Social housing is housing that is owned or managed by the state or a community organisation and rented to an eligible person at an affordable rent.
Until fairly recently, almost all social housing in New South Wales was public housing: that is, housing owned and managed by the State Government. Now there are numerous forms of social housing and many more providers:
- Public housing, provided by a State Government agency, NSW FACS Housing;
- Community housing, provided by various community housing providers;
- Aboriginal housing, provided by the Aboriginal Housing Office and by various Aboriginal community housing providers; and
- Co-operative housing, provided by tenant-run co-operatives.
NSW FACS Housing remains the largest social housing provider, and has a crucial role in funding and regulating the other social housing providers. The fastest growing are the community housing providers, including through transfers of public housing properties (and tenancies) and involvement in new programs to develop ‘affordable housing’ with private finance.
Social housing tenancies are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 2010(NSW) (the RT Act 2010), with some provisions that apply only to social housing (Part 7). Also, there are some important aspects of the operations of social housing providers that are not dealt with in the RT Act 2010. These include decisions about eligibility, rent rebates and transfers. These are matters that are governed by social housing providers’ policies, and by administrative law.