Change Management: Social Housing Management Transfers Program Best Practice Report

Published on 25/05/2020

SHMT reportBetween October 2018 and September 2019 the management of more than 14,000 public housing tenancies across nine geographical regions of NSW was transferred from the management of the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS, now the Department of Communities and Justice or DCJ) to ten Community Housing Providers under contracts which last for twenty years. These organisations have also been contracted to provide all Access and Demand and non-housing services and to coordinate the housing related service system in the relevant regions.

The mass transfer of tenancies and services from the public authority to non-profit landlords is of critical interest to the Tenants' Union of NSW which aims to make a positive difference to the lives of residential tenants in NSW, and particularly tenants who are economically and socially disadvantaged, which includes virtually all social housing tenants. Since affected tenants had no voice or choice in the design or implementation of this program the Tenants’ Union has undertaken the vital task of observing and reviewing its implementation through the lens of tenants’ experience. The outcome of this project is Change Management: Social Housing Management Transfers Program Best Practice Report – Tenants' Experience.

This report focusses on the experiences of tenants during the transfer period and in the months following transfer with the aim of identifying practices and policies that have impacted positively or negatively on transferred tenants. The report draws on primary research conducted during the roll-out period including interviews with tenants and community housing providers, reviews of published material and Tribunal records, and importantly on the experience of local support workers and Advocates working at Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services (TAAS) across NSW.

The release of this report was delayed for several months due to COVID-19. COVID-19 has both highlighted the benefits and need for stable, genuinely affordable housing and highlighted issues related to the tenants experience management and performance of different parts of the social housing sector. We hope to return to this part of the discussion in the future, but note that these observations were all prior to COVID-19.

This publication was produced with the financial assistance of the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW. The Foundation seeks to advance the fairness and equity of the justice system and to improve access to justice, especially for socially and economically disadvantaged people



The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) also wrote to us with their response to the Report, including their response to the key recommendations of the report.




Tenants’ Union of NSW, Change Management: Social Housing Management Transfer Program NSW 2018-19
Report, published May 2020. ©Tenants’ Union of NSW. ISBN 978-0-9585694-0-8