Mainstream Tenancy is about the normalisation of tenancy arrangements in existing social housing in Indigenous communities. The following three initiatives will be vital in helping achieve tenancy management in the four Cape York communities comparable to the mainstream social housing model for managing tenancies:
- Normalising rents - this involves determining rents for social housing in Indigenous communities to better reflect market rates, or at least be consistent with mainstream social housing rates.
Normalising rents will ensure the price people pay for housing more clearly reflects current market and social housing rates, as well as the ability of families to pay the prescribed rent. This potentially opens tenants to other life options as the transition to other types of housing, where paying market rent is the norm, will no longer seem so daunting.
- Tenancy agreements - normalised tenancy agreements will reflect current mainstream agreements. The agreements will focus on the rights and responsibilities of tenants and administrators to ensure housing is maintained appropriately and the terms will be legally binding.
Normalised tenancy agreements will be fairer for all parties and will result in an increased sense of understanding of rights and responsibilities. As an informed responsible tenant, people will have more power, be able to expect more from their landlords, and be able to make better housing choices including moving if they want to.
- Tenancy management - this involves bringing greater professional standards and rigour into tenancy management, and will involve the outsourcing of the tenancy management to a third party (on a landlord/agent basis).
Reformed tenancy management will see the terms of residential tenancy agreements enforced consistently in all communities. This promotes residential tenancy obligations on both sides as both the tenants and the landlords will be required to be more responsible and more responsive to the terms of the residential tenancy agreement, therefore potentially creating a more positive outcome for all parties. These initiatives are designed to provide a basis for developing increased personal responsibility and individual incentives commensurate with the rights and responsibilities of mainstream social housing tenants. Under Cape York Welfare Reform, breach of a tenancy agreement is one of the four triggers that could see individuals and families referred to the Family Responsibilities Commission.