This policy sets out:

  • what a tenant is responsible for while they’re absent from their property
  • how Housing SA approves tenants being absent from their properties
  • how Housing SA approves applications for a caretaker to live at the property during the tenant’s absence

This policy doesn’t apply to short term and specific purpose housing programs except in line with the relevant policies, for example the Integrated Housing Exits Program.

Telling Housing SA about a temporary absence

Tenants must live in their property as a condition of their lease agreement, also known as the Conditions of Tenancy.

If Housing SA suspects a property has been abandoned, it’s managed in line with the Abandoned property and goods policy.

How long a tenant can be absent

Tenants may be absent from their property with Housing SA’s approval for up to 3 months.

If the tenant has a genuine need to be absent longer, Housing SA may approve extending it for up to another 3 months.

Temporary absences and extensions won’t be approved if it goes past the end date on the tenant’s lease agreement.

Tenants can be absent for a maximum of 6 months in any 3 year period, starting with the first absence.

If a tenant is away longer than this, Housing SA may determine the tenant isn’t living in the property. The circumstances behind each absence is considered to determine what action, if any, should be taken.

These timeframes also apply if a caretaker’s living in the property.

Tenant’s responsibilities while absent

Tenants are still responsible for meeting all the conditions of their lease agreement while they’re away, including:

  • paying rent in full and on time
  • taking care and maintaining the property
  • telling Housing SA about any changes in their circumstances, for example changes to their household income

Applying for a caretaker

A caretaker is someone nominated by the tenant, for example a family member or friend, to live in the property while they’re absent.

If the tenant’s living in Aboriginal housing, the caretaker should preferably be of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent.

A caretaker has no right to take over the tenancy.

A tenant can apply for a caretaker to live at the property for up to 3 months. They must get Housing SA’s approval before the caretaker moves in.

Housing SA may approve the caretaker for up to another 3 months if the tenant has a genuine need to be absent longer, and the extended absence has been approved.

Eligibility

Tenants are eligible to apply for a caretaker if they meet all the below conditions:

  • action isn’t being taken to the end their tenancy
  • they have an arrangement to repay any debt they owe Housing SA in line with the Account management policy
  • the length of their absence won’t go past the end date on their lease agreement

A person’s eligible to be a caretaker if they meet all the below conditions:

  • they have an arrangement to repay any debt they owe Housing SA in line with the Account management policy
  • they aren’t excluded from Housing SA’s services because of antisocial behaviour in line with the Antisocial behaviour policy
  • moving into the property won’t contravene the conditions of an intervention order
  • they provide proof of their identity to Housing SA

Rent

Rent is calculated based on the tenant’s household income in line with the Rent policy. It’s reviewed when a caretaker is approved.

Housing SA may calculate the rent based on caretaker’s income if the tenant has no or limited income, for example because the tenant is in prison.

Related information

Controlling documents

Supporting guideline

  • Temporary absences guideline v4

Related policies and other documents

Date this policy applies from

14 April 2020

Version number

4

The online version of the policy is the approved and current version. There’s no guarantee any printed copies are current.