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Acquiring New Public Housing Policy

Last published 24 Jan 2011

1. Background

The demand for public housing will continue to outstrip supply for the foreseeable future. The proportion of smaller households and tenants with special housing needs will continue to grow.

Existing dwellings tend to reflect past and current needs rather than future client needs. Their size, location, design, amenity and facilities do not always match the anticipated needs of clients at present or in the future. FACS Housing needs to address this mismatch

FACS Housing continually seeks to match the dwellings it provides with the needs of its clients. It uses a variety of strategies to achieve this including:

  • redeveloping existing housing sites
  • converting existing dwellings to better suit clients' needs
  • building on vacant FACS Housing land
  • acquiring new dwellings, and
  • leasing from the private market (see Headleasing Policy).

FACS Housing will collaborate with partners in both the private and not-for-profit sectors to develop a property portfolio that:

  • effectively meets clients' needs, and
  • uses resources efficiently.

When we acquire new property we will ensure it is a sound financial investment as well as an effective solution to clients' housing needs.

As part of FACS Housing's Disability Strategic Plan, at least 10% of all new public housing must be "adaptable". That is, the dwelling must be easily converted at minimal cost to be suitable for people who use wheelchairs.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all tenants living in dwellings managed by FACS Housing.

3. Policy Statement

FACS Housing will continually look at the different methods to increase its supply of housing.

Business rules

We only buy properties or redevelop existing properties when there is a significant demand from clients for a type of dwelling in a location that we currently cannot supply. The dwellings we have are determined by the needs of our clients, and the availability of funds.

In many cases, the preferable and most cost-effective strategy is to convert existing public housing. Examples include studio apartment conversions and split houses. However, there are situations where purchasing a property is appropriate. When we are evaluating a property for purchase or redevelopment we will consider:

  • its ability to meet the most pressing needs of applicants for public housing
  • the suitability and amenity of the dwelling
  • the financial costs and feasibility of managing the property over time, and
  • the benefits and risks of property ownership for FACS Housing.

Tenants

FACS Housing tenants are entitled to housing that is:

  • affordable
  • well located
  • able to meet clients' needs (including special needs), and
  • of a reasonable standard and condition.

Buying new properties

We generally buy in areas away from those that have a high concentration of existing FACS Housing accommodation.

Dwellings are usually only bought if:

  • the standard and condition is appropriate to public housing tenants
  • shops, transport and other community facilities are close by
  • the market rental value will be greater than expenses incurred on the property, and
  • the market rent is below the median market rent in the locality.

We also consider how easily the dwelling can be sold or traded at some time in the future.

Redeveloping properties

Building new public housing on the site of old public housing is called redevelopment. It is often less costly than buying homes and allows us to better use our limited resources.

Dwellings chosen for redevelopment are usually:

  • close to shops, transport and other community facilities
  • on larger blocks of land, and
  • older and becoming too costly to maintain.

We build dwellings that fit in with the streetscape and conform to Local Council regulations. We build a variety of dwellings, including pensioner accommodation, detached houses, villas, town houses and walk-up apartments. The type of dwelling we build depends on the demand for housing in the area and local council planning controls.

Tenants living in a home that is going to be redeveloped will be asked to move. See the policy on Changing a Tenancy.

4. Legislation and compliance

FACS Housing acquires and manages properties in accordance with the Housing Act 2001 and the Residential Tenancy Act 2010.

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