This information is a guide and should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice.

Published: April 2022

Public housing

The Victorian government provides limited public housing for people on low incomes. This page summarises and links to information on useful topics including applying for public housing, rents and repairs.

How public housing operates

The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) manages public housing in Victoria.

The rental provider (landlord) for public housing is Homes Victoria (also known as the Director of Housing), which is part of the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.

The laws on renting are in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and are the same for public housing and private housing renters, though some things may be treated differently under public housing policies and practice manuals. For example, the public housing maintenance manuals add extra classifications for repairs that are not included in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. For more information on repairs see our page Repairs for public housing.

Find out general information about public renters on the HousingVic website.

Information for public housing renters

More detailed and technical information about public housing is in the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing’s public housing policy and practice manuals, which are operational guides for department staff.

Applying for public housing

If you want to apply for public housing, or to transfer from your current public housing property to a different public housing property, apply on the HousingVic website.

Rents

Rents are set at the market rate, but many public housing residents receive a rebate, calculated every 6 months on the assessable income of the household. All public renters are eligible to apply for rebated rent.

For more information, see our page Rents for public housing.

Repairs

The law in Victoria requires all rental providers (landlords) – including Homes Victoria – to keep rented homes in good repair.

For more information, see our page Repairs for public housing.

Defending maintenance claims

Under Victorian rental laws both private and public housing renters have duties to keep, and leave, their rental property in a reasonably clean condition, and not damage the property or any common areas.

Homes Victoria may make a maintenance claim against you if it has to pay for cleaning or damage you caused. However, you do not have to pay a maintenance claim unless there is an order from the Victorian Civil and Administrative (VCAT) requiring you to pay.

Find out more on our page Defending public housing maintenance claims.

Appealing decisions by Homes Victoria

If you do not agree with a decision made by Homes Victoria you may be able to appeal the decision, to see if they will change it.

You can make an appeal about a decision if you:

  • Have applied for public housing
  • Have applied for bond assistance
  • Are currently renting a public housing property

Making an appeal is free.

If you are not happy with the outcome of an appeal you can contact the Victorian Ombudsman or, if you believe you have been discriminated against, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission.

For information on the sorts of decisions you can make an appeal about, and the appeals process, see the HousingVic website.

Victorian Ombudsman

The Victorian Ombudsman can investigate appeals about actions and decisions made by Homes Victoria.

Contact the Ombudsman for help resolving a public housing complaint about:

  • maintenance and repairs
  • eviction and/or enforcement actions

It looks at whether the organisation acted in a way that was lawful, reasonable and fair.

Complaining to the Ombudsman is free. You can contact the office on 1800 806 314.

The Ombudsman can make an independent recommendation to Homes Victoria.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission helps people resolve issues related to discrimination and harassment.

The Commission can help resolve an appeal by mutual agreement. Contact the commission for free and confidential advice on 1300 292 153.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

Resources

Related pages

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