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FAQ – Rental Subsidy for staff

See also: FAQ Rental Subsidy for Certifying OfficersRental Subsidy Online estimatorPOPP for Rental Subsidy

Q: How can I apply for rental subsidy?
A: You apply for rental subsidy in Atlas eServices. Go to eServices/My Entitlements/Rental Subsidy online form

Q. How do I now how much I will receive in rental subsidy? 

A. You can use the Rental Subsidy Online estimator to estimate your rental subsidy. Note that the subsidy may vary month by month because the elements going into the calculation of rental subsidy may vary from month to month; e.g. such as post adjustment and the exchange rate. 

Q. Is there a max rent level for the location where I am going? 

A. All locations in North America and Western Europe have max rent levels established and many country office locations also have max rent levels established. There are some locations that have not established a max rent level. If you go to the Rental Subsidy Online estimator then when you fill in the estimator, the max rent levels will automatically appear. In addidtion it will inform you if no max rent levels have been established for the location. 

Q. Who is the Certifying Officer for my location? 

A. The Certifying Officer is normally the Operations Manager or someone from Senior Management in the office; e.g. RR, DRR, CD, DCD. It can not be someone below Manager level, and it cannot be someone in Programme.  If in doubt, please ask your local HR office who is the certifying officer in your location.

Q. I don't have access to eServices, is it possible to submit a rental subsidy in another way? 

A. Yes, you can use the paper form for rental subsidy, see below. 

For North America and Western Europe then fill in the application, sign it, and then send a scanned copy of the signed application to BES or JPO Service Centre with a scanned copy of the lease. 

For country office locations then fill in the application, sign it and send a scanned copy of the application + copy of the lease to the Certifying Officer for the location. Once the Certifying Officer has signed the application, then forward  via emailthe co-signed application + copy of the lease to BES or JPO Service Centre. 

Q. I submitted my application to the wrong Certifying Officer, what should I do? 

A. Ask the person you added as Certifying Officer to deny the application. Then you will automatically receive an email with a link to the application. Click the link, change the name of the Certifying Officer and click Submit to re-submit it to the correct Certifying Officer.  If for some reason you have technical issues, then contact your HR Focal Point in BES. Then we can change the Certifying Officer's name on your behalf. 

Q. When I submit my rental subsidy application in eServices, then I get an error message that there already exists a rental subsidy for that date. What should I do? 

A. Make sure that the first field in the application called the 'Starting Date of this Subsidy' is correct. Make sure it is not the same date as the last application you submitted. 

You can also go to eServices/My Entitlements/Rental Subsidy Request History, to check if you perhaps have a saved (but not yet submitted) application on the same date (you may have to change the 'From and To dates, and click 'Refresh' to see all your applications). If so, then re-use the saved application. 

Q. I receive housing free of charge provided by the government. Should I report this in some way? 

A. Yes, you should fill in a rental subsidy application and indicate 'Provided by UN/GVT/NOG' (provided by UN/Government/NGO). In such cases there will be a rental deduction from your salary. Please contact your HR Focal Point for a calculation of the rental deduction in such cases. Rental deductions may be reduced if the housing is considered substandard. 


Q. The total amount in the lease is $4000, but that includes a $200 garage fee. Will this amount be included in the monthly rent for calculation of the rental subsidy? 

A. No, the rental subsidy is calculated only based on the actual rent amount. In this case $3,800 will be used for the calculation of rental subsidy. 

The rent amount shoudl not include other additional recurring expenses. Items that are linked to utilities, consumption, maintenance, finishing, services, fixtures will not be included. Tax on rent may be included if BES (HR Specialist) concludes that the tax is part of the normal rent of space.

Q. What is the difference in the 'threshold' amount used in the Rental Subsidy calculation sheet? 

A. The 'threshold' used for calculation of rental subsidy, can be either 'With' or 'Without'. The 'With' is staff with spouse and single parent allowance; and the 'Without' is all other staff including if in receipt of transition allowance.  The threshold is establised for each country location by ICSC

Q. If I live in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) am I entitled to rental subsidy? 

A. If a staff member has lived in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) for more than seven years before being recruited as a UNDP staff member, s/he is not eligible for rental subsidy. The period of eligibility for Headquarters-based staff is limited to seven years from the date in which the person took up residency in the states of New York, New Jersey or Connecticut, regardless of the date of appointment (and regardless of the date of promotion from a status which does not grant rental subsidy - G-level contracts for example - to a professional status granting rental subsidy).
If for some reason the staff member was living outside of the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) or in another country immediately before being recruited, the count starts from the beginning of the contract in terms of rental subsidy reimbursement ratio.

Q. What is a subsidy for an agent's fee? 
A. A subsidy may be paid as a one time payment fee paid to a licensed/registered real estate agent/broker for services in obtaining accomodation at the duty station. A subsidy for an agent's fee is paid only once during the period of the assignment to the duty station. Only licensed rental agents/brokers' fees qualify.

Q. Why did I experience a significant drop in my rental subsidy this month? 

A. Among other factors, the decrease in rental subsidy can be triggered by the following:
A change in the number of people composing the household:

  • When applying for rental subsidy in North America and Europe, reasonable maximum rent levels apply according to the number of household members. As an example, if one of your children leave the house to study abroad, your household will be reduced by one and the change will be reflected on your rental subsidy.

A change in the Post Adjustment Multiplier:

  • If the Post Adjustment Multiplier is suddenly increased or decreased, it will have an automatic repercussion on your rental subsidy.

Q. Why didn't I get rental subsidy this month? 
A. Rental subsidy applications need to be re-submitted every 12 months for one year lease agreements. The same application formats are used, but you need to check the "annual re-submission" box instead of the "first submission" box. If we do not receive an annual re-submission, rental subsidy will stop automatically. If you are still entitled to rental subsidy, send us the annual resubmission as soon as you can and we will process it retro-actively.
For multiple year leases with no change in rent, the application will be set up for the duration of the lease (up to seven years for HQ duty stations and up to four years for field offices) and annual resubmissions are unnecessary.  
Another reason that your rental subsidy stops could be that your individual threshold was raised, either through an increase in your net salary, the post adjustment or the individual threshold percentage. Note that your rental subsidy is subject to a $10 minimum monthly payment.

Q. What is the W40 Rule for certain Country Offices? 
When calculating a rental subsidy in a Country Office, the normal rule is to compare line 10 (80% of rent minus threshold amount) and line 11 (40% of rent for purposes of subsidy calculation) in the Rental Subsidy Online estimator, and take the lowest amount as entitled subsidy.
However, for countries marked with W40 in the Post Adjustment table, line 10 is automatically selected (no comparison is made).

Q. What is the maximum reasonable rent level in my duty station and who determines it?

A. The reasonable maximum rent level for duty stations in Western Europe and North America are established by the Secretary General and determined on your household; e.g. if you are single in New York the amount is $3700, if you have a spouse or child the amount is $5400. 

The reasonable maximum rent levels for duty stations outside Western Europe and North America are determined by the authorized official at the duty station subject to local market conditions and in accordance with the criteria set out in the annex to ST/AI/2018/3 on Rental subsidies and deductions This is the reason why rental subsidy applications outside Europe and North America needs to be certified by a Certifying Officer in the duty station. The Certifying Officer will certify that the rent level is 'reasonable'. If it is 'above average' then it is the maximum rent level established in that duty station that will be used for the calculation of rental subsidy. Many countries have established max rent levels and you can use the Rental Subsidy Online estimator to check if there are max rent levels establised in the location. Please also consult your local HR office or Certifying Officer for information on maximum local rent levels in your duty station.