Property Alterations and Disability Modifications Policy
KEY POLICY AREA: Property Management
POLICY: Property Alterations and Disability Modifications
APPROVED DATE: 11th June 2019
RELEVANT LEGISLATION: Residential Tenancies Act 1997
STANDARDS, PROTOCOLS AND POLICY LINKAGE: Quality Assurance Policy
This policy applies to tenants of Wayss Owned properties, transitional housing (THM) properties, Head Lease properties and Council owned properties.
Wayss will manage requests from tenants to make alterations or disability modifications to a property. Wayss will ensure that each application is responded to in a fair, transparent and systematic way that clearly explains options, choices and decision-making processes.
The Office of Housing is responsible for disability modifications to properties. In Head Lease properties, the approval of the property owner/agent will be required. In both of these cases, Wayss will contact the appropriate party to seek permission for the alteration or modification to be approved.
All clients have the right to request alterations or modifications be made to the property they are renting.
Tenants should supply all necessary information in their application to make alterations.
Once the request is approved, the tenant is responsible for
- Paying for the costs of the alteration;
- Repairing and maintaining the alterations;
- Paying for any damage caused by the alteration;
- Paying for any council permits; and
- Paying for and restoring the alteration to its original condition at the end of the tenancy.
Prior consent is required from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for Director Owned properties or the landlord for Head Lease properties.
Tenants may not be responsible for minor modifications required for them to live independently in the property (see disability modifications section).
Wayss acknowledges that the needs of tenants (and/or other household members) may change due to illness, injury, age or disability and as a result, changes to the structure or layout of the home are necessary in order to provide safe passage and movement around their home. Modifications can be requested and require a letter from the tenant’s occupational therapist or doctor/medical practitioner. Tenants may also request assistance of funding from their local council/shire, National Disability Service or DHHS.
Minor modification are changes that do not affect the structure of the property. Some examples include (but are not limited to):
- Hand rails and grab rails.
- Lever taps.
- Handheld shower heads.
- Minor ramps.
Major modifications are changes that affect the property structure, needs specialised work and/or may require a permit.
The Office of Housing is responsible for the cost of minor disability modifications on Transitional Housing Managed properties. The Office of Housing is responsible for considering requests for major modifications.
The Office of Housing will inform Wayss of whether or not they agree to pay for any modifications. The Office of Housing is responsible for requesting owners of Head Lease properties to consider some minor modifications. The property owner is responsible for considering all requests for modifications.
An assessment is conducted to determine any structural constraints, condition of the building and whether the landlord agrees to modifications being made. Tenants must have written agreement from their landlord/agent before modifications take place.
If the Office of Housing or landlord refuses consent for a modification, the tenant may first request a reason for the denial. If a tenant believes the reason is unfair, they can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a ruling.
EVALUATION AND REVIEW
This policy will be reviewed when required in line with changes to the Residential Tenancies Act and/or Office of Housing guidelines. This policy will be reviewed as part of a formal evaluation process and as issues are raised.
This policy will be monitored through data collected from tenant complaints, tenant feedback surveys and staff feedback.