Calculating your rent payments

When you live in public (social) housing, the amount of rent you pay is based on your income, and the income of people you live with. This is called ‘Income Related Rent’. 

Income Related Rent means:

  • you pay some of the rent
  • the government pays some of the rent.

We'll pay your rent directly to your landlord if you get either:

  • a main benefit, eg, Jobseeker Support or Sole Parent Support
  • New Zealand Superannuation, or
  • Veteran's Pension.

Otherwise you'll need to arrange to pay it to your landlord.

How we calculate your rent

  • Step 1 - Work out your weekly household income

    We work out what your total weekly household income is after tax.

    This includes any income that you, your partner, anyone else on the tenancy agreement and their partners, get.

    Income can include:

    • a benefit from Work and Income
    • NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension
    • Student Allowance
    • wages
    • salary
    • commission
    • Parental Leave payments
    • Child Support payments (if you have no other income)
    • income from assets (e.g. income from a rental property you own, or interest on savings)
    • Minimum family tax credits.

    If your income changes often, or you get payments for board, we may work out your weekly income in a different way.

    Your income changes often

    If your income changes often (e.g. if you work casual hours, or are self-employed), we look at your total income over a longer period of time (at least 4 weeks). We then work out your average weekly income based on this.

    For example, you earn the following amounts (after tax) over 4 weeks:

    • Week 1: $400
    • Week 2: $300
    • Week 3: $700
    • Week 4: $420

    Altogether this comes to $1,820 after tax. We divide this by the number of weeks it covers (4). This would make your average weekly income $455 after tax.

    Income from board payments

    If you get payments for board, we only consider these as income when:

    • they're your only income, or
    • you have 3 or more boarders.

    Board payments are your only income

    If board payments are your only income, we use the total amount you get each week as your weekly income.

    3 or more boarders

    To calculate your weekly income we:

    • don't include the 2 highest board payments
    • add all the other board payments together
    • calculate 62% of those combined board payments.

    For example, you have 4 boarders and they are paying $100, $110, $120 and $150 each week. So we:

    • don't include get the 2 highest board payments ($120 and $150)
    • add all the other board payments together ($100 + $110 = $210)
    • 62% of $210 is $130.20.

    Your weekly income would be $130.20.

  • Step 2 - Check your income threshold

    We find out what your living situation is. Then, using the table below, we check what your income threshold is.

    For example, if you're living by yourself, your weekly income threshold (after tax) is $436.94.

    Living situation

    Weekly income threshold (after tax)

    Living by yourself $436.94
    Single and living with others but you’re the only person on the tenancy agreement $436.94
    Single with children $672.22

    Living with your partner (with or without children)

    * It doesn't matter if your partner is on the tenancy agreement or not

    $672.22

    Living with others (who are not your partner or your children), and there is at least one other person on the tenancy agreement $672.22
  • Step 3 - Calculate your rent payment

    We check if your total weekly household income (after tax) is higher or lower than your income threshold.

    Income is higher than your income threshold

    If your total weekly household income (after tax) is higher than your income threshold, first we:

    1. take your income threshold, and
    2. calculate 25% of it.

    Then we:

    1. take your total weekly household income (after tax)
    2. work out how much is over the income threshold
    3. calculate 50% of this amount.

    Then we add these two amounts together to work out your rent payment.

    For example:

    1. Your income threshold is $672.22.
    2. 25% of that threshold is $168.05.

    Then:

    1. Your income is $700 (after tax) a week.
    2. This is $27.78 over the income threshold.
    3. 50% of $27.78 is $13.89.

    We add $168.05 and $13.89 together, which makes your rent $182 per week.

    Income is lower than your income threshold

    If your total weekly household income (after tax) is lower than your income threshold, we:

    1. take your total weekly household income (after tax)
    2. calculate 25% of it.

    For example:

    1. Your total household income is $600 (after tax) a week.
    2. 25% of this is $150.

    This makes your rent $150 per week.

  • Step 4 - Family tax credits

    If you get family tax credits (not including Best Start and Minimum family tax credits), we work out the lowest amount of either:

    • 25% of your weekly family tax credit payment or
    • $28.26 of your weekly family tax credit payment,

    We then add the lower amount to your rent payment.

  • Step 5 - Finalise your rent payment

    Once we’ve worked out your rent payment, we either round it up or down to the nearest dollar. If the amount of cents is:

    • 99 cents, we round it up
    • 98 cents or less, we round it down.
  • Step 6 - Check against market rent or minimum rent required

    If you’re not sure what the market rent price is for your property, you can find this out from your property provider or landlord.

    Rent calculation is more than market rent

    If the rent payment we’ve worked out for you is more than the actual market rent price for the property, you’ll only pay the market rent amount.

    Rent payment is lower than the minimum amount required

    There is a minimum amount of rent you have to pay, depending on your circumstances. This amount is the lowest rent that a public housing provider can charge.

    If the rent amount we’ve calculated for you is lower than the minimum amount, you’ll need to pay the minimum amount instead.

    The table below shows the minimum rent payment for each circumstance.

    Your circumstances

    Minimum rent payment

    Single, 24 or younger $45
    Single, 25 or older $54
    Single with children $84
    2 or more adults with no children $91
    2 or more adults with children $97
  • Examples

    Sole parent

    Julie is a sole parent with an 8 year old son. She gets a Sole Parent Support payment of $386.78 a week. Her living situation is single with children.

    • Her total household income is $386.78 a week (after tax).
    • Her income threshold is $672.22.

    Because Julie’s total household income ($386.78) is lower than her income threshold ($672.22), we calculate 25% of her household income.

    • 25% of $386.78 is $96.69.
    • Julie also gets family tax credits of $113.04 per week. We work out 25% of $113.04, which comes to $28.26. We then add $96.69 and $28.26 together (and round it down to the nearest dollar). This makes Julie’s rent $125 a week.

    Couple with children

    Sam and Jo live with their 2 year old daughter and 6 year old son. They both work part-time, and are paid $350 (after tax) each.

    • Their total household income is $700 (after tax) a week.
    • Their income threshold is $672.22.

    Because Sam and Jo’s income is higher than their income threshold, we:

    • take their income threshold ($672.22)
    • calculate 25% of it, which is $168.05.

    Then we:

    • take their total household income ($700)
    • work out how much is over the income threshold, which is $27.78
    • calculate 50% of this amount, which is $13.89.

    We then add $163.01 and $13.89 together, which is $176.90

    They also get a family tax credit payment of $204.29 per week. This means we work out the lowest amount of either:

    • 25% of $204.29 which is $51.07, or
    • $28.26 of their weekly family tax credit payment.

    We then add $176.90 and $28.26 together (and round down to the nearest dollar). This makes Sam and Jo’s rent $205 per week.

    Single, living on your own

    Barry is single and living on his own. He does casual work, and his hours change from week to week. For the past 4 weeks, Barry has earned the following amounts:

    • Week 1: $400 (after tax)
    • Week 2: $300 (after tax)
    • Week 3: $700 (after tax)
    • Week 4: $420 (after tax)

    Altogether this comes to $1,820 (after tax). We divide this by the number of weeks this covers (4), which makes Barry’s average weekly income $455.

    • His total household income is $455 (after tax) a week.
    • His income threshold is $436.94.

    Because Barry's income is higher than his income threshold, we:

    • take his income threshold ($436.94)
    • calculate 25% of it, which is $109.23.

    Then we:

    • take his total household income ($455)
    • work out how much is over the income threshold, which is $18.06
    • calculate 50% of this amount, which is $9.03.

    We then add $109.23 and $9.03 together (and round it down to the nearest dollar). This makes Barry’s rent $118.00 per week.

  • Disagree with rent amount

    If you disagree with a decision about your rent, talk to us. We may be able to solve the problem or explain the decision.

    If you still disagree, you can apply for a review of decision.