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FAQ – Rental Subsidy for Certifying Officers

See also: FAQ Rental Subsidy for Staff, Rental Subsidy Online estimator, POPP for Rental Subsidy

Q: Who can act as a Certifying Officer for Rental Subsidy?
A: A Certifying Officer can be the Operations Manager in the office, or Senior Management such as RR, Deputy RR, Country Director or Deputy Country Director. A Certifying Officer cannot be below Operations Manager level, unless OIC for the Operations Manager. It cannot be IP staff in Programme. 

Q: I am new to being a Certifying Officer, what is the current reasonable max rent in my location?

A: At the following link you can look up the ceilings for your location. These ceilings are provided by the country offices to GSSU. Please contact GSSU if you have any questions to the amounts. 



When you use the Rental Subsidy Online estimator the max rent levels will also appear for the countries where we have received the max rent levels. If there are no max rent levels for the location, the estimator will indicate that. 

Q. How do I certify a rental subsidy as Certifying Officer? 

A. When you receive a rental subsidy for certification, then you receive it through Atlas eServices. When a staff member submits a rental subsidy outside North America/Western Europe, then it automatically goes to the Certifying Officer in an email requesting certification. 

The certification is grouped into 3 categories and one should be clicked: 

  • You select category A if the actual monthly rent is considered 'reasonable'
  • You select category B if the actual monthly rent is not considered 'reasonable', normally because the actual rent is higher than the max rent for the location
  • You only select category C if the staff member has been provided housing free of change. When staff are provided housing free of charge, then staff are deducted an amount from their salary (rental deduction). However, if the housing is considered below standard, and it is certified as such, then the deduction will be reduced. Normally to half the normal deduction.
See also the Annex page 6 of the POPP for Rental Subsidy for additional information on the 3 categories. 

Q. Can I certify a rental subsidy as 'reasonable' (category A) even if the actual rent is above the max rent established for the location? 

A. Yes, it is possible to certify a rental subsidy as 'reasonable' even if the rent is above the max rent. When you certify the rental subsidy, you will notice the text for category A: "It must be noted, however, that if a staff member has no alternative but to occupy a dwelling that is larger or better in quality in relation to those occupied by other staff members with similar family circumstances or if the rent is very high in comparison to other dwellings of similar size because of unavailability of other suitable accommodations, then the dwelling must still be certified as “reasonable”.

However, the above is an option, but not very common. Should you decide to certify as 'reasonable' even if rent is above max rent, then please enter in the comment field the reason behind. 

Q I received a rental subsidy for certification, but I am not the Certifying Officer for the location. What should I do? 

A. If you receive an email requesting certification, but it should not be you certifying, then just click the link in the email to the application, and click 'Deny'. Enter in the comment field that you should not be certifying, perhaps you even know who it should be. When you click 'Deny' then an email is automatically going back to the staff member who can click the link, change the name of the Certifying Officer and re-submit it. 

Q. The lease is not attached to the rental subsidy application, should I  approve it? 

A. No, you should enter in the comment field to "please attach the lease", and then click 'Deny'. An email is then automatically going back to the staff member who can upload the lease and re-submit it. 

Q. How should the max rent be organized for a location? 

A. Max rent for a location should normally be organized by family size as per below. 


Q. There is no max rent levels established for our location, how do we go about establishing reasonable max rent levels? 

A. The establishment of reasonable max rent levels is normally done and communicated by the UN Country Team for the location and applied by all UN agencies in the location. Below you will find a guide from ICSC on how a UN Country Team can go about establishing reasonable max rent levels.