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Tenant Handbook

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

Commencing Your Tenancy During Your Tenancy Ending Your Tenancy
Your Lease Pets Changing Needs
Moving In Property Modifications Completion of Condition Reports
Confidentiality and Personal Information Property Inspections Keys
Entry Condition Reports Forms and Notices  
Bond Significant Periods of Absence  
How Your Rent is Calculated Smoke Detectors  
Paying Rent Complaints and Appeals  
Water Charges    
Keys    
Safety and Security    

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 If you believe the personal information we hold about you is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date, you should inform us as soon as possible.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.

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.

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

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 Property Coordinator at Sign up. Bonds can be paid at any Australia Post shop front.

How Your Rent is Calculated

Tenants pay rent based on a percentage of  the market rent of the property. Rents are reviewed annually and your Property Manager will contact you in relation to this when required.

Paying Rent

There are 2 ways you can pay your rent:

  • Payway
  • Electric Funds Transfer to the Horizon Housing Trust Account

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

PLEASE NOTE:  Bonds should not be paid through Payway.

Water Charges

Your property meets the Water Efficiency and Labelling Standard (WELS) criteria.  The tenant is therefore responsible for all water consumption charges.  Please refer to the RTA Water Charging Fact Sheet provided in your sign up pack.

Keys

You will be given one set of keys for the property. It is your responsibility to get a second set 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 a second set of keys cut you must inform your Property Manager 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

Being safe and securing your home

  • 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.
  • Don't give your name, phone number, address to unknown telephone callers.
  • Make sure 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:
  • Activate the burglar alarm (if one is installed)
  • 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. 

During Your Tenancy

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.  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 the Property Owner through 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 ensure you 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 notify you at least one week before your property inspection. These inspections take place to ensure that the property doesn’t need any extra maintenance and that the property is in good condition.

During this inspection we look for:

  • Safety concerns;
  • Unapproved Pets;
  • Unapproved occupants;
  • Damage to the property;
  • Cleanliness of the property;
  • 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 HH 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 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 – if you have any disputes, with neighbours, or with us, fill out this form and send it to us. 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 if you plan to leave your home for a significant period, and if you are not paying rent by payway deductions, 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.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are installed in all properties. Under the Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990, administered by Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, both tenants and lessors have responsibilities for smoke alarms in their rental properties.

Lessors (Horizon Housing): Have obligations for installing, cleaning and testing smoke alarms and replacing batteries before the start or renewal of a tenancy.

Tenants (You): Have obligations for cleaning, testing and replacing batteries for alarms during a tenancy.

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 need or want to leave a property, you must give us two weeks notice using the Form 13 that is included in the tenancy kit. If you are considering leaving, give us a call and we can discuss with you the procedure for moving out.

Generally, you should make sure that the property is in the same condition as when you entered it (excluding general wear and tear due to age), and that any repairs have been completed. Read the Moving out Checklist that is included in this tenancy pack. You will need to complete an Exit Condition Report and hand back your keys to our office. Carpets are required to be professionally cleaned and you must provide the receipt . In the case of fully furnished studio units the Mattress must also be professionally cleaned and the receipt produced.
Once the property has been inspected by Horizon Housing and its condition assessed, Horizon will apply to the Residential Tenancy Authority (RTA) to have your bond returned to you. If the property has any outstanding maintenance issues which you are responsible for, some or all of your bond may be withheld.

Changing Needs

If your situation changes, please ensure you notify your Property Coordinator who will be able to advise how this may affect your situation.

If your situation changes and your current property is no longer appropriate, a transfer form will need to be completed and returned to Horizon Housing with any appropriate supporting documentation. We will assist you if we have another suitable property available at the time we receive your form.

Some of the possible changes may include:

  • Safety issues
  • Change in household make-up
  • Health
  • Change in family circumstances
  • 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. If you wish to be present when we do our final inspection of the property after you have moved out, please let us know.

Keys

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