Aboriginal Community Owned & Managed

News & Events

Where Does My Rent Money Go? (updated April 2023)

Posted on 18 Jan 2022

One of the most common questions we receive from our tenants is about where rental payments go, so we’ve created a video to help you learn more.

Fixed Costs

First of all, there are fixed costs that need to be paid for every week. The average subsidised rent charged per SEARMS dwelling is $217 per week*, and the majority of this payment is used for fixed costs directly related to the rental property.

Weekly fixed costs include:

Council Rates, Water Rates & Overhead Costs

  • These rates vary based on the area of your residence and the size of your rental property.
  • The average costs per property come to approximately $163 per week*.


  • Each property has dwellings insurance in the event of a bushfire, natural disaster, liability claim, or other accident.
  • For an average SEARMS property, these costs come to approximately $50 per week*.
  • It is the Tenant’s responsibility to take out Contents Insurance for their personal belongings.

Repairs & Maintenance

When 100% of your weekly rent is collected and all of your fixed costs are paid, there is an average of only $4 left over*. This left over $4 each week is used to attend to Repairs & Maintenance requests for your home. However, this depends on everyone being up to date with their subsidised rent payments.

Firstly, there are some services that are required for compliance, such as Smoke Alarm Testing and Electrical Testing.  Some housing portfolios also require regular pest inspections. These services come out of the left over $4.

Next are urgent repairs, which may include hot water system failures, electrical faults, gas leaks, or serious roof leaks. These repairs are also paid for out of the left over $4.

Then there are non-urgent repairs, including repairs to broken taps, fallen gutters and damaged clotheslines. This comes out of the left over $4 too.

It’s important for you to understand that if everyone in your housing portfolio does not pay 100% of their rent bills, some of your Repairs & Maintenance requests may not be able to be carried out due to a lack of funds.

For more detail on the Categories and Types of work, please read the Repairs & Maintenance FAQ.

Tenant Property Care

Tenant Property Care is your responsibility, and includes pest control, changing smoke alarm batteries, and taking care of the home.

If there is damage caused to your home either by yourself, an occupant, or guests, including, but not limited to; broken windows and doors, damaged fly screens, damage to internal walls and fittings, lost keys, and oven damage that requires a replacement, you, the tenant, will be invoiced for these repairs.



If you have any further questions related to your rental payments, please email your query to operations@searms.com.au.

*Rental payment and cost amounts are estimated averages only and are based on the average cost per week for a typical free-standing 3-bedroom house across all housing portfolios as at December 2022.