Southern Cross Community Housing

02 4421 5145

Complaints/Appeals/Service Requests

Complaints/Appeals/Service Requests
This page will assist you in making a Complaint, Appeal or Service Request:
DEFINITIONS: 
A Complaint is when a user of our service is dissatisfied with our service, standards, practices or policies
An Appeal is when a user of our service asks for a decision we have made, to be reviewed
A Service Request is when you ask SCCH to advocate in resolving an issue eg: a noise & nuisance complaint
 
SERVICE REQUESTS
HOW to MAKE a SERVICE REQUEST – Information for Tenants
Southern Cross tenants have the right to peaceful enjoyment of their property and to live in harmony with their neighbours.
Sometimes other tenants/neighbours can breach that right and may be responsible for causing Noise or Nuisance to others. Neighbours are also responsible for the conduct of visitors to their property.
Examples of this behaviour could be:
  • Excessively loud music playing regularly
  • Parking in your car parking spot in the complex
  • Using their premises for illegal behaviour
  • Aggressive/abusive behaviour towards yourself and others
  • Pets allowed to roam or causing annoyance through barking
  • Property care is very poor causing vermin/odour
What do I do if I have a problem with my Neighbour ?
  1. Try to solve the problem by talking with your neighbour in a calm manner or through mediation
  2. Contact the local council: if you think the person has breached council by-laws on loud music, barking dogs, overgrown trees, parking issues
  3. Contact the Police: if you feel at risk or you think the other person may have broken the law
What if I would like SCCH to investigate my issue?
SCCH will investigate your dispute if it involves possible breaches of the tenancy agreement by another SCCH tenant, and if you have tried to resolve the problem yourself.
It the complaint involves behaviour that is persistent or intentional, it represents a serious nuisance and annoyance or it causes interference with the peace, comfort or privacy of others; then you need to put your complaint in writing, stating the following:
  • Your name & address
  • The person you have the dispute with
  • Details of the complaint, and any supporting documentation. Please include details of what you have done to try and resolve the issue
  • The date of the incident/s you are complaining about
Community Justice Centres:
SCCH will make every effort to assist you in resolving the complaint, however sometimes we need to engage the services of the Community Justice Centres who are highly trained mediators, specialising in resolving disputes.
This service is FREE, quick, convenient and confidential. Their role is to make sure each person has a chance to have their say, helping to come to an agreement whenever possible. Remember mediation can only take place if the other person agrees.
If the other party does not agree, Community Justice will assist you with other options.
For more information phone 1800 990 777 or visit www.cjc.nsw.gov.au
 
Click on the following link to download a Service Request Form   Service Request Form
 
COMPLAINTS & APPEALS
Our Complaints & Appeals Policy outlines how we handle dissatisfaction with our service and our decisions. Its purpose is to:
  • Give applicants and tenants the right to complain or appeal
  • Make it easy for tenants and applicants to exercise that right
  • Help us review what is and isn’t working well in our organisation
Our Complaints and Appeals Procedure outlines how we will implement this policy so that we have effective ways to:
  • Register, investigate, resolve and record complaints and appeals                       
  • Enforce applicant & tenant rights, enabling applicant & tenant views to influence how we deliver our housing service
 
HOW to MAKE a COMPLAINT – Information for Tenants & Applicants
We want to offer a really good service to everyone in our community. Your views are welcome, even if they are critical. We will listen carefully to all suggestions and complaints. We are committed to improving our service.
When can I Complain?
 If you are not satisfied with our service or one of our policies, you have the right to complain. For instance, you might think we have done something unreasonable or illegal. Or you may feel we have treated you badly.
 Please give us a chance to fix the problem – we want to sort it out, whether we made a mistake, there was a misunderstanding, or we need to make a change to how we do things.
 If you want us to reconsider a decision we have made, you do not have to make a complaint, ask about our appeals procedure.
What should I do?
You can follow these steps in order, or you can choose to start at the point you feel most comfortable with. We will not treat you any differently because of the way you make a complaint.
* Talk directly to the person at SCCH who you think is responsible for sorting out the problem.   
If you are not sure, ask who you should talk to. Explain your problem and how you think it can be sorted out and listen to their response.
 This may resolve your complaint, but if not……..
 * Talk the problem over with someone who is not directly involved in the problem.
They can help you be clear about the problem and what can be done about it. They can help you decide the best way to handle it. They can also talk to us on your behalf.
 This may resolve your complaint, but if not……..
Put your Complaint in Writing
 You can use our complaint form or write us a letter describing what happened and why you are not satisfied. Be clear and to the point. Tell us what action you think should be taken, how the problem is affecting you and how urgent it is. Tell us if you need an interpreter, or someone to help you. (You can to ask for an appointment with your housing manager to help you fill out the complaints form.) When we have a written record of your complaint, we will follow our internal complaints procedure. You will be given a copy of this procedure. What will happen after I make my Complaint?
If our response still doesn’t resolve your complaint, you can…..
Take your Complaint to a Higher Authority
Ask us or your advocate which is the most appropriate person to escalate your complaint to. The higher authority may be able to mediate between us, and may make a binding decision. Examples are the Consumer Trader & Tenancy Tribunal, the Community Services Commission and the Anti-Discrimination Board.
What will happen after I make my Complaint?
We will listen to your complaint carefully and to anyone advocating on your behalf. We will discuss the different options with you. We will take part in mediation or arbitration if you want to use an external process. We will try to find a solution that satisfies you and is possible for us. 
What happens to the things I Say or Write?
At SCCH we keep a file about your complaint. This file will contain all correspondence during the complaints process. We will show you this file if you ask to see it. The details of your complaint may be recorded on the Housing Pathways register which is accessed by Housing NSW and other social housing providers.
What will be done to Resolve my Complaint?
We will put our response to your complaint in writing, this may be an:
  • Apology
  • Explanation of why things happen that way  
  • An assurance it won’t happen again
  • A description of the positive action we have taken to put things right  
Can I ask Someone else to Help me?
We will be as helpful as we can but you may also want someone who is outside of our organisation to help you. You can seek help from an advocate. For instance, you could ask a Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Service worker, a community worker or a friend to talk to us on your behalf or come with you to meet with us. You can ask for help from an ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution body’, for instance a Community Justice Centre. They will be able to act as mediator. You have the right to make an application for a hearing to another organisation, which can help resolve the problem by mediation and arbitration….
For example:
  • Breach of Residential Tenancy Agreement:
  • Consumer Trader & Tenancy Tribunal
  • Breach of supported accommodation service standards: Community Services Commission
  • Breach of the voluntary housing association Code of Practice: NSW Federation of Housing Associations Code of Practice Advisory Committee
  • Unfair discrimination: Anti-Discrimination Board; Disability Complaints Service
  • Breach of rules of incorporation: the relevant registration body, (Australian Securities Commission)   
What Records should I Keep?
Always keep a record of who you speak to, what they said and what they agreed to do, along with the date and time of the conversation. You may want to write a letter confirming these things, and telling us whether or not you are satisfied.
Click on the following link to download Complaints & Appeals Brochure  Tenant Complaints & Appeals Brochure  Click on the following link to download Complaints Form Complaint Form
 
HOW to MAKE an APPEAL – Information for Tenants & Applicants
At SCCH, we make decisions based on set guidelines that aim to be fair to everyone. These guidelines are our policies & procedures. These policies and procedures are designed to meet agreed standards of service for community housing and to comply with the law. You may not always agree with a decision we make. If you do not, it is important that you ask us to review our decision.

When can I Appeal a Decision?
Below are examples of decisions you may want reconsidered:
For an Applicant:
  • Not being accepted on the waiting list
  • Being given a low priority on the waiting list
  • Removal from the waiting list
  • Being allocated a property you do not want to accept
For a Tenant:
  • The level of your rent rebate
  • Being refused rehousing
  • Being refused a rent rebate
  • Refused permission to make modifications
  • Not being accepted as a member of the organisation
  • Having membership withdrawn
What should I do?
Talk to the person who made the decision, give them your reasons and ask them to reconsider their decision. If they make the same decision and you still think it is wrong or unfair you can appeal. Complete our appeals form (you can ask someone else to help you do this, or you can make an appointment to do it with a member of staff).
What will happen after I have lodged my Appeal?
The decision will be reviewed based on what you have written, an interview with you, the judgement of the person responsible for making the decision and our policy and procedure guidelines. Having considered all the information, we will either change our original decision in full or in part, or reject the appeal When will a Decision be Changed?  
When will a Decision be Changed?
The original decision will only be changed if  the decision was made without the full information, the decision was outside the relevant policy, procedures were not properly followed, the policy or procedure are found to be inadequate or to be inconsistent with community housing standards or the law.
What happens to the things I Say or Write?
At SCCH we keep a file about your appeal. This file will contain all correspondence during the appeals process. We will show you this file if you ask to see it. The details of your appeal may be recorded on the Housing Pathways register which is accessed by Housing NSW and other social housing providers.
Can I ask Someone else to Help me?
We will be as helpful as we can but you may also want someone outside of our organisation to help you. For instance, you could ask a Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Service worker, a community worker, or a friend to talk to us on your behalf or come with you to meet with us. You have the right to make an application for a hearing to another organisation which can help resolve the problem by mediation and arbitration.
What if I am not happy after the Internal Review & Appeal?
Decisions that you believe breach our landlord responsibilities or deny you your tenant rights under the Residential Tenancies Act should be resolved by an application to the Consumer Trader Tenancy Tribunal. Other decisions can be referred to our independent appeals panel. We will have the decision reconsidered by a panel made up of a tenant (not necessarily from same organisation), an advocacy body (e.g. the Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Service), a legal expert (e.g. a Community Justice Centre, or Community Legal Centre), an independent expert practitioner (e.g. another housing provider), and a person with appropriate expertise/cultural understanding (e.g. an Aboriginal person, a person with expert understanding of disability). You will have an opportunity to present your case to the panel. Their aim is to mediate between us and you, and therefore achieve a mutually satisfactory outcome. They will advise our management committee of their decision. Their decision will be binding for us.
You can also ask us if there are other appropriate external appeals processes you could access. Click on the following link to download Complaints & Appeals Brochure   Tenant Complaints & Appeals Brochure
 
Additional Information
 
The following Tenancy Advisory Services may be able to assist you with your enquiries:
 
If you are a Nowra, Ulladulla or Batemans Bay & regions tenants……

Illawarra and South Coast Tenants Service
 
Advice hours: Monday 9:00–1:00, Wednesday 9:00–1:00, Thursday 1:00–5:00, Friday 9:00–1:00
 
Phone: 02 4274 3475
Free call: 1800 807 225
 
Location: Wollongong
 
Alternatively, phone the Tenants Advice Line: Monday 10:00–1:00 and 2:30–5:30 on 1800 251 101.
 
Southern NSW Aboriginal Tenants Service
 
For Aboriginal tenants. Other tenants, contact your local general Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service.
 
Advice hours: Monday–Friday 9:00–5:00
 
Phone: 02 4472 9363
Free call: 1800 672 185
 
Location: Batemans Bay
 
Website
 
 
Alternatively, phone the Tenants Advice Line: Monday 10:00–1:00 and 2:30–5:30 on 1800 251 101.
 
 
If you are Cooma, Bombala or Jindabyne tenants………
 
South West (NSW) Tenants Advice Service
 
Advice hours: Monday–Friday 9:00–5:00
 
Phone: 1800 642 609
 
Location: Bathurst
 
Alternatively, phone the Tenants Advice Line:  Monday 10:00–1:00 and 2:30–5:30 on 1800 251 101.
 
Southern NSW Aboriginal Tenants Service
 
For Aboriginal tenants. Other tenants, contact your local general Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service.
Advice hours: Monday–Friday 9:00–5:00
Phone: 02 4472 9363
Free call: 1800 672 185

Location: Batemans Bay
 
Website
 
 
Alternatively, phone the Tenants Advice Line: Monday 10:00–1:00 and 2:30–5:30 on 1800 251 101.
 
Please click on the links below to read through the following Fact Sheets:
Roles and Responsibilities Community Housing Fact Sheet – the information in this fact sheet will help you understand the roles and responsibilities of organisations that might be able to assist you in resolving a complaint, issue or appeal.
Community Housing Related Complaints Fact sheet – this fact sheet outlines where to go with a complaint about a community housing provider.
Applicant of Community Housing Complaints Fact sheet – this fact sheet is applicable if you have applied for community housing and have a complaint concerning your application or would like to appeal a decision concerning your application.
Tenant of Community Housing Complaints Fact sheet – If you are a tenant of community housing and you have a concern regarding your tenancy or the service provided, then this fact sheet will assist you.
Appeals and Reviewing Decisions  Fact Sheet – Tenants and applicants can appeal a decision that affects their entitlements, this fact sheet will give you more information
Nowra Family Support
Milton Ulladulla Family Support
Monaro Family Support
Moruya Women & Childrens Services
SAHSSI: Supported Accommodation & Homelessness Services Shoalhaven Illawarra
CareSouth Nowra
Waminda South Coast Women's Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation
Habitat Personnel Nowra
Salvation Army
Richmond PRA Nowra
Yumaro Incorporated Moruya
Disability Trust Nowra
Ulladulla & Districts Community Resource Centre
Tenant Participation Resource Service
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