Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about your tenancy. If you have any additional questions please contact us.

In April 2010 a new system was introduced to simplify the social housing application process. Housing NSW and community housing providers worked together to set up one application system called Housing Pathways. Wait times for social housing depend on individual housing requirements and allocation zones. Before applying for a home through Evolve Housing, all new applicants must complete an application through Housing Pathways and provide support documents including medical information and evidence requirements.

New applicants can apply for community housing through the following options:

  • Online
  • Housing call centre 1800 422 322
  • Visit your nearest housing provider

Evolve Housing tenants are encouraged to keep their rent account in advance at all times by paying directly from Centrelink. By doing this, tenants will avoid the risk of owing debt.

Rent payments should be made directly from Centrelink and other non-rent payments directly to Evolve Housing. Tenants must pay two weeks rent when they start their tenancy, and then continue paying rent either weekly or fortnightly. Non-rent payments must be paid within 21 days of billing (if all non-rent debt payments cannot be paid on time, you must contact your Housing Manager and arrange how to pay your debt by instalments).

Evolve Housing offers the following payment options:

  • Centrepay
  • PAYWAY – two cards are available one for rent and one for non-rent (water and other charges).

How to use your PAYWAY Card:

  • BPAY – pay over the phone using your Payway card.
  • Direct Debit – use your PAYWAY card to set up your direct debit online as a one-off or re-occurring payment.
  • EFTPOS – pay using your debt or credit card at our head office, or ask your Housing Manager about using our mobile EFTPOS facility.
  • Direct Debit – ask your Housing Manager to assist you to set up a direct debt from your bank account.

We highly recommend you contact your housing manager to discuss the best option for you.

For more information please download Evolve Housing’s How to make rent and non-rent payments Factsheet

Evolve Housing conducts a rent review assessment twice a year for each household. Rent reviews are to see if there have been any changes to your household income or circumstances, such as children turning 18, new people living in the house, or people moving out since the last review. Changes may result in your rent going up or down.

In order to complete your rent review, residents are required to fill out an application for Rental Rebate during all income reviews and rent assessments. You must provide us with the information and documents requested to make sure you don’t lose your rent subsidy. Losing your rent subsidy could mean that your rent increases to full market rates.

All residents are responsible for water usage charges at their property. Evolve Housing may charge all residents for water usage in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (RTA), the relevant Ministerial Guidelines and Evolve Housing policies listed in the Water Charges Factsheet.

Water Meters

If the property you are living in has a water meter which measures your water usage we will pass the usage charge to you.

The water company is responsible for checking your water meter and Evolve Housing receives a bill from the water company quarterly.


Shared water meters in units/apartments

If you live in a unit/apartment, your property has a shared water meter in the building. This means you will be charged differently from properties that have a separate water meter.

Before we send your water bill to you, we will also calculate your building’s water usage and will we reduce the total amount by 20%.

How is my water bill calculated?

Read more about water charges

All tenants eligible for social housing are eligible to apply for a transfer, however, the request must be made for a valid reason and will only be approved on the grounds outlined in the Evolve Housing Transfer Policy.


What are the grounds for transfer?

You can view these valid reasons in our Tenant Transfer factsheet.


How to apply for a transfer?

Firstly, you should contact myevolve on 1800MYEVOLVE to arrange the forms to be mailed to you. Alternatively, residents can call into the office to collect an application.

Applications include

  • A transfer supplement
  • Application for housing assistance
  • Medical assessment (applicable to those who have medical needs) and
  • Evidence requirements information sheet (outlining which forms are required to support your application for transfer.

Once you have submitted your application and we have received all appropriate documentation, relevant Evolve Housing staff will assess the application and notify the resident of the outcome.

If your application and supporting evidence deems you eligible for a housing transfer, you will be placed on the Housing Pathways waiting list and your wait time will be dependent on your current situation, reason for applying and housing need.

Waiting times will vary depending on the area you have selected.

You need to make a request in writing or complete form. Do not start any work until you receive written approval. Please contact your housing manager on

NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) is a tribunal hearing that deals with matters between landlords and tenants. People will represent themselves and may be supported by an advocate.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, NCAT can make legally binding and enforceable decisions on a wide range of tenancy disputes such as rental bond, rent increases, unpaid rent, termination of tenancy agreements, compensation, repairs and other breaches of the residential tenancy agreement.
An NCAT notice is sent to a tenant due to a breach of tenancy or dispute. Usually, conversations between tenant and Housing Manager have occurred prior to a NCAT hearing. It is critical for a tenant to attend this hearing in order to formalise and negotiate an agreement that benefits both parties involved.

This notice may be served in relation to:

  • Rent arears
  • Repairs
  • Nuisance and Annoyance issues
  • Access to property
  • Non-rent arrears
  • End of Tenancy Charges

It is always important to attend such hearings because tenants are able to voice any concerns and effectively have their concerns heard in relation to resolving a tenancy dispute.

For more information please contact either your Housing Manager or My Evolve (1800 693 865)

Evolve Housing expects tenants to personally occupy the premises at all times. Although there may be reasons from time to time for being absent from your home. Before going on an extended (no longer than 6 weeks) holiday or any absence from your home you will need to complete an Absence from Property Application Form.

Before you leave, make sure:

  • Your Housing Manager knows when you plan to be absent from your home, for example, if you are away for a holiday or need to stay in hospital etc.
  • All rent and non-rent accounts must be up to date before approval is given.
  • You complete the Absence from Property application form, available from Evolve Housing’s office, website or by email request.
  • No one else is allowed to occupy your home while you are absent without Evolve Housing’s approval.

Evolve Housing acceptable periods: 

  • If you are absent from your home for longer than 6 weeks you need to tell us as soon as possible on the application form.
  • You can be absent from your home for up to 3 months (acceptable absence).
  • You cannot be absent for longer than 12 months (in total) over a five-year period.

Acceptable reasons for your absence:

  • Caring for sick or elderly family members
  • Hospitalisation, institutional care, nursing home care or rehabilitation
  • Escaping domestic violence, harassment or threats of violence
  • Assisting with immigration matters in your country of origin
  • Holidays
  • Reasons affecting your employment, education or training
  • Going to prison

Evolve Housing will accept your absence if:

  • There is an acceptable reason for you to be absent or away.
  • All rent and non-rental accounts are paid up to date at the time of departure.
  • You have made arrangements to pay your tenancy charges while you are away (rent, water usage or other non-rent payments).
  • Rental will continue to be charged for the entire period at the rate charged prior to the approved absence period.
  • The property will be maintained while you are away. (I.e. mail collected etc.)
  • You have arranged for someone over the age of 18 years to act on your behalf while you are away.

Failing to update Evolve Housing of your absence:

  • If you do not tell us that you are going to be absent, or if you do not come back on the date you have told us we may need to take action through the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) to terminate your tenancy.

Maintenance during your absence:

  • In the event that urgent maintenance is required during your absence, it is important that you provide alternative contact details of a family member or friend who is able to provide contractors with access to undertake repair. For example, if a hot water system bursts or a water pipe bursts in a kitchen or bathroom.
  • Complete an Additional Person Information form, this form also explains all the supporting information required such as relevant ID, income details, rent ledger and bank statement
  • We will then review the application and send a letter confirming decision

Households may change from time to time, for example the birth of a child or visitors wanting to move in with Evolve Housing’s residents.

When these types of changes happen, tenants need to write a letter to Evolve Housing, or fill out an Additional Person Information Form. This form will explain all the relevant supporting information required such as relevant ID, income details, rent ledger and bank statements.

In some instances the resident may need to ask for our approval before a change occurs, for example, if the tenant wants someone to move into their property (additional occupant). Evolve Housing will then review your application and send a letter confirming the decision.


Short Visits (4 Weeks)

A visitor can stay with a resident for up to four weeks (28 days). This does not change the household details of the resident. However, if the visitor wants to stay for longer than 4 weeks Evolve Housing must be informed. The tenant will need to apply to Evolve Housing for an extension of the visit time. Visitors do not need to pay rent, however the tenant is responsible for their visitor’s behaviour.


Additional Occupants

If the person wants to live at the property and become and additional occupant, this will change the household details of the resident. The resident must first apply to Evolve Housing for approval for them to become an additional occupant of the household.

To read more please download our Visitors and Additional Occupants Factsheet.

Evolve Housing residents have a right to live peacefully in their property and to live in harmony with their neighbours. Residents must follow the nuisance and annoyance conditions under their Residential Tenancy Agreement. These conditions include being responsible for their own behaviour and the behaviour of visitors and occupants at their property.

Evolve Housing suggests that you first try to solve the problem by talking with your neighbours or through a mediator. Evolve Housing has information on resolving disputes, and we can refer you to a local Community Justice Centre where an independent mediator may help you resolve your dispute. Evolve Housing will not be involved in this process as an advocate or third party.

When you should contact the local authorities:

  • The local council, if you think the other person has breached council by-laws on loud music, barking dogs, overgrown trees, parking issues etc.
  • The police, if you feel unsafe and at risk or you think the other person may have broken the law.
  • The body corporate, if you live in a strata unit that is not managed by Evolve Housing.

Evolve Housing can investigate your dispute and complaints if it involves possible breaches of the tenancy agreement by another Evolve Housing tenant, and if you have first tried to resolve the problem yourself. If the problem continues for a long time and represents a serious nuisance or annoyance that causes interference with the peace, comfort, or privacy of others, then you can speak to an Evolve team member.

If you are submitting a written complaint. Please include:

  • Your full name and home address
  • Details of the person you have a dispute with
  • Details of the complaint and any supporting documentation, including what you have done to try and solve the problem and
  • The date of the incident(s)

To read more please download our Neighbour Disputes Factsheet.

Links to support

If you are in immediate danger please call 000.

If you have nowhere to sleep tonight please call Link2Home on 1800 152 152 (free call) or visit Ask Izzy.

From time to time we all have issues and need some help. At Evolve we have a dedicated support team to help you with finances, domestic violence, homelessness, counselling, employment and more. Call 1800 MY EVOLVE (1800 693 865) or message us at contact us for more information, or click on the relevant links below.  

If you have any suggestions for content on this page please contact us.

Disclaimer: This resource contains hyperlinks to websites of contacts other than Evolve Housing. Those links are provided for convenience and may not remain current or be maintained. Except as expressly stated on the website, Evolve Housing is not responsible for any content on those linked websites and has no control over or rights in those linked websites.

Need to report a repair?