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Eligibility Criteria

Who is eligible?

If you meet certain eligibility criteria based on income, household composition or other metrics you may be eligible for an affordable rental property. Specific criteria may vary between affordable housing providers, depending on the affordable housing programs that they participate in.

Annual income earned is one of the key eligibility criteria for affordable rental housing. People on very low, low and moderate incomes are eligible to apply for this type of rental housing. Other criteria that may apply include whether the applicant has Australian citizenship or permanent residency, whether the household would be able to secure suitable or adequate housing in the private rental market and whether the household owns any assets, e.g. property.

If your household earns a low or even a moderate wage, you may meet the eligibility criteria for affordable rental housing. What’s considered ‘very low’ to ‘moderate’ income is defined by the relevant housing program (most of which are government sponsored) and take into consideration the number of people in a household, their annual income and applicable government guidelines.

What are the main affordable housing income limits?

A large majority of affordable rental housing in NSW would be subject to income limits set under the Commonwealth Government’s National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), and/or the NSW Affordable Housing Ministerial Guidelines. The latest income limits for these two are shown below.

There are other (smaller) affordable housing programs, which may have different income limits.

National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS)

The household income limits for the 2020-21 NRAS year (i.e. the period 1 May 2020 to 30 April 2021) are:

2020-21 NRAS Year Initial Income Limit
 First Adult  $52,324
 First Sole Parent  $55,034
 Each Additional Adult  $20,017
 Each Child*  $17,357

*Child means a person under 18 years of age who is financially dependent on an eligible tenant. If a person under 18 years of age is financially independent, they are considered an adult for NRAS purposes.

NRAS definition of income: income takes into account a tenant’s income that is earned, derived or received including a periodical payment or benefit received as a gift or allowance. The tenant’s income is not limited to taxable income but refers to the ‘gross income’ of the household that is living in the approved rental dwelling. For more information visit The Australian Government’s Department of Social Services website.
Please note 2 important exceptions apply:
  • As a financially independent child is considered an adult for NRAS income limit purposes - if there is a financially independent child (or children) in your household, please deem the child (or children) as an adult(s) when you search for property on WelcomeMat, so that we can process the correct income limits for you.
  • You may be entitled to a higher income limit for NRAS if you are an ‘existing NRAS tenant’. More specifically, if you ceased to lease a dwelling under NRAS and apply for a new lease in a different NRAS dwelling, and the move between dwellings is because of unexpected or exceptional circumstances, then your allowed NRAS income limit could be 25% above the normal NRAS income limits. If you are potentially in this category, instead of doing a ‘normal’ search on WelcomeMat (which processes ‘normal’ NRAS income limits), please contact us by emailing us here.

The NSW Affordable Housing Ministerial Guidelines household income eligibility limits for 2020-21 are:

Sydney Region*

Household Type Very Low Low Moderate
 Single  $28,300  $45,200  $67,800
 Single + 1 child  $36,800  $58,800  $88,100
 Single + 2 children  $45,300  $72,400  $108,400
 Single + 3 children  $53,800  $86,000  $128,700
 Couple  $42,500  $67,800  $101,700
 Couple + 1 child  $51,000  $81,400  $122,000
 Couple + 2 children  $59,500  $95,000  $142,300
 Couple + 3 children  $68,000  $108,600  $162,600
Each additional adult
(18 yrs +)
Add $14,200
to the income limit
Add $22,600
to the income limit
Add $33,900
to the income limit
Each additional child
(under 18 years)
Add $8500
to the income limit
Add $13,600
to the income limit
Add $20,300
to the income limit
* ‘Sydney Region’ being the ABS Greater Capital City Statistical Area boundaries, including Central Coast LGA to the north, Blue Mountains LGA to the west and Wollondilly to the South

Rest of NSW

Household Type Very Low Low Moderate
 Single  $25,100  $40,200  $60,200
 Single + 1 child  $32,600  $52,300  $78,300
 Single + 2 children  $40,100  $64,400  $96,400
 Single + 3 children  $47,600  $76,500  $114,500
 Single + 4 children  $55,100  $88,600  $132,600
 Couple  $37,700  $60,300  $90,300
 Couple + 1 child  $45,200  $72,400  $108,400
 Couple + 2 children  $52,700  $84,500  $126,500
 Couple + 3 children  $60,200  $96,600  $144,600
Each additional adult
(18 yrs +)
Add $12,600
to the income limit
Add $20,100
to the income limit
Add $30,100
to the income limit
Each additional child
(under 18 years)
Add $7,500
to the income limit
Add $12,100
to the income limit
Add $18,100
to the income limit
 

To ensure the affordable rental housing goes to people who need it, each listing will usually have a maximum household income limit.

Each provider will assess your application against their own eligibility criteria. This could mean some properties you are eligible for, and others you aren’t. WelcomeMat will help you with this process.

As requirements may differ between providers it’s best to approach each listed property, and whether you are eligible, independently.

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