the nearest phone and quietly call the police
  • Switch on lights and make a lot of noise moving about, but do not confront the intruder
  • If the intruder confronts you, shout and scream if you believe this noise might be heard by a neighbour.
  • If you arrive home and suspect an intruder is inside, do not enter the house. Go to a neighbour's house and call the police on Triple Zero (000). Keep out of sight and a safe distance from the house.

PLEASE NOTE:  Emergency Phone numbers can still be contacted even if your mobile phone is out of credit or out of range.

 

During Your Tenancy

Taking Care of Your Property

You must return the property in the same condition as when you moved in. Avoid marking the walls with
Blu-tack, stickers or nails and hooks. You can use non-marking picture hooks, but if any damage is caused, you will have to pay for it. It’s much cheaper to not make the damage in the first place! You are responsible for keeping any lawn and garden areas clean and tidy, including mowing and weeding. You should remove all rubbish, and not store any hazardous materials on your property.

Pets

You must seek approval from Horizon Housing prior to getting a pet.

Local government restrictions relating to the keeping of pets must be strictly adhered to.  There may be restrictions imposed by the owner of the property, and the type of property you are living in (eg units, townhouses or studio units).

Property Modifications

Please Note:  You must seek approval from Horizon Housing prior to making any changes to the property. This includes hanging pictures on walls, installing air-conditioning, etc.

Property Inspections

We conduct quarterly property inspections. We will give you appropriate notice under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.  These inspections take place to ensure that the property is in good condition.

During this inspection we look for:

  • Safety concerns;
  • Unapproved Pets;
  • Damage to the property;
  • Cleanliness of the property;
  • Smoke alarms undamaged
  • How the yards & gardens are maintained; and
  • Rubbish.

Forms and Notices

You have been provided a number of forms, some of which are RTA forms, and some of which are Horizon Housing forms. These are:

  • Form 1a – Entry Condition Report. You are required to fill this form out and return one copy to us within three days of moving in. This is necessary so that upon exit we can assess any damages caused during the tenancy.
  • Form 11 – Notice to Remedy Breach. You can use it to give us notice that we have to fix a problem, or if we have breached your tenancy agreement. We would rather you call us first, but once you give it to us, we have 7 days to fix the problem. We may send them to you if you breach your lease.
  • Form 13 – Notice of Intention to leave. If you want to leave your property, you must give us 2 weeks’ notice in writing and send us this form.
  • Complaint Form —We need to have complaints in writing for us to act on them.

To lodge a complaint, please click here.

Significant Periods of Absence

If you are going to  leave your property for a significant period of time, you will still have to pay your rent.
You should notify us in writing if you plan to leave your home for a significant period, and have a system set up to ensure that rent is paid on time.
If you are admitted to hospital for a period of time please contact us to let us know.

PLEASE NOTE:  Absences in excess of 12 weeks may seriously jeopardise your tenancy.

Feedback

A Tenant Satisfaction Survey is run annually to request your feedback in relation to the service we offer and to assist us in continually improving.  We appreciate feedback at anytime as it helps improve our services to you and other tenants, so if you have any suggestions please speak with your Tenancy Coordinator.
Horizon Housing strives to give you the best possible service.  But without your feedback it’s impossible to know what you need.  By completing the Feedback Survey and giving us your ideas, you will help us to achieve a better outcome for all.

If you have moved into a property recently developed by Horizon Housing you may also receive a post occupancy elevation survey. The purpose of this survey is to assist us in improving our development processes, so that our future developments meet the needs of our tenants.

You can complete these surveys both in writing and via email and If you have any questions in relation to how your feedback will be used please speak with you Tenancy Manager.

Complaints and Appeals

Horizon Housing has a complaints and appeals system. If you have a grievance or complaint with a  staff member, a neighbour, or anyone else, contact the office by phone, or fill out the Complaint Form that is included in your tenancy pack. Your complaint will be handed confidentially and sensitively, and you will never be penalised in any way because you have made a complaint.

Complaints can be lodged either in writing, in person or by phone, and these will be actioned by the appropriate staff member. If you are not satisfied with the result of the investigation by Horizon Housing, you can contact the Residential Tenancy Authority by phone on 1300 366 311.

Complaints and feedback can also be accepted anonymously. Anonymous complaints will be investigated in line with Horizon Housing’s approved complaints procedure. However, Horizon will not generally provide an update on the outcome of the investigation. If you lodge an anonymous complaint, you may contact Horizon and advise of the time and date your complaint was lodged in order to obtain an update on the outcome of an investigation. It should also be noted that an anonymous complaint will be investigated based on the information provided. Natural justice must apply when investigating the complaint; if further information is required, the complaint will be deemed as unsubstantiated.

Ending Your Tenancy

If you are considering leaving, give us a call and we can discuss with you the procedure for moving out, and we will provide you with any forms you will need.You must give us two weeks’ notice using the Form 13 that is included in your tenancy kit. Please be aware that you are required by law to pay your rent until the end of the Lease and to provide a valid forwarding address.

When you move out, you must ensure the property is in the same condition as when you entered it (excluding general wear and tear), and that any repairs have been completed to a tradesman-like manner. Read the Moving out Checklist that is included in this tenancy pack. You will need to complete an Exit Condition Report and hand back the keys to our office. Carpets are required to be  professionally cleaned and you must provide the receipt so we can confirm it was done. In the case of fully furnished studio units the Mattress will be professionally cleaned by Horizon Housing.

If there are no problems with the property or outstanding debts, we will then apply to the RTA to have your bond returned to you in a timely manner.

Changing Circumstances

If your situation changes, please ensure you notify your Tenancy Co-ordinator who will be able to advise how this may affect your situation.

If your situation changes and your current property are no longer appropriate, a transfer form will need to be completed and returned to Horizon Housing with any appropriate supporting documentation. Some of the possible changes may include;

  • Safety issues.
  • Change in household make-up;
  • Health
  • Change in family circumstances (including change to your emergency contact person)
  • Change to Income
  • Needing to have access to specific medical facilities and/or support.

Completion of Condition Reports

Tenants are required to complete an “Exit Condition Report” when vacating and give the original to Horizon Housing.  This is a very important record of your point of view of the condition of the property at exit.

Keys

When you move out of your property you are required to return all your keys and remote controls to Horizon Housing office.  These will be receipted and you will be given a copy of this receipt for your records.