My landlord is rorting the system - how well are govt depts linked?

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by Lou, 3rd Dec, 2009.

  1. Lou

    Lou Member

    Joined:
    3rd Dec, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Sydney
    I moved into an apartment 6 weeks ago in which i pay $200 a week incl bills.
    The landlord who also lives in the apartment bought it around 8 weeks ago with the home owners grant

    I am unemployed and have been getting rent assistance from centrelink. i gave her the form to sign which she said she wouldn't as she doesn't want the property to be an investment property (now i know why she wanted cash in hand for the rent) and is worried that if she signs it, it will be on centrelink's records which will get cross referenced with ato or the mob who have a record of who owns houses and she will get done to renting when she shouldn't be or even if she can rent, she isn't declaring it.

    so i have given my 2 weeks notice and informed her that i may have to pay centrelink back for what i claimed which i thought i was entitled to.
    she just came to me and said she would sign the form as a kind gesture and hopes that it won't get picked up in the system that she has rented and not declared.

    what i want to know is how well linked is centrelink with the ato on these matters? she shouldn't even be on centrelinks records as she has never clamed off them so she wouldn't even have CRN. surely me saying she's my landlord would just go on as a note on my file and that's it? would the ATO be able to trace that she has rented a room out? note by the time she lodges a return next year my address will be different as I am moving in 2 weeks. so in total she has rented the room out for 7.5 weeks. surely the ato would have bigger fish to fry?
     
  2. twobobsworth

    twobobsworth Member

    Joined:
    11th Feb, 2007
    Messages:
    2,109
    Location:
    Sydney NSW
    Why worry about it. It's not your problem.
     
  3. Lou

    Lou Member

    Joined:
    3rd Dec, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Sydney
    yep i know. i was ready to dob her in myself earlier. she informed me that all the chinese who buy in sydney do it. i was livid.
     
  4. Rolf Latham

    Rolf Latham Member

    Joined:
    2nd Mar, 2001
    Messages:
    18,791
    Location:
    Confused = Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast
    boarding income isnt declarable income per se ? So there isnt an ATO nor FHOG osr issue ?

    ta
    rolf
     
  5. Lou

    Lou Member

    Joined:
    3rd Dec, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Sydney
    could you explain this further?

    what you are saying is she is an owner, i am technically a boarder so the income isn't declarable to the ATO?
     
  6. Rolf Latham

    Rolf Latham Member

    Joined:
    2nd Mar, 2001
    Messages:
    18,791
    Location:
    Confused = Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast
    I believe that is correct, but then I always say to people pls seek specialist tax advice.

    ta
    rolf
     
  7. Perp

    Perp Member

    Joined:
    31st Oct, 2007
    Messages:
    6,747
    Media:
    5
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD
    If you have a rent agreement (ie lease), then you're a tenant. If you give her cash to "cover expenses" without benefit of a lease, then you're in a share house / boarding situation, and Rolf's correct, the income doesn't need to be declared, and I don't believe she'd be jeopardising either FHOG or ATO wrath.

    The issue then becomes whether you're entitled to rent assistance from Centrelink when boarding, and I don't know the answer - you'd have to ask Centrelink. But the $200 per week should be termed a "contribution to household expenses", rather than rent, to avoid the landlord getting into trouble.
     
  8. RumpledElf

    RumpledElf all fun in the big city!

    Joined:
    28th Apr, 2008
    Messages:
    5,641
    Location:
    Sydney
    I'm on some Centerlink pay and so are my tenants - I found it hilarious that I was registering for Centerpay to get their pensions docked and the rent put directly into my account on one hand, and filling out a declaration form on the house for my own pay on the other hand. They may crossmatch but they do it very, very slowly and you can't count on it. We just work on the principle of telling them everything and letting them work it out.

    I don't know if you can get rent assistance if you are boarding. It might say on Centerlink's website somewhere. If you are boarding I hope you don't need to connect your own electricity etc - those *should* be covered.
     
  9. Perp

    Perp Member

    Joined:
    31st Oct, 2007
    Messages:
    6,747
    Media:
    5
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD
    It does. :)

    "if you pay for board and lodging but are unable to tell us exactly what you pay for each, two thirds of the amount you pay will be accepted"
     
  10. willair

    willair xx

    Joined:
    23rd Jan, 2003
    Messages:
    6,850
    Media:
    3
    Location:
    fibro humpy..
    I have 2 tenants on centrelink rental *** payments,every six months or so i have to sign some paperwork to say how much rent is paided,who i am and afew other personal items:rolleyes:,but they post post those forms to the rental property not to me,so your landlord would be in the "System"and as my Accountant told me last night doing our 08-09 tax the ATO can look at anything you control..imho willair..
     
  11. Lou

    Lou Member

    Joined:
    3rd Dec, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Sydney
    i had a look at a centrelink brochure in terms of what is considered boarding-style accommodation. it more refers to guesthouses, hotels, and boarding houses. i am not sure if a 2 bedroom apartment with one room spare would be considered a boarding house but:

    1. i do pay an inclusive rate which i have no idea what is for rent and what is
    for bills - it's just $200 inclusive.
    2. it is only a short-term, will have only been here 2 months by the time i
    leave
    3. i don't have a say in this apartment. she has had people and their parents
    come in and out of this apartment without informing me and i just have to
    accept it.
    4. i have never signed a lease or agreement, it was always just provide 2
    weeks notice

    these are some of the conditions that qualify as boarding-style on the centrelink brochure.

    the upside of this as well is i actually get more money from centrelink by lodging than i would being a sharer which is a plus for me.
    i also don't have to indicate that she owns the home though i still need to mention her as the person i pay the rent to.

    i still have doubts as to whether this income isn't taxable even as a boarder. The $200 a week covers everything. I doubt my share of expenses per week is $200 so surely there is an excess that is beneficial to my owner/landlord.

    although on the grand scheme of things with interest rates and the westpac rise the other day combined with elect/phone/internet/rates etc, it'd prob come close
     
  12. Rolf Latham

    Rolf Latham Member

    Joined:
    2nd Mar, 2001
    Messages:
    18,791
    Location:
    Confused = Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast
    a good comparison may be a home stay student

    generally not taxable

    ta
    rolf
     
  13. kathryn d

    kathryn d Member

    Joined:
    27th Nov, 2005
    Messages:
    5,745
    Location:
    Nova Scotia Canada
    You're not begrudging her to make a profit, are you?
    Having someone live in your home, and do extra wear and tear on the property (even if you don't think you have) must be taken into consideration.
    Your landlord is not trying to be sneaky, probably just trying to survive, without being on Centerlink themselves.
     
  14. Lou

    Lou Member

    Joined:
    3rd Dec, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Sydney
    She was being sneaky, she didnt want to sign a form cos it would risk her being found out she is renting a room out. There wouldnt be a problem signing the form, bond and rent each fortnight wouldn't have to be cash only etc. Whether she has done nothing wrong or not still doesn't eradicate the fact that she thought she probably was.

    I am being considerate here and trying to get the best result for the both of us.
    But I am glad i am moving. she is lovely person but her ethics aren't my cup of tea.

    And what was the utter end for me was when she said she would sign the form so i wouldnt be out of pocket and have to pay centrelink back but cos she said she would be taking a tiny risk of getting found out, she thinks i should contribute to the bills even though i already pay $200 incl bills a week which was what was specified in the ad!
    it's disgraceful as far as i'm concerned, anything to get a bit of extra dough.
    interest rates go up and she does what she can to get more cash out of me when i'm unemployed.

    It is especially disgusting when i know she has a damn good job and salary.
    I have put up with a lot since living here, people coming and going, cramming 5 people into a 2 bedroom unit without even consulting me. not to mention these people have a key to originally let themselves in - not fun having strangers walk in on a weekday arvo unexpectedly.
    i shouldn't even be as considerate as i am being.
    reading the rules this definitely never was a share house and i am a boarder.
     
  15. kathryn d

    kathryn d Member

    Joined:
    27th Nov, 2005
    Messages:
    5,745
    Location:
    Nova Scotia Canada
    She was ignorant of the rules. Nobody ever wants to get themselves into trouble.Many rules fall into a gray area.
    The fact she has a good income, means she is able to buy a house, for people like you and I to use when we do not have one.

    Last year we stayed in a share house for a short time. We rented the bedroom and had use of the kitchen and lounge room. We paid $300 a week cash which included cereal or toast for our breakfast.
    She had a granny flat which she also rented the rooms.People came and went, and we were certainly not consulted, nor thought we should be.

    You seem to be very angry, and I'm not sure why.
     
  16. Lou

    Lou Member

    Joined:
    3rd Dec, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Sydney
    I have every right to be annoyed. I moved in here on the basis that i wouldnt have to move again until i got a job and wanted to. Now I do.

    I also moved in on the basis that there was two of us, this is a share house. I pay rent for that privalege. I explicit discussed what i wanted before moving in, no landlord on my case constantly cos it's her house, i wanted a home.
    If I had a friend staying over, I would consult my flatmate. She invited a friend and the friends parents to stay without consulting me, without even telling me they were turning up one afternoon and letting themselves in with a key. She said they were leaving for a few days and coming back. They were back the next morning, let themselves in while i was walking around half in the buff because i believed i was home alone.
    That sort of crap is not on in a share house which is what i moved in believing this was and so did she. She has never referred to me as a boarder. The inviting 3 people to stay without asking a flatmate she says is what you do in china so i am supposed to accept that and be okay with it even though i am an australian in australia.
    it is damn disrespectful. and i don't want to live with someone like that.
    It is not on and i don't know one person sharing who would put up with it.

    I could have possibly had to pay back a few hundred dollars because she wasn't doing the right thing and was trying to hide it. do you think i needed that stress?

    It annoys me there are so many chinese migrating here who know on some level that what they are doing is possibly illegal and rake the rewards which she is and from what she tells me so are many many others. NOTE I DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM WITH CHINESE MIGRATING HERE. i am honest and i don't like people coming here and being dishonest.

    I don't like being ripped off - the 'i will sign your form for dates til you move out' but i am doing you the favour and so even though i already charge you a weekly rate inclusive of bills, i am going to try and get a bit more money out of you?'.
    i am barely surviving on unemployment which she knows.

    it's the whole attitude and mentality that gets on my goat.
    and the fact that i don't need the stress nor should it have ever been an issue.
     
  17. gg1965

    gg1965 Member

    Joined:
    17th May, 2009
    Messages:
    455
    Media:
    1
    Location:
    Canberra
    This may be off topic to the thread or it may be related to it. But concerning your words above, the Chinese people that you mention cominghere and rorting and possibly doing ilegal things are only things that are natural for them.

    If you have ever spent time in China, or Asia in general, you'll realise that most people there do things like this when they can. It is in their psyche to get what they can and to look after themselves and their fmailies in their own way. They aren't as laid back and carefree as us, because they come from a country or an area that is very competitive, where there is no forced Super, very limited government support etc - so they have to do what they can to get ahead.

    The people that move here are just doing what they do all their lives - that is, find ways to get ahead. Also, it is almost impossible to find a chinese person that will go out of their way to help you, especially if it means that they will not prosper or gain from helping you.

    To the chinese, their families and their inner circle is the most important aspect of their lives and looking after themselves and their families is number one priority. Their inner circle of friends is number 2 and, strangers well they are forgotten about. I dare say, since you only have known this person for a couple of weeks, then you are a stranger.

    So her behaviour of families and friends coming over at a drop of the hat and letting themselves in is normal.

    I've got a Taiwanese wife and when we were living in Taiwan, everything was family based. In laws would have the key to our house, aunties would be lving downstairs and they'd drop in, arguments would occur with strangers, but the WHOLE family supported each other and the stranger was always wrong - regardless if they were actually correct.

    They don't have the social ettiquette that we have when it comes to looknig after other people. They push in so they can get ahead of queues, get in your way and do all type of thigns so they get what they want or get what they can.

    Bottlomline, they are just bringing to this country their culture in looking atfer themselves and looking out for themselves in the only way they know. It is how they were bought up. They know that if they don't then they won't get ahead - and it is not recevied well by their family and/or freinds if they don't get ahead.

    I once had a thought about the social situation in China (and this applies to other countries in Asia as well). I wonder what it would be like if they had a hippie sub-culture or a hippie era like we did? I wonder then if their society would be different to what it is now.

    The basis on this theory, is that many countries in Asia have had a politically rough and socially unstable time in the last few decades, ie Vietnamese War, Cambodian War, Cultural Revolution, Civil war in China, Japanese invading Manchuria, Pacific War in WW2, Korean war, ongoing threats of attack and take-overs by neighbouring countries, long history of empires and ruthless carnage etc.....And because of all that, many people in the region have not had a stable and secure upbringing - and taking that further, many people/families basically had to look after themselves in a manner that not many aussies are used to.

    Now taking this one step further, what if these conflicts never occured, and what if Asia had a loud counter culture, such as a hippie culture in the 60s instead. I think we would see a vastly different culture in Asian countries today.

    Anyway, i am digressing and maybe i am a frustrated academic who wants to go back to uni with phd ideas - to respond to your comments, the asian (mostly Chinese) culture is about looking after themselves. So don't think they will look after you unless you are in their inner circle or are a fmaily member. Their concept of group houses are just a business transaction, and family and friends are much higher on the pecking order then you are.

    Its just culture.



    Thanks

    g
     
    joanmc and Casserole Dish like this.
  18. BlackSpider

    BlackSpider Member

    Joined:
    3rd May, 2007
    Messages:
    363
    Location:
    Sydney
    I don't like the way some Chinese landlords sublet to the max.
    Especially with students.
    One case I know of is a family of 3 renting out all available space in a 4 bedroom house.
    There are about 6 students living there.
    The single garage has been partitioned to cram another 2 students in.
    This is disgusting, no natural light or ventilation !
    And to charge $150/week for this too.
     
  19. Mamaof3

    Mamaof3 Member

    Joined:
    26th Jan, 2007
    Messages:
    669
    Location:
    Adelaide
    I would agree with G's comments and also would say that being Asian (Vietnamese) myself i think its also very much a generational thing because my Parents aren't like that and neither is my Brother or myself.

    I also know many others (who are not Asian) that do this and yes its wrong and yes it often bugs me but unless it affects me personally then i just don't worry about it.

    I think because in this case you're directly affected by her actions then you have the right to say something to her. Raise the issues you have with her and if she doesn't act accordingly then you could have 2 options, either raise it with the relevant authority (i'm not sure who this would be or whether Residential Tenancies are the right people) and get some assistance to sort it out OR move out and find somewhere else to live with the conditions you're happy with.

    Good luck and i hope it all works out ok for you.
     
  20. ianvestor

    ianvestor Future Middleman

    Joined:
    18th Nov, 2007
    Messages:
    2,370
    Media:
    10
    Location:
    Brisbane
    There's obviously a demand for their supply, so imho that's a beautiful thing. And I think most students who get into these places actually want to be there and would be really annoyed if the gummit authorities got them kicked out.