Governance

Policies and procedures

Policy No.
UP10/3
Function
Student Services
Authoring Organisational Unit
STUDENT SERVICES
Date Approved
12/04/2010
Next Review Date
11/04/2011
Approving Body
Executive Director Academic Services & Registrar

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The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Student Housing - Allocation of UWA Owned Properties

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy defines the purpose of UWA owned student accommodation and sets out the eligibility criteria and other conditions related to management and allocation of student accommodation.

Definitions:

UWA Owned Residential Properties / Residential Property Portfolio - Residential properties owned by The University currently utilised for the purpose of rental accommodation.

Tenancy Agreement - A periodic or a fixed term agreement to rent the property. A periodic tenancy agreement has no pre-determined finish date but continues on with the same terms and conditions until giving the appropriate notice to terminate. A fixed term tenancy agreement is an agreement in which a tenant rents the premises for a set period with a specific start and finish date.

University Property Portfolio Manager - The University officer who, under delegated authority from the Executive Director Finance and Resources, administers the University Property Portfolio

Endowment Properties - Properties purchased by The University of Western Australia using endowment funds.

Executive Director Finance and Resources - The senior position responsible for Financial Services, Facilities Management, Human Resources, Venues Management, UWA Extension, UWA Press and the Perth International Arts Festival.

Bequest Fund - Funds that have been gifted or bequeathed to The University.

Hackett Bequest Properties - Properties that were purchased by The University with Hackett Bequest funding.

Subsidised Rent - Rental amounts set below market value, with the approval of the University Property Portfolio Manager

Managing Agent - The real estate company contracted from time to time by The University of Western Australia to manage the letting of UWA-owned residential properties.

Residential Property Manager - The person employed by the contracted Managing Agent to oversee income-producing residential properties and perform all duties required to keep the property fully occupied as well as maintained in good working condition. This is usually a real estate company.

Student Services Housing Office - The University office with special responsibility for overseeing the allocation of Bequest properties and any other properties for which special provisions have been approved and which consequently are approved for allocation to particular priority student groups.

Student Systems Group (formerly SIMS) - The University area responsible for student information management systems and support.

Housing Database - Database managed by the Student Services Housing Office containing listings of vacant and shared accommodation available to students.

Policy statement:

The University owns a number of residential properties in areas adjacent to the Crawley campus. These residential properties have been acquired with Endowment Funds and with Hackett Bequest Funds. Different conditions apply to the use and management of Endowment properties and Bequest properties. This policy governs the letting of these unfurnished properties to tenants. The policy is informed by a number of principles.

1 Principles

1.1 Priority of access to UWA owned residential properties is given to enrolled full-time UWA students (see 2.6 Order of Merit). New tenancies will not normally be offered to anyone who is not UWA student. The approval of the University Property Portfolio Manager is required if a property is to be let to a person who is not a full-time UWA student.

1.2 Prior to expiration of a tenancy, a review of the ongoing eligibility of the tenant/s to remain in the property will be undertaken. Tenancies will not normally be renewed where the principle tenant is not an enrolled full-time UWA student; with the exception of postgraduate research students who are awaiting corrections on their thesis but not showing as enrolled on the Student Information Management System. The approval of the University Property Portfolio Manager is required if a property is to be let to a person who is not a full-time UWA student.

1.3 Unless special provisions relating to a property or group of properties have been approved for a defined period by the Executive Director Finance & Resources, University-owned endowment properties are let with rents set at normal commercial rates [1].

1.4 Special provisions apply to University-owned bequest properties, which allow The University to approve subsidised rents. Subsidised rental accommodation is reserved for those students (and their immediate dependents, if any) who are enrolled full-time in a postgraduate research degree [2], in order of merit:

1. Higher Doctorate

2. Doctor of Philosophy (the PhD) including combined degree variants

3. Professional Doctorate

4. Master Degree by Research (thesis only)

5. Master's Degree by Research (creative work)

6. Master's Degrees by Research (thesis and creative work)

7. Master's Degree by Thesis and Coursework

Subsidised rental accommodation is not normally available to other postgraduate students, or to undergraduate students.

1.4.1 When allocating University-owned properties, consideration will be given to the student's circumstances, particularly financial. Priority will be given to postgraduate students who may be disadvantaged by financial constraints, including lone parents and families with a low income. (See section 2, Guidelines for the Allocation of UWA Owned Rental Accommodation).

1.5 The University-owned residential property portfolio is administered by the University Property Portfolio Manager under delegated authority from the Executive Director Finance & Resources.

1.5.1 The University Property Portfolio Manager works with The University's appointed Residential Property Manager and with The University's Student Services Housing Office to oversee the letting of properties in accordance with the principles articulated in the policy and the procedures made pursuant to this policy. (See section 2, Guidelines for the Allocation of UWA Owned Rental Accommodation).

1.6 The University's Student Services Housing Office works collaboratively with the Residential Property Manager and has special responsibility for overseeing the allocation of Bequest properties (Principle 1.4) and any other properties for which special provisions have been approved and which consequently are approved for allocation to particular priority student groups.

1.7 This policy, and its associated procedures, will be reviewed periodically.

1.8 The associated procedures will be approved by the University Property Portfolio Manager who shall consult with the Director, Student Services in respect of Bequest properties and any other properties where special provisions have been approved and which consequently are approved for allocation to particular priority student groups.

1.9 Listing of properties

1.9.1 Periodically the Residential Property Manager will circulate to the Housing Officer and University Property Portfolio Manager, a comprehensive listing of University-owned residential properties in the Crawley area. The listing will include the following information and will be lodged with the Housing Office:

- Unit number & location

- Number of bedrooms

- Number of bathrooms

- Number of car bays

- Maximum number of tenants allowed

- Current rent

- Tenant name

- UWA ID

- Lease commencement date

- Lease expiry date

1.10 Maintenance of properties

1.10.1 Periodically The University will undertake a thorough inspection of each residential property to identify any required maintenance to ensure the property remains structurally sound and appropriately appointed. The inspection report will be provided to the University Property Portfolio Manager.

1.10.2 The University Property Portfolio Manager will advise the UWA Student Services Housing Office and the Residential Property Manager when any maintenance is to be undertaken that would require the property to be vacant.

1.10.3 The Residential Property Manager will manage the vacancy schedule for any maintenance.

1.11 Setting of rents

1.11.1 Periodic rent reviews will be undertaken for all properties. In setting fortnightly rents the University Property Portfolio Manager shall heed Resolution 33 of the Senate Investments and Endowments Committee and take into consideration the following:

  • It is desirable to consider the capacity of the average student to pay when considering the level of rent, and to attempt to minimise all associated charges as a matter of policy.
  • The annual rent of bequest properties will be guided by the terms of the specific bequest.

1.12 Letting of Properties

1.12.1 All Bequest properties, and any other properties for which special provisions have been approved, will be reserved for full-time postgraduate research students (and their immediate dependents, if any). The UWA Student Services Housing Office will oversee the allocation of these properties to eligible students and advise the Residential Property Manager accordingly. (A detailed statement of procedures can be found in section 2, Guidelines for the Allocation of UWA Owned Rental Accommodation).

1.12.2 Tenancy priority for all other residential properties will be given to other full-time UWA students (See Order of Merit in section 2, Guidelines for the Allocation of UWA Owned Rental Accommodation). The University's appointed Residential Property Manager will oversee the allocation of these properties to eligible students and will be assisted by the UWA Student Services Housing Office in determining the initial and ongoing status of tenancy applicants. (See section 2, Guidelines for the Allocation of UWA Owned Rental Accommodation).

1.12.3 Not less than 50% of those named on the tenancy agreement will be current UWA students. (See 1.12.4 & 1.12.5)

1.12.4 Where it is not practicable to let a property to a UWA student/s, UWA staff members can be placed at the discretion of the Executive Director Finance & Resources.

1.12.5 In exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of the Executive Director Finance & Resources, a property may be let to non-UWA staff or students.

1.13 Review of operations and procedures

Bi-annually, and at other times if required, The ResUniversity Property Portfolio Manager (or representative) will meet with the Residential Property Manager and with a UWA Student Services Housing Office representative to review ongoing operations and to recommend improvements to procedures where appropriate.



PROCEDURES

2 Guidelines for the Allocation of UWA Owned Rental Accommodation

2.1 Background

2.1.1 The University owns various properties within the locality of the Crawley campus of The University. It is University policy that these be let to UWA students in the first instance. Some of these properties are reserved solely for let to postgraduate students. Those properties reserved for postgraduate students may be offered to full-time UWA postgraduate research students studying to at least Higher Degree or Professional Doctorate or Masters Level in order of merit (See 2.6 Order of Merit).

2.1.2 The University subsidises the rent on the units reserved for postgraduate students and as such, a student's financial circumstances are a key consideration in the allocation of these units. All other UWA owned residential properties will be let by order of merit (See 2.6 order of Merit).

2.1.3 Management of all UWA-owned residential properties is through a Managing Agent (currently Caporn Young, 4/355 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6010 Ph: 9385 5559), contracted through The University Office of Finance and Resources.

2.1.4 The Housing Office and The University Property Portfolio Manager are responsible for administering the allocation process of UWA owned residential properties.

2.2 Applications for Postgraduate Housing

2.2.1 Students interested in residing in accommodation reserved for postgraduate students must complete an "Application for Post-Graduate Housing" form and submit it to the Housing Officer.

2.2.2 The student's enrolment details are checked on the University Student Information Management System by the Housing Officer and the application details are entered onto a spreadsheet controlled by the Housing Office. Original application forms are held in the Housing Office filing system.

2.3 Selection Process for Vacant Properties

2.3.1 When a unit is or will become vacant, the UWA Housing Officer should be informed as soon as possible by the Residential Property Manager, including details of address, number of bedrooms, date of availability and weekly rent.

2.3.2 In all cases, priority for vacancies will be given to postgraduate students on the waiting list for post graduate housing.

2.4 Selection of Post Graduate Students

2.4.1 On notification of a vacancy in a UWA-owned residential property, The Housing Officer will review all applications currently on the waiting list for postgraduate housing and create a short list of students who appear to have the strongest need (see 2.6 Order of Merit).

2.4.2 The Housing Officer will contact those short listed to ascertain if they are still interested in securing a unit.

2.4.3 Where none of the students on the waiting list for postgraduate housing is interested in the vacancy at that time, the property will be advertised on the Housing Database to the general student population with instructions to contact the Managing Agent for further details. Where the interested students are postgraduate students, they should contact the Housing Officer and submit an Application for Postgraduate Housing. Where the property is a Bequest property, the listing will highlight that only postgraduate students need enquire.

2.4.4 All postgraduate students who wish to be considered for the vacancy should be interviewed by the Housing Officer (this may be a telephone or face-to-face interview). Applicants who have been interviewed within that last 6 months need not be reinterviewed.

The interview is an opportunity to discuss:

- student's financial resources

- study plans

- family structure

- current rent and any other charges and expiry date of current lease

- the limited off-street parking at units (where applicable)

2.4.5 Applicants are asked to produce:

  • Their current passport. International students should have a valid Australian Visa in their passport.
  • Current passports (international students only) for family members who will be residing with them.
  • Copies of their bank statements for the past 3 months.
  • Letter/s detailing the terms and conditions of their postgraduate scholarship/award.
  • Any other information they deem relevant to their application for housing.

2.4.6 Brief notes of the interview should be retained with the student's application. This should assist the Housing Officer to recall the student's circumstances when considering the student for any future vacancies if they are not successful in securing the current vacancy; Thus negating the need to re-interview the student should another vacancy arise in the next six months.

2.4.7 A copy of all relevant documentation should be retained on the applicant's file.

2.4.8 Following the interview, the Housing Officer will determine which student/s will be offered the chance to view the property. Email confirmation should be sent to the student and copied to the Residential Property Manager or Managing Agent directing the student to make an appointment with the Residential Property Manager to view the unit, if they have not already done so. According to the Residential Tenancies Act 1987, tenants are legally not eligible to apply for units which they have not personally viewed.

2.4.9 It may be that more than one student will be given the opportunity to view the same available property within a specific timeframe. Under these circumstances if both students view the property and both indicate a wish to rent the property, the Housing Officer will determine which student will be accepted based on the selection criteria.

2.4.10 Where the student is full-time postgraduate student, The Housing Officer will submit a copy of the student's Application for Postgraduate Housing to the Residential Property Manager and inform initial length of tenancy agreement and any other conditions to be applied. Where the student is not a postgraduate student, the student must complete the Managing Agent's application form.

2.4.11 The student is responsible for contacting the Residential Property Manager or Managing Agent regarding finalisation of a lease agreement and moving in dates etc.

2.5 Expanding Opportunity to Students not on the Postgraduate Housing Waiting List

2.5.1 In the event that no postgraduate students on the waiting list wish to be considered for the vacancy and the property is not one reserved solely for postgraduate students, the property will be advertised on the Housing Database to the general student population with instructions to contact the Residential Property Manager/Managing Agent directly.

2.5.2 Where a UWA owned residential property is advertised on the Housing Database and a postgraduate student wishes to apply for the tenancy directly through the Residential Property Manager, but they have not previously completed an Application for Postgraduate Housing, they will be given priority of consideration but they must complete an Application for Postgraduate Housing and submit it to the Housing Office before a tenancy is established.

2.5.3 In extraordinary circumstances, housing reserved solely for postgraduate students may be offered to an undergraduate student if their circumstances and financial position is very difficult and thus warrants special consideration. In such circumstances the matter should be referred to the Director, Student Services for consideration.

2.5.4 In the event that no other student is interested in the vacancy, a staff member may be considered for a short term tenancy.

2.5.5 A non-postgraduate student or staff member wishing to pursue renting the unit will be asked to deal with the Residential Property Manager directly to arrange a viewing of the property and finalisation of a tenancy agreement and moving in dates etc. if they are successful in securing the property. Where the student is not a postgraduate student, they must complete the Residential Property Manager's application form.

2.5.6 All tenants who are students should be informed that a condition of their lease is that they are a full-time enrolled UWA student. For Hackett Bequest properties (33 Cook Street) the tenant must acknowledge that the Premises were made available to them as a result of them being enrolled in a postgraduate research course at The University on a full time basis and taking into consideration their financial circumstance. The Tenant must advise the Managing Agent and/or the Student Services Housing Office within 7 days if they are no longer enrolled at UWA in an eligible postgraduate research programme, at which time they may be given notice to vacate.

2.5.7 The usual property letting procedure of the Residential Property Manager/Managing Agent will be applied, following points 2.6 Order of Merit and 2.7 Review Process of these guidelines.

2.6 Order of Merit

2.6.1 Vacant UWA owned residential properties should be offered, in the first instance, to students enrolled at UWA in order of merit, based on their course type, financial resources and family/individual circumstances. Course type priority is as follows:

1. Full-time enrolled Post-Graduate UWA student

2. Full-time enrolled Under-Graduate UWA student

3. Part-time enrolled Post-Graduate UWA student

4. Part-time enrolled Under-Graduate UWA student

5. UWA Research Associates

6. Any other UWA enrolled student

2.6.2 Postgraduate Programmes eligible for post graduate housing in order of priority are:

1. Higher Doctorate

2. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) including combined degree variants

3. Professional Doctorate

4. Master Degree by Research (thesis only)

5. Master's Degree by Research (creative work)

6. A Master's Degrees by Research (thesis and creative work)

7. A Master's Degree by Thesis and Coursework

8. A Master's Degree by Coursework

9. Higher Degree

10. Postgraduate Bachelor's

11. Graduate/Postgraduate Diploma

12. Graduate/Postgraduate Certificate

13. Any other postgraduate study

2.6.3 Undergraduate Programmes in order of priority are:

1. Undergraduate Bachelor's Degree (including Honours)

2. Undergraduate Diploma

3. Any other undergraduate study

2.6.4 Other things that will be taken into considered when allocating UWA-owned rental accommodation are:

Financial circumstances

Postgraduate student who appears to have the least financial resources to complete their studies will be given priority. AUSAID students in particular will be given higher priority.

Number of children

Single students will be given lower priority over those with children. The units themselves are unfurnished. Given the size of the units, single bedroom housing is only suitable for a maximum of 3 occupants being either a single student; single student with one child; a couple or a couple with one child under the age of 10 years old.

Current location of residence/residential circumstances

Students currently living far from UWA and those with high rent to pay will be given priority over those living close to UWA and those with a lower rent.

Students currently living in UWA owned housing will take lower priority than those living further from The University or with higher rent. Once a student has been allocated and place into postgraduate housing, it is not usual to facilitate a move to another post graduate property if the student simply changes their mind about the unit they are currently living. This will only be considered where the student's family circumstances change significantly making it impractical for them to continue to live in the original property allocated.

Other circumstances

Students with a disability and indigenous students will be given preference alongside the prevailing order of merit.

2.7 Review Process

2.7.1 Twice yearly after each of the HECS Census Dates the Housing Officer shall review the enrolment status of all students on the application waiting list for postgraduate housing.

2.7.1.1 Any applicant who is no longer enrolled full time at UWA or who may have suspended their studies will be removed from the waiting list and advised accordingly.

2.7.2 Once each year, during semester 1, the Housing Officer shall review the applications on the waiting list for postgraduate housing. Each student will be sent (via their student email address) a 'Continued Eligibility for Postgraduate Housing' form, which will require completion and return to the Housing Office within a specified period. Where the form is not returned, the student will be sent a reminder, before being withdrawn from the waiting list as a 'non-responded' applicant.

2.7.2.1 Once forms are returned, any applicant whose details/circumstances have changed rendering them ineligible for postgraduate housing will be notified accordingly and their applications withdrawn from the waiting list and re-filed accordingly.

2.7.3 The Residential Property Manager shall, on a monthly basis, complete a report for the UWA Property Manager detailing University-owned residential properties and tenancy status.

2.7.4 The Residential Property Manager shall, on a monthly basis, send a report to the UWA Housing Officer detailing University-owned residential properties and tenancy renewals due. On receipt of this report, the Housing Officer will check the enrolment/employment status of the current tenant and advise the Residential Property Manager whether the tenant is allowed to renew their lease and if so for how long; otherwise issue notice to vacate, unless otherwise authorised by the UWA Property Manager and/or Executive Director Finance and Resources and/or Director, Student Services.

2.7.5 The Housing Office will inform the Residential Property Manager any instance where a tenant may be advertising through the UWA Housing Database to sublet a room or property.

2.7.5.1 Where it is established that a tenant may be intending to sublet a room or property, the Residential Property Manager/managing agent shall investigate a possible breach of their tenancy agreement.

2.8 Reporting

2.8.1 Twice yearly after each of the HECS Census Dates the Housing Officer should prepare a brief report on the number of applications received for Postgraduate Housing, the number of students on the waiting list and the number of accommodated students and give details on any other issues and/or patterns relating to UWA owned residential property.

Related forms: (Link)

Postgraduate Housing web information:

http://www.housing.uwa.edu.au/on-campus

Application for Postgraduate Housing: http://www.studyat.uwa.edu.au/about/accommodation

TRIM File No:

F29109

Contact position:

Financial Aid/Housing Officer

Related Policies or legislation:

The University Endowment Act 1904: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/wa/repealed_act/uea1904277/notes.html

TRIM record number: 0501002028-01 and 0501002028-02

Trustees Act: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/wa/consol_act/ta1962140/

Senate Investments and Endowments Committee minutes TRIM record number 0604011040

Residential Tenancies Act 1987: http://www.slp.wa.gov.au/legislation/statutes.nsf/main_mrtitle_821_homepage.html



[1] In setting rent levels, guidance is provided by the decision of the Senate Investments and Endowments Committee resolution 33 in 1986 which stated "that the rentals charged for University residential properties be at normal commercial rates and that any subsidisation of rentals should be through existing facilities as are available to University staff and students." In coming to this decision, the Committee expressed the view that the Endowment Act precluded the granting of general rental subsidies.

[2] All higher education courses are accorded a course type code. Higher doctorates are classified 01; doctorates by research as classified 02; master's by research as classified 03. A listing of UWA research degrees classified 01, 02 or 03 is available from the Student Systems Group.

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