Community housing

Last updated: 20 October 2017

Community housing is secure, affordable, long term rental housing managed by not-for-profit organisations for people on low incomes or with special needs.

About community housing providers

Community housing providers are registered and regulated by the state government.

Some specialise in helping specific groups, like people with a disability, women, singles and older people.

Community Housing Industry Association Victoria's website has a full list of organisations that are members of the Community Housing Industry Association Victoria.

Community housing provides different types of house depending on the needs and preferences of the family or individual.

Housing associations

Housing associations own properties or manage some of our properties. Like public housing, these organisations manage and maintain the property using their own staff.

Housing associations are eligible to receive government funding to build or acquire new properties.

Rooming houses

Rooming houses are mainly accommodation for single people. Residents rent a room in the house and share common facilities such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundries.

Most rooming houses are being renovated so that the rooms are self-contained with their own kitchenette and bathroom.

Cooperatives

Rental housing co-operatives are governed by voluntary tenant members with support from professional staff.

The principles of living in a cooperative include:

  • The tenant must be willing and able to participate in the running of the cooperative
  • Cooperative housing is run democratically: all members have equal voting rights
  • Members contribute fairly to the running of the housing
  • Cooperatives are independent entities controlled by their members
  • Cooperatives support their members' further education to help them meet their responsibilities and commitment to the cooperative.

Specialist housing providers

Specialist providers focus on particular groups, like the aged, homeless youth or people with disabilities.

These housing providers may have particular programs or specific equipment available for their tenants.

Where can I live?

Community housing offers many types of properties which are grouped into preferred areas

These areas are made up of neighbouring suburbs and towns that are linked by public transport.

You could be offered a property in any suburb from these areas. See the list of Victorian Housing Register areas (.doc) to help you choose.

You can change your preferred areas while your application is on the waiting list.

If you have a medical condition and a specific hospital or doctor must treat you, you can ask for housing in an area that lets you easily travel to them.

You may also need to live in a particular type of housing. For example, if you use a wheelchair, you can ask for a property without steps.

How much rent will I pay?

Your rent will be about 25 to 30 per cent of your combined gross income.

If you receive a Centrelink payment, you may be eligible for Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

How long can I stay?

Tenancies in community housing generally continue until the tenant decides to leave or the tenancy becomes unsustainable.

Community housing tenants sign a tenancy agreement. The agreement outlines the rights and responsibilities of the community housing organisation (as landlord) and tenant.

Tenants have the same rights under the Victorian Residential Tenancies Act 1997 as public housing tenants and private tenants.

You can find more information about the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 on the renting section of the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.

How do I apply?

Go to Apply for social housing for instructions on how to apply online, with the paper application and more information.
You will need to:

  • Complete the online application or fill in the paper application form
  • Provide proof of identity, residency status and income. To find out more, see proof of identity document requirements (.doc)
  • Include any other documents needed for each person applying.

How long will I have to wait?

Your wait time will depend on your circumstances.

Things that affect the length of time you may wait include:

  • The preferred location that you have chosen
  • The number of applications already on the register
  • People who have demonstrated a housing need under one of the Priority Access categories
  • The number of homes in demand in a given area and how often properties become vacant 
  • If you have special location requirements or need a particular type of property (for example, one with modifications), it may take longer.

What happens if I'm not happy with the service or a decision by a community housing organisation?

All community housing organisations have their own complaints process.

If you want to make a complaint, you must first try to resolve the complaint with the community housing organisation.

The community housing organisation has 30 days to resolve a complaint in the first instance.

If the matter isn't resolved, you have the right to ask the Housing Registrar to investigate the matter.

Contact your community housing provider for more information and to lodge your complaint.

Help with tenancy issues

There are organisations that can help if you want to know more about renting or you have a tenancy issue that you need resolved.

See Get rental advice for more information.

Who can I contact for more information?

You can contact your local office or contact a community housing organisation directly.

To find organisations in the area you want to live in, visit the Community Housing Industry Association website.

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