Skip to Content

The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) is committed to providing safe, low cost and culturally appropriate housing and tenancy services for Aboriginal people living in NSW.

What types of housing options do Aboriginal people have?

There are 3 types of social housing available for Aboriginal people:

  • Public housing – these properties are managed by the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ). Aboriginal applicants have the same right to be housed in public housing as all other applicants
  • Aboriginal Housing Office homes – these are properties owned by the Aboriginal Housing Office and managed by DCJ.
    • If you would prefer an Aboriginal Housing Office property, either you or a household member must be able to confirm your  Aboriginality.
    • You can have your name put on the NSW Housing Register.
  • Community housing properties – these properties are managed by community housing providers.

In some locations you may only be able to choose from two types of housing (i.e. Aboriginal Housing Office and community housing). To determine the types of housing offered in each location refer to the Allocation Zone Locator available at, or call the Housing Contact Centre on 1800 422 322, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Am I eligible for social housing?

To be eligible for social housing, including public, community and Aboriginal housing, you must:

  • live in NSW,
  • have an income that is within current income limits,
  • not own or part-own a property, and
  • repay or agree to repay, any outstanding money you owe to DCJ, a community housing provider  or the Aboriginal Housing Office.

For information about how to confirm your Aboriginality, refer to item 3 on the  evidence requirements information sheet

How do I apply for housing?

To apply for social housing, you should:

How long will I wait for housing?

When you apply for social housing we will let you know how long the wait is in the area of your preferred location. The time you wait depends on such things as:

  • the number of properties becoming available as others leave
  • the number of people who’ve been waiting longer than you
  • the number of people who are approved for priority housing or priority transfer, as they will be housed ahead of others.

If it will be a long wait in the area where you would prefer to live, you may want to select another location so that you may be housed quicker.

What happens if I am an unsatisfactory former tenant of DCJ or the Aboriginal Housing Office?

You will be asked to rent in the private market for at least 6 months. If you have successfully rented in the private market with no problems, you will be placed back on the NSW Housing Register if you meet the eligibility criteria. If a suitable (public housing or Aboriginal Housing Office) property becomes available, you will be offered a lease of six (6) months. An extension will not be offered if there are any breaches to your lease agreement during that period. You will be offered an extension to your lease for 2, 5 or 10 years if you have satisfied your lease agreement during that time.

How else can I get help?

You need to be eligible for social housing to receive other types of assistance. Aboriginal people can expect to receive respect, good service and correct information from staff. You can find out about other housing services offered in  ways we can help.

DCJ has a Commitment to Improving Service Delivery to Aboriginal People which outlines the programs in place to help Aboriginal people and an action plan.


Through Rentstart, Aboriginal people can apply for financial support to help them move into their own private rental property. To apply for Rentstart you will need to find an affordable place to rent.

If you qualify for a Rentstart Bond Loan, DCJ will help you out with an interest-free loan of up to 100% of the bond money so you can move into your own place.

If the landlord or real estate agent has not made a claim on the bond at the end of your tenancy, DCJ will return any money you have paid off your loan.

For more information about Rentstart Bond Loans, visit your local DCJ or participating community housing provider office or call the Housing Contact Centre.

1800 422 322

Help for homeless people

If you don’t have a place to stay, you can get help from:

  • your local  DCJ or Social Housing Management Transfer community housing provider  office, Monday to Friday, 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (closed public holidays, office hours may vary in some locations)
  • Link2home, the state wide telephone service offering access to specialised support and accommodation services for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless

Private Rental Subsidy

If you are approved for priority housing assistance, have a disability and are at risk in your current accommodation and there are no homes available at that time, you may be eligible for help with private rental through a Private Rental Subsidy.

Contact information

Contractor Contact Centre

The Contractor Contact Centre is the place to call if you need your Aboriginal Housing Office, DCJ or Social Housing Management Transfer community housing provider home fixed. The Contactor Contact Centre is open 24 hours, seven days a week, every day of the year.

Contractor Contact Centre
1800 422 322 and follow the instruction prompts when you call. You need to enter your postcode during the call so have it ready before you dial.

Client Feedback Line

DCJ encourages you to tell us about its services. You can tell us good things or if you have a problem with what we are doing. If the problem is about a staff member, a more senior staff member will look at it for you.

Client Feedback
1800 422 322

Aboriginal Enquiry Line

An Aboriginal staff member of DCJ is available on the Housing Contact Centre phone line Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm. They can help you with your housing and rental issues. If an Aboriginal staff member is not there when you call, you can leave a message. An Aboriginal staff member will call you back as soon as they can. You can talk to a non-Aboriginal staff member if you want.

Aboriginal Enquiry Line
1800 422 322

How do I manage my DCJ tenancy?

If you want to know more about what you need to do when you rent a home, talk to a Client Service Officer or call the Aboriginal Enquiry Line. NSW Fair Trading will also help you with renting problems through their freecall Aboriginal enquiry line.

Fair Trading Aboriginal enquiry officer
1800 500 300

You can also contact your local Aboriginal Tenants Advice Service.

If you are having any troubles with tenancy issues and need some more help you can sign a disclosure form. This means that we can talk to your support person or worker with your permission.

Paying the rent

You can pay your rent using any of our payment options. These include:

  • online
  • through the Rent Deduction Scheme
  • at a Service NSW Centre
  • BPAY©
  • by direct debit from your bank account.

The Rent Deduction Scheme is an easy way to pay rent if you receive Centrelink payments. This lets you have rent taken from your payment and sent straight to DCJ.

If you are having trouble paying your rent, speak to your client service officer as soon as possible. Tell them what is happening and work out a way to fix it.

Enjoying your home

You have the right to enjoy your home and live without noisy and rude neighbours. We want you to feel safe in your home. If you are having trouble, try to sort out the problem with your neighbour. If this does not work, talk to your client service officer at your local DCJ office about what is going on.


Friends and family can come and stay with you for up to 4 weeks. If they stay longer than 4 weeks and continue to stay in your property, you must fill in an application for an additional occupant. If you do not tell us when someone else is staying with you for longer than 4 weeks, the help we give with the rent could be stopped. If someone moves into your property fulltime and you do not tell us, this is fraud.

In general, tenants do not need DCJ approval to have a visitor stay with them for up to 4 weeks (28 days). However, in certain cases, DCJ can apply a visitor sanction (3-day rule) to a tenancy. This means that if DCJ have proof that you haven’t kept to your tenancy agreement, DCJ can stop you having visitors staying for more than 3 days without telling DCJ.

If you live in an Aboriginal Housing Office property, then the  Aboriginal Housing Office must also agree to this visitor sanction. This approval from the  Aboriginal Housing Office will be managed by your DCJ client service officer.

Leaving your DCJ managed home for more than six weeks

If you need to leave your home for more than 6 weeks, you must tell DCJ how long you will be away by contacting your client service officer or writing to us. You will need to tell DCJ even if there are other family members in your home while you are gone.

Leaving your home for good

If you are leaving your home and aren’t planning to come back, you must tell your client service officer three weeks before you go. If you leave without telling us, you will still have to pay the rent and may have to pay for any damages that happen.

Property damage

If you have any rubbish at your home, you will need to remove it properly. Please do not burn rubbish in the garden or yard. Please phone the Contractor Contact Centre as soon as possible if any repairs need to be done in your home.

Contractor Contact Centre
1800 422 322 and follow the instruction prompts when you call. You need to enter your postcode during the call so have it ready before you dial.

If you have anyone over to visit in your home and they damage it, you will have to pay for the repairs.

If you have anyone over to visit in your home and they damage it, you will have to pay for the repairs.

Being a good neighbour

Please make sure that all household members and visitors respect your neighbours’ right to peace and quiet.


If you have a pet, you must make sure the pet is not causing a problem to others. If we decide that your pet is causing problems for neighbours, you must remove the pet from your home within 48 hours of DCJ sending you a message in writing.

Other issues

DCJ have fact sheets on a range of tenancy and other issues, including:

  • transferring to another DCJ or  Aboriginal Housing Office property
  • mutual exchanges (swapping homes)
  • recognition as a tenant
  • fixed-term leases
  • termination of your lease
  • appeals and review of decisions
  • Rentstart Bond Loans

All these issues and others are dealt with in our factsheets.

Was this content useful?
Your rating will help us improve the website.
Last updated: 28 Jun 2021