What is Home Share Melbourne?
Home Share Melbourne is an affordable housing program which thoughtfully matches people who need affordable housing with people with spare rooms. The program has a number of aims which range from increasing the availability of housing for people who need it to supporting older people and people with disabilities to stay in their home.
What are the eligibility criteria?
Householders need to have secure tenure and be either renters or owners. Renters must have permission from the landlord. They must be over the age of 18 years old and have a minimum of one spare bedroom which is of a good condition.
Homesharers are required to be over the age of 18 years old and must not have drug and alcohol dependences or unmanaged mental health.
Both parties need to be able to manage living in a shared environment and be committed to the values of homesharing which include reciprocity, respect and kindness.
What are the types of arrangements?
Home Share Melbourne prides itself on being flexible enough to meet a wide range of needs of different people. However, arrangements may include the following;
The target group for Homesharers are people who are in need of affordable housing. There will be a focus on people who are at risk of experiencing housing crisis due to rental stress, asylum seekers, women who are over the age of 55 and young people.
There is no predefined target group for Householders. They may be retired, working or studying or be receiving an income from Centrelink, such as the Disability Support or Age Pension.
What is the process?
There are a number of ways that Householders and Homesharers can make contact with the Home Share Melbourne Coordinator. They can fill out the short form in the “I’m Interested” tab on the Home Share Melbourne website, they can call for a brief chat to see if the program is for them or they may be contacted by the Coordinator if they express an interest through the Flatmates.com website. Home Share Melbourne is also happy to speak to the professional supports or family members of potential Householders or Homesharers. Following this initial contact if the person is interested in pursuing the program further they will be required to fill out an application form and meet for a short interview. Following this the Coordinator will contact Homesharer’s references and complete a police and Working with Children Check. Householders will be reference checked and may also undergo a police and Working with Children Check. Following this if they are approved to be on the program they will wait to be matched. When a suitable match is found the Coordinator will meet with both the Householder and Homesharer to see if both parties are happy to continue into a trial arrangement.
What does it cost?
Home Share Melbourne asks for a small contribution for a matching fee and monthly membership fee. This contributes towards the costs of operating the program.
Following the end of the support provided by Home Share Melbourne, there will be no ongoing costs.
Benefits for Householders
There are a large number of reasons people may choose to become a Householder within the Home Share Melbourne Program. These may include, wishing to support less fortunate community members, loneliness or the benefit of receiving lodging fees or help around the home.
Benefits for Homesharers
Homesharers can benefit greatly from the Home Share Melbourne program due to being able to access affordable housing in high cost areas. The accommodation is often of a high quality. Further benefits can centre around intergenerational learning and sharing skills, for instance, in cooking together.
How long is the commitment?
Home Share Melbourne requests that there is a minimum of six months commitment to the program. However there is an understanding that people’s circumstances may change and that not all matches will work long term, so either party will be able to end the arrangement earlier if needed.
What support does Home Share Melbourne provide?
The Home Share Melbourne Coordinator provides professional, considered matching following interviews, references, safety and security checks. Time will be taken to understand your preferences and expectations. And following this, suggestions may be made around potential matches. The Coordinator will then meet with you and the other person to see if it is a good fit. If it is, the Coordinator will support the process of completing a lodging agreement and arrange a move in date. The Coordinator will check in regularly during a one month trial period and will continue to be in touch throughout the first six months. The Coordinator can provide support around mediation and can make referrals to other services if needed.
How long does it take?
Home Share Melbourne understands that people who contact the program may be looking to be matched very quickly. However the process can take some time. At any given time Home Share Melbourne will have a number of approved Homesharers who are waiting to be matched. If a Householder signs up who is a good fit the process can take as little as one week. If you are in urgent need of finding accommodation or finding someone to share with please contact the Coordinator to see if this will be possible.
Do Householders have to pay tax?
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has provided initial advice that the arrangements are not considered profit making. Due to this Householders are Capital Gains or Income tax exempt.
Can Homesharers claim rental assistance?
If the Homesharer would otherwise be eligible they are able to claim rental assistance.
What type of insurance do I need?
Insurance is different for each individual and therefore Home Share Melbourne encourages participants to explore their options. As a general rule Home Share Melbourne encouraged Householders and Homesharers to get contents insurance. Householders are not eligible for landlords insurance as there is no residential tenancy agreement in place.
What is the lodging agreement?
The Home Share Melbourne lodging agreement outlines the individual arrangements. It highlights what the expectations are of both parties and relies on the good will of those involved. It asks for a 28 day notice period from either Householder and Homesharer following the month long trial period. However, if either party wants to terminate earlier, there is no legal reason why this could not happen.
I have a pet, is that okay?
Home Share Melbourne acknowledges that pets are often important for people and will try to ensure the program is pet friendly. However, Householders or Homesharers are able to specify if they do not wish to live with a pet and this is their right to do so. If pets are part of the household they need to be declared in the first contact with the program and be present at the initial meeting.
I am pregnant, have a child or a partner, is that okay?
The program is aimed at single Householders and Homesharers, however, the program encourages potential participants to make contact regardless of their family type to discuss if there may be any options for them.
What if the arrangement doesn’t work out?
It is natural that some arrangements will not be the right fit. In these cases the Homeshare Coordinator will be actively involved in working with both parties to work through issues or concerns or to move the Homesharer out of the home as soon as possible and look for alternative options.
Is the arrangement a tenancy?
The Home Share arrangement does not count as a tenancy due to the Householder not providing the Home Sharer with “exclusive use” of the property.
Is there a bond?
Some Householders may require a small bond.
Is it safe?
People have been sharing accommodation for centuries and continue to do so today. Using a reputable homeshare program is a safer way to find someone to share than answering ads or making an Airbnb arrangement. Home Share Melbourne uses comprehensive assessment and screening processes and also checks to ensure that the homes are well maintained and safe. In addition Home Share Melbourne provides ongoing support to the matches to ensure that they are going well and can provide support to end the match if needed.