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 is closely monitoring the transfers so as to make recommendations on ‘best practice’ and to identify policy gaps. As part of a 12-month project funded by the NSW Law and Justice Foundation, we will be documenting the experiences and views of tenants and advocates concerning the transfer process and related tenancy management practices.
‘Growth’ of community housing may be an illusion. The cost-shifting isn’t.
Writing in The Conversation, 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.
Tell us your story
- 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