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What is community housing?

Community housing is one of the 3 ways social housing is provided in NSW. The other ways are through public housing and Aboriginal housing. The 3 streams of social housing are provided through a single system - Housing Pathways - which has 1 application form and 1 housing register for applicants.

As with public and Aboriginal housing, community housing offers secure, affordable rental housing for people on very low to moderate incomes, with a housing need.

Registered community housing providers are generally not-for-profit organisations managed by a Board of Directors. They manage the properties that they own and they also manage other properties that are owned by the government, or that are rented from private landlords with government funding. They also manage properties for various entities on a fee for service basis.

Benefits of community housing providers

Community housing providers are a cost-effective way to deliver social housing as they can:

  • access additional revenue from Commonwealth Rent Assistance at no extra cost to tenants
  • save GST on costs for the purchase and management of new housing as not-for-profit organisations.

A number of providers also deliver another type of housing, called affordable housing. This is housing that is appropriate for the needs of a range of very low to moderate income households and priced so that these households are able to meet basic living costs.

Types of community housing providers

There are a number of different types of community housing providers, the main ones are:

  • general social housing providers who offer secure, long term housing services and also link clients to specialist support from other community organisations in response to the needs of their tenants and the local community
  • specialist homelessness services who provide short term crisis accommodation and/or short to medium term transitional housing to support people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and who are in crisis.

Community housing eligibility

People who are eligible for public housing are also eligible for community housing. There are different criteria for eligibility for affordable housing, crisis accommodation and transitional housing. For more information see the Community Housing Eligibility Policy.

Community housing tenants’ rights

As a landlord, community housing providers will have a lease with the tenant under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. The lease will outline the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant according to the law.

Community housing rent

NSW Community Housing Rent Policy sets out the requirements for rent policies operated by community housing providers in NSW.

Community housing rents are assessed as 25% of assessable income.Community housing providers can also assist people on moderate incomes with affordable housing options. The rent for those properties may be higher than 25% depending on the tenant’s individual financial circumstances.

Repairs and maintenance

Community housing organisations are responsible for the repairs and maintenance of the property including organising emergency repairs.

Do community housing organisations provide good service?

Tenant surveys show that tenants that live in community housing properties are very satisfied with the services they receive and the homes they live in. DCJ also monitors the performance of community housing providers to ensure they continue to provide quality services to tenants.

Rehousing community housing tenants

Community housing tenants can apply to their community housing provider to be rehoused.

What if something goes wrong with a community housing provider?

Community housing providers are subject to an independent regulatory system ensuring a high standard of service is provided. If a community housing provider fails to comply with the regulatory code they can lose their registration status and DCJ can appoint a new provider to manage the properties so that the rights of tenants are unaffected.

Making a complaint about a community housing provider

Community housing tenants must first seek to resolve any issues directly with their community housing provider. Tenants can do this in person, in writing or by telephone to their community housing provider. Community housing providers must make information about internal complaints and appeals processes accessible to community housing clients.

For further information refer to the Housing Appeals Committee.

How can tenants get involved?

Community housing providers aim to deliver services that reflect the needs of tenants and communities and are keen to involve tenants in the development of these services.

Different community housing providers have different approaches to tenant participation. Some community housing providers invite tenants to sit on their management boards, others run local management committees. If tenants want more information about how to get involved, they should contact their community housing provider to find out what is happening in their area.


Under Community Housing Providers (Adoption of National Law) Act 2012 a community housing provider must be registered with the Registrar of Community Housing. The Registrar is responsible for registering and regulating community housing providers. The Registrar reports directly to the Minister for Family and Community Services.

The National Regulatory Code sets out the performance requirements that providers must comply with under the National Law. It focuses on the achievement of outcomes in the following areas:

  • tenant and housing services
  • housing assets
  • community engagement
  • governance
  • probity
  • management
  • financial viability.
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Last updated: 29 Oct 2019