Applying For government Subsidised Rent (IRRS)


What is Income Related Rent?

The Income Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS) is a rent that is subsidised by the government in order to make accommodation more affordable for those on low incomes. If you qualify for income-related rent, the government pays the difference between the rent you can pay (based on 25% of your net income) and the normal market rental rate.

Most social housing with government subsidised rent (Income-Related Rent or IRR) is provided by Housing New Zealand, but since April 2014 it is also available from other registered social housing providers. The application process is the same for both types of social housing.

The rent subsidy is administered by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).  MSD’s Housing Assessment website has more information about eligibility for social housing and the application process.

You or your family member may be eligible for this rent subsidy if you:

  • Have New Zealand residency (through citizenship or permanent residency) and usually living in New Zealand (there are exceptions to this criteria)
  • Are aged 16 years or over
  • Have a low income (the income threshold depends on whether you have a partner and/or dependents)
  • Have little or no cash assets
  • A high housing need.

The IRR is calculated on your income (and that of the people who are living

with you at the time you accept a housing offer). The rate of Income Related

Rent is:

  • 25% of the net amount of the applicable rate of Jobseeker Support for the household type,plus a portion of the applicable person‘s family tax credit entitlement

The rent subsidy is paid to the Community Housing Provider who provides you with your accommodation. There are a number of Community Housing Providers, including Housing New Zealand who provide social housing. You can find a list of social housing providers (who can provide housing with IRR) on the Family Services Directory.

What happens next?

MSD will refer you to a housing provider to be matched to a suitable property. The housing provider could be Housing New Zealand or another provider, such as a community group.

As soon as a home becomes available which is suited to your needs, the housing provider will contact you and show you the property. If you agree to become a tenant there, they’ll draw up a tenancy agreement for you to sign.

The housing provider will then advise MSD that you’ve accepted tenancy at the property, and MSD will then:

  • Calculate your Income-Related Rent (i.e. how much you’ll pay the housing provider – the balance of the rent is paid to the provider by the government)
  • Process your application for bond and rent in advance
  • Redirect the proportion of your benefit which will pay your share of the rent (if you are receiving a Work and Income benefit).

How long will I have to wait for a home?

This will depend on your position on the waiting list (which is determined by your housing needs), how many people on the waiting list have urgent needs, and the availability of suitable homes.

It’s a good idea to look for other rental options while you are on the waiting list, in case you find something suitable yourself.

If your situation changes it’s important to advise MSD, as it could change your position on the waiting list and affect how long you’ll have to wait.

Who administers government-subsidised housing?

This role is shared by MSD, Housing New Zealand and the community housing providers who are registered to provide government-subsidised housing.

MSD is responsible for deciding who is eligible for getting the Income-Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS) and managing that process. They receive applications from prospective tenants, determine eligible applicants’ positions on the housing waitlist, calculate how much rent tenants need to pay and conduct tenancy reviews.

This will be done by case managers (housing), who are located at Work and Income service centres and at a centralised housing office in Auckland.

As the landlord, the housing provider (either HNZ or a community housing provider) is responsible for managing the tenancy of the property. This includes matching prospective tenants to houses, preparing tenancy agreements, organising repairs and maintenance and collecting rent.

Call Work and Income to find out whether you are eligible, call 0800 559 009 or visit Work and Income.
A guide to IRRS (Income Related Rent Subsidy) can be found on the Citizens Advice Bureaus and Ministry of Social Developments Housing Assessment website.

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