Housing Rights and the Law Centre welcome the opportunity to respond to this consultation . We have found that issues about rates, and help with rates, are becoming more of a priority for our clients; especially in debt cases. Non-payment of rates can lead to serious consequences such as bankruptcy, threat of homelessness and imprisonment. We also encounter many cases where the liability for rates between the landlord and tenant is unclear. In general, we support the Department proposal to introduce a new rate rebate scheme in line with UC. However, we do have a number of concerns with regards to backdating, appealing decisions and provision for hardship cases.