1Are Homestay payments considered assessable income by the ATO?
No. The ATO have reviewed their Interpretive Decision ATO ID 2001/381 and continue to treat amounts received by a taxpayer with regard to a student who is boarding with them under a homestay arrangement as not assessable under 6-5 of the Income Tax Assessment Act (ITAA 1997) Cwth. Facts The taxpayer boards a student in their home under a homestay arrangement. The taxpayer intends to board one or two students at any time. The amounts paid to the taxpayer to board the homestay student are used to pay all of the household expenses of the student (food, electricity, phone, internet etc). There may be a negligible amount of surplus money after expenses in any particular week. For more information visit the ATO's website. https://law.ato.gov.au/atolaw/view.htm?DocID=AID/AID2001381/00001&PiT=99991231235958
2Why do I have to pay the registration fee?
We have absorbed the costs associated with the host registration process since we started in 1987, we are unable to absorb these costs any longer and as of 1 May 2010 have implemented the host registration fee. It covers the cost of the Host Coordinator visiting your home for the first interview and subsequent re-inspections, the fee is payable on or before the interview. Homestay Network reserves the right to charge this fee at its sole discretion.
3What happens once I submit my Host Application?
We will review your application and if you meet our criteria we will contact you to arrange a family interview, home inspection and completion of the Working with With Children Check. If all goes well you will be able to receive students from us on an ongoing basis. We have many hosts who have been hosting students for us since our inception.
4Do I need a background check to host for Homestay Network?
Hosting students falls under the Childrens and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998, NSW and other similar Acts in all Australian states and Territories . As a prescribed service provider Homestay Network Pty Limited takes its legal obligations very seriously, therefore we conduct Working With Children Checks and National Police checks on ALL our families. Before we can place students or guests with any host family we require the Working With Children Check to be conducted on all persons living in your house who are over 18 years of age. We ask for your understanding with this process. Read More About Host Background Checks
5Do I need specific Host Liability Insurance?
It depends if your home and contents insurer will cover you for liabilities that arise from having a paying guest then the answer is No. We will need to sight confirmation of coverage from your insurer and the certificate of currency for your home and contents insurance. Please read our Host Insurance page for more information. Homestay Network recommends HostPlus Insurance and details of this coverage can be found on this website or by contacting the office.
6How much notice is the guest to provide me on leaving?
We advise guest to provide two (2) weeks notice in advance or pay two weeks fees in lieu of notice.
7Can I access the guest’s bedroom at any time?
No, this is the guest’s private space. We don’t allow hosts to enter the student's room without knocking and waiting for a reply and in turn, we don’t expect students to be entering any other family members bedroom as a habit. The student's room should not be used as storage and should not be accessed whilst they are out of their room.
8What about food?
The biggest adjustment to life in Australia for most students is getting used to Aussie food. We expect students to eat the food that families eat in Australia, however, it’s always nice to accommodate their taste by including an Asian style meal at least once per week such as stir fry etc.
9Should I be concerned with food preparation, handling and storage?
We cannot stress enough that you take additional steps and care when preparing food for guests in the home. This is very important for all guests Homestay Network offers you. Australia has one of the best and safest food supplies in the world, but a lot can happen between when it leaves the producer and arrives in your home for preparation and cooking and for food they may purchase away from the home. We have researched the following links to help you, they are from the NSW Food Authority. Keeping Food Safe Food Poisoning.
10What meals are included in Standard Homestay?
Guest’s midday meals are not supplied by the host family. Standard Homestay includes 7 (seven) breakfasts and dinners each week. If a guest requests lunches during the week you can provide this for an extra cost. Always check with the guest if they have any food dislikes or allergies. They may hint to you about their favourite foods. Additionally, we suggest that hosts indicate a space in the cupboard where students could put their own noodles, special snacks etc...
11What about housework?
Guests are advised to be courteous and helpful in their new environment to ensure they have a happy Homestay experience, being positive always helps. Each morning the guest should make their bed and tidy their room. You may be asked to help guests change bed linen if the bed is difficult to make. It is the student's responsibility to wash their clothes, change the bed and keep their room clean. Guests are advised to never hang wet clothes in the bedroom or bathroom. They are also advised to look for ways to help the host family and that you will appreciate their willingness and consideration to help and be part of the family.
12What if the guest wishes to smoke?
Guests need to advise Homestay Network if they smoke as we will need to ensure they are placed with a family that is okay with smoking. Guests are advised that smoking is never permitted inside their bedroom as it could cause a fire and will make the house smell. They may be able to smoke outside the house or on a veranda or balcony if you are in agreement.
13Will I provide house keys to the guest?
Homestay guests are to be given a house key as this is their home too whilst they are here. If they are the last person to leave the house, please make sure they know how to make sure all exterior windows and doors are closed and locked for security reasons.
14Will the guest be able to access the telephone and internet?
Guests wishing to have internet access will need to arrange this at their own expense. Telephone use will be at the discretion of the host parents, guests should seek permission to make calls to mobiles and overseas and reimburse the host family for the cost of calls, or purchase a calling card. They should keep a list of any local phone calls they make on your telephone as should you, this way you can compare when the bill arrives and be reimbursed for these costs. Alternatively, they may have a phone line installed but must seek your permission for this. Charges for a phone line to be installed and costs associated with a phone are at the cost of the guest.
15What if I have problems with the guest?
We advise that the host and the student try to resolve any matter that may arise as soon as possible. If this cannot be achieved please call our helpful staff on 02 9412 3100 to ask questions and to work with you and the guest to resolve any issues. If the issue persists we will work with you and the guest to provide alternate accommodation etc if the issue cannot be resolved to mutual satisfaction.
16What if a guest alleges inappropriate and/or unacceptable behaviour?
In the unlikely event that a guest alleges inappropriate, unwelcome and/or unacceptable behaviour whilst in a Homestay Network host family, we take the minimum following actions, as recommended by NSW Department of Community Services: The Homestay host is required to refund any accommodation prepayments made by the guest or Homestay Network; Investigate the matter, bearing in mind the sensitivity of such allegations; If there is any substance to the allegations, Homestay Network will pass its report to the appropriate agencies depending on the guests age. In addition to these actions Homestay Network may, at its sole discretion and without recourse to Homestay Network and the guest, remove the guest from the host’s premises immediately.