Public and community housing – Relocations, Transfers, and Renewal

Below are resources relating to public and community housing renewal, and transfers of housing stock from public to community providers. See also the Public and Community Housing Key Topic page for other resources. 

Transfer of tenancy management from public to community housing providers


Public Housing Transfers poster

In 2016 the NSW Government announced the transfer of tenancy management for 18,000 public housing properties from the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS Housing) to Community Housing Providers.

In October 2018, FACS Housing commenced their program of ‘whole of location’ transfers to Community Housing Providers with a group of just under one thousand tenancies in the Shoalhaven District transferred to Southern Cross Housing. These are the first of about 14,000 tenancies marked for whole-of-location management transfer over 2019.

Other affected regions are Mid North Coast, New England, Hunter and Northern Sydney. FACS Housing offices will progressively be closed in these areas. While about ten percent of the tenants affected are Indigenous households, Aboriginal Housing Office tenancies are not being transferred and so will be managed remotely from Sydney.

Transferred tenants are required to apply to Centrelink for Commonwealth Rent Assistance which will then be paid in full to the new landlord as rent. While FACS and Community Housing Providers have committed to maintaining tenants’ after-rent incomes and continuing existing tenancy terms and conditions, complications may arise as limited term rental agreements come up for renewal and/or if tenants’ circumstances change.

Our Information Sheet from July 2018 tells tenants in properties under the transfer how they will be affected under the changes. It covers rent and other charges, repairs and maintenance, pets and complaints and dispute resolution.

The Tenants’ Union continues to monitor the transfers so as to make recommendations on ‘best practice’ and to identify policy gaps. Sharing your positive or negative housing transfer story with the Tenants’ Union will help us to improve FACS and Community Housing policies. Anything you tell us will be kept entirely confidential unless you give permission for us to share it. Contact us.

Report cover

‘Growth’ of community housing may be an illusion. The cost-shifting isn’t.

Writing in The Conversation in 2019, Tenants' Union Community Housing Project Officer Michael Darcy raises questions about the narrative of community housing 'growth', as well as concerns about accountability, and tenant choice and voice. Read Michael's article here.

Social Housing Management Transfers Program: Best Practice Report

The Tenants' Union published a report in 2020, 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 the 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.



A Compact for Renewal: What tenants want from Renewal

Respect for tenants, acknowledgment that renewal has damaging and disruptive impacts, that impacts will be mitigated and minimised, a commitment to real engagement, and that tenants receive a fair share of the benefits of renewal. These are the Principles for a proposed Compact for Renewal between agencies undertaking urban renewal and social housing tenants affected by renewal. 

The Compact is the result consultations with social housing tenants under a project carried out by Shelter NSW, Tenants’ Union of NSW and the City Futures Research Centre at UNSW.

You can also check read more on the City Futures blog.




Tools and Resources for Participating in Redevelopment Planning

The Waterloo Community Capacity Building project led by Inner Sydney Voice aims at providing social housing tenants, local residents, community and government workers with resources, knowledge and concepts to engage successfully and productively in the Waterloo redevelopment consultation process led by Land & Housing Corporation (LAHC).

The project put together some tools and resources on urban planning, urban design and urban public policy to support tenants and others who want to participate efficiently in the elaboration of a long term urban planning and urban design vision for their area.




Airds Bradbury Masterplan Group Checklist Before Moving

This checklist for social housing tenants who are relocating to another property was developed by tenants from the Airds Bradbury Masterplan Group based on their experience over a number of years.




Video: Tenant-focussed renewal

Jen Rignold is a public housing tenant in Airds Bradbury, and a member of the advisory committee on Principles for Tenant Focussed Renewal. This project is about developing tenant-focussed principles for renewal in social housing. The aim is to create an agreement between all those involved in renewal.

In this video, Jen describes why an agreement is important and shares her learning on processes that are tenant-focussed. Jen speaks about the need to build respectful relationships, to listen and be heard, and to form vibrant communities. This video was recorded at the 2017 conference of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.

“If you’re working with people, talk to them! Throw out your conventional meetings, and just sit down with a cuppa and bikkies.”