The purpose of the Tenancy management manual is to outline the processes by which the we manage public housing tenancy related matters.
The procedures in the Tenancy management manual should be read in association with the policy. Where appropriate, referral should be made to other housing manuals and documents to ensure the intent of the policy is achieved when administering procedures.
Mutual Swaps – update
Please note that the Mutual Swap program is suspended. Existing renters who express interest in relocating should be encouraged to lodge a ‘Register of Interest’ application form for the Victorian Housing Register and provided support to explore their eligibility for Priority Housing transfer.
Rental arrears operational guidelines
If tenant(s) are accruing rental arrears, staff will contact the tenant(s) to discuss the debt and ways of managing the debt as early as possible before it escalates further.
These operational guidelines outline the processes and considerations for staff when managing rental arrears.
Rental payments and direct debit
Eligible clients may choose to have their charges for current or vacated accounts electronically deducted via Bank or Centrelink direct debit.
Appointed representatives of tenants and applicants operational guidelines
An appointed representative has a legally appointed power to make decisions in relation to specific areas of a person’s life such as:
- Health matters.
Alternatively, they may be appointed to make decisions on behalf of the person in all aspects of their life. These decisions can also be made on behalf of a tenant, a household member or applicant for social housing.
This information outlines the processes by which the department manages properties leased from private landlords for Rental General Stock (RGS). The RGS Leasing Program supplements existing Director of Housing owned properties to provide housing options in areas where the register’s demand is high.
This information outlines the duties and responsibilities of the department in managing Director of Housing owned properties subject to owners corporation legislation.
Car parking in public housing operational guidelines
The Director of Housing can allocate any portion of the Director of Housing’s land as a car parking area to an eligible client.
Managing car parking access and infringements is also the Director of Housing's responsibility.
Tenants working from home operational guidelines
A public housing property may be used as a place of business by a tenant, resident or household member if permission is given by the department.
Temporary absence operational guidelines
The department recognises that public housing tenants or residents may be absent from their property for periods of time. The Director of Housing accepts periods of temporary absence of up to 6 months if special circumstances are approved.
Abandoned properties and goods operational guidelines
After a tenant vacates a public housing property, it is the responsibility of the department to dispose of the goods left behind by the tenant. This is in the situation where the return of the goods to the tenant wasn't achievable.
Undeclared occupants, subletting and squatters operational guidelines
The Director of Housing does not permit a tenant to sub-let or assign their public housing property.
Specific policies and procedures apply where 'unknown' persons are living in a public housing property. They generally fall under the category of undeclared occupants or squatters.
Access to Director owned and managed properties
The Director of Housing may require access to Director owned properties to carry out duties as specified in the Residential Tenancy Act 1997.
Access to communal areas on public housing estates operational guidelines
The department may allow access to facilities managed by the department, community and not-for-profit organisations that are located on public housing estates.
Terminating tenancies and deceased estates
The terminating tenancies and deceased estates information outlines the process of concluding a tenancy agreement between the tenant and the Director of Housing, where the tenant vacates or is deceased.
Transfer of tenancy
In certain circumstances, the department may approve transferring the rights and responsibilities from an existing tenant to another household member. The department seeks to balance the housing needs of existing occupants and residents together with the needs of others on the Victorian Housing Register.
A sleep out is a one room, relocatable building constructed in the backyard of a public housing property. It is designed to add an extra bedroom in order to overcome household overcrowding, when an additional room cannot be built.
Movable units operational guidelines
The management and approval of movable units is a 2 tier process. Movable units are self-contained properties constructed on Director of Housing or privately owned properties.
Vacated tenants accounts
A tenancy is considered terminated when a residential agreement between a tenant and the Director of Housing has concluded and the director has regained vacant possession of the property.
Bankruptcy operational guidelines
Public housing tenants, applicants for social housing or a client who has received housing assistance (such as a bond loan) may declare bankruptcy, in accordance with the Bankruptcy Act (1966).
Once a tenant or client is declared bankrupt, the Director of Housing cannot take debt recovery action for outstanding charges incurred by the tenant or client up to, and including, the date of the bankruptcy.
Account reconciliation and identifying possible sources for account discrepancies can be requested by a tenant at any time.
Home visits and inspections operational guidelines
Home visits and inspections of public housing properties are first undertaken to help new tenants in their transition to public housing, and to discuss any tenancy or maintenance issues. You need to make sure you are safe at all times during a home visit and undertake a risk assessment where necessary.
The Home visits and inspections in public housing operational guidelines (Word) outlines the approach the department uses to manage home visits and inspections when staff visit public housing properties on behalf of the Director of Housing.
Tenancy breaches operational guidelines
Tenants have a responsibility for their own, their household members and their visitors behaviour. Any antisocial behaviour is managed in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act (1997).
Persistent breaches may result in subsequent action and decision making processes. This may then result in legal action pursued through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) if the tenancy breach is substantiated.
Neighbourly behaviour and support operational guidelines
Tenants are expected to meet the requirements and responsibilities of their tenancy agreement and the Residential Tenancies Act (1997).
In the event a tenant does not comply, or is at risk of not complying with their obligations and expectations of their tenancy agreement, the department may take legal action that may result in the termination of their tenancy.
Special accommodation requirements for public housing tenants operational guidelines
Tenants may request modifications to their existing public housing property due to a medical condition or disability.
Approval of modifications is dependent on the type, severity and evidence provided from a relevant medical practitioner. Where the medical condition requires a tenant or their household member’s transfer from the property, the Special Accommodation Requirements (SAR) operational guidelines of the Victorian Housing Register are to be applied.
References and revision history of the Tenancy management manual
Pets in public housing operational guidelines
From 2 March 2020, renting laws allow renters to keep pets at a rental property with the written permission of their rental provider.
For more information see the Pets in public housing operational guidelines (Word).