Sale of Homes Policy
Last published 25 Mar 2015
To assist public housing tenants’ transition into home ownership, FACS encourages the sale of existing housing to public housing tenants (clients). Alternately, properties or other assets may be sold on the private market. The money raised is used to fund the building of new homes and improvements to existing ones.
FACS particularly encourages the sale of properties to public housing tenants if they are in an area of high concentration of social housing, for example if they are in a public housing estate or are part of a Community Renewal Strategy.
FACS may also sell by auction, private treaty or tender for the following reasons:
- are uneconomical to maintain or repair
- have a high market value without a high strategic value
- no longer suit the demand in the area
- are leased to a commercial enterprise
- are leased to community organisations.
In areas of major development, FACS may designate a specific sales or marketing strategy to secure value for money, such as public auction or sale by tender.
This policy applies to all tenants living in properties managed by FACS.
3. Policy statement
FACS provides tenants with the opportunity to purchase the home, excluding certain property types, in which they live at a fair and equitable price, providing that they have the funds to make the purchase.
FACS also sell properties identified through the Local Asset Management Plan to assist FACS in the strategic management of their asset portfolio.
Properties which are not owned by FACS are excluded from sale.
The following properties also cannot be sold:
- Individual cottage, villa, townhouse, walk-up apartment or pensioner units without separate title.
- Individual ‘super lot’ properties i.e., large parcels of land with a number of dwellings without separate title to each dwelling.
- Those on a strata subdivision, unless the whole block is sold.
- In areas of major development, FACS may designate a specific sales or marketing strategy other than private treaty, to secure value for money. This includes public auction or tender. When this occurs, the local FACS office will document the specific sales approach. Information will be made available to the tenant and other prospective buyers or their agents upon request.
FACS ‘Conflict of Interest’ rules apply to sales, for example: there will be no family connection or business association between the purchaser and the member of staff who approved the sale. Please refer to the FACS Code of Ethical Conduct.
Public housing tenants can apply to buy their homes. While FACS is under no obligation to sell the property to the tenant, it will generally sell tenanted properties that:
- are affordable to tenants
- are separately titled
- are being subdivided as part of a Community Renewal Strategy
- providing the property is not required for future redevelopment or does not form part of wider area sales plan
Sales to tenants
- Public housing tenants may apply to FACS to purchase the home they are living in. FACS will generally approve the sale if it is not excluded through the above circumstances.
- FACS will usually sell by private treaty. Properties are offered to public housing tenants at market value LESS the value added by approved improvements made by the tenant. No deduction is made for rent they have already paid. Tenants continue to pay rent until settlement.
- When FACS receives an application from a public housing tenant to purchase their property, FACS will do no further maintenance to the property apart from essential and urgent repairs.
Public housing tenants wanting to buy a property must:
- make an enquiry with FACS either by telephone or in person.
- organise their own finance and conveyancing on the sale.
- obtain a letter from a lending authority showing they can get funds to make a purchase.
- complete an application to purchase a FACS home form and lodge at the local office with their lending authority letter.
- pay $220 (GST inclusive) to us to help pay for valuing of the home.
- obtain an independent valuation of the property. The property will be offered at this valuation less the value added by approved alterations made by the tenant.
- undertake a title search to ensure the correct property is being sold.
If FACS identifies the property as ‘not for sale’, FACS will refund the $220 (GST inclusive) valuation fee.
If FACS is able to sell the property, the tenant will be notified of the sale price. If the tenant does not proceed with the sale within 30 days, the valuation fee is forfeited.
Sales to community housing providers
Where a decision has been made to sell a property to a community housing provider, FACS must prepare a briefing note. FACS must approve the sale.
Sales to community organisations
Where properties are leased to community organisations for use as neighbourhood facilities or supported accommodation, they may be offered for sale to the relevant community group. Sale prices may be the subject of negotiations with the organisation and will be dependent on both market value and past improvements funded by the group.
Vacant homes may be sold to members of the public if the homes are no longer suitable for public housing. FACS may also sell community and commercial properties from time to time.
Sales to the public are by public auction through a Real Estate Agent. Agents are chosen by competitive tender.
Private treaty (one to one) sales are only considered in exceptional circumstances and need the approval of the Deputy Secretary.
If the auction fails to reach the reserve price, the agent will try to find a purchaser and continue the sale by private treaty. The Deputy Secretary’s approval is not required in this case.
Property owned by the Aboriginal Housing Office
FACS manages properties on behalf of the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO). FACS must obtain prior approval from the AHO to sell a block of land, or properties owned by the AHO, or demolish a property owned by the AHO.
Stamp Duty exemption
A tenant of FACS is exempt from paying Stamp Duty if they are purchasing at least 25% ownership of the property.
If at some stage they are unable to buy their FACS property and they consider buying in the private sector, they are still exempt from stamp duty as long as they obtain not less than 25% of the ownership of that property and the property will be the tenant’s principal place of residence.
4. Legislation and compliance
FACS acquires properties in accordance with the Housing Act 2001.
5. Related documentation
6. Further information
Appealing decisions or actions
If a client disagrees with a decision FACS had made, they should first discuss their concerns with a Client Service Officer. The next step, if they still believe FACS made the wrong decision is to ask for a formal review of the decision. For information on how reviews work, the client can ask the Client Service Officer for a copy of the factsheet appeals and reviewing decisions, or read the Clients Service Delivery and Appeals policy.
A decision not to sell a home cannot be referred to the Housing Appeals Committee.
Contact FACS on 1800 422 322 for information and advice relating to home purchase including details of any available government financial assistance.