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Homes Victoria affordable is easing housing affordability and increasing availability of affordable rental homes for eligible Victorians that may be struggling to enter or maintain access to the private rental market.
See below for some Frequently Asked Questions relating to the Affordable Housing Rental Scheme.
How will Homes Victoria ensure a fair selection process for renters?
Victorians need to first meet the eligibility criteria for a Homes Victoria affordable home. This ensures that homes are targeted to the people who qualify for them, and applicants are treated fairly throughout the application process.
Renters that meet the eligibility criteria can apply for homes that suit their needs.
Eligible renters can apply for multiple homes but must only fill out one entry for any of the homes / apartments that meet their needs.
Entries are then placed in a ballot for the available homes.
Can I apply for more than one property?
What is affordable housing?
Under the Planning and Environment Act 1987, ‘affordable housing’ is a broad term that describes housing suitable for very low to moderate income households and housing that is priced (whether purchased or rented) so these households can meet essential living costs.
Income thresholds are updated each year to reflect median household income per Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data. Find out more information about income thresholds here (see page 1095).
What is the difference between social and affordable housing?
Homes Victoria affordable housing is different to social housing. Social housing is for people on very low to low incomes who need housing, especially those who have recently experienced homelessness, family violence or have other special needs.
People in social housing pay a percentage of their income on rent. People in Homes Victoria affordable rental homes pay the advertised rent price which is priced at approximately 10 per cent lower than private rental, with annual rent increases.
How much will rent cost?
Rent will be set at least 10 per cent below the market rental cost in metropolitan Melbourne and at market rent in regional Victoria. This will ensure that homes are affordable wherever they are located.
The homes do not currently qualify for Commonwealth Rent Assistance under current Commonwealth Government policy.
Why is the rental fixed for three years?
Fixed-term leases of up to three years provide more security and stability for renters compared to most existing private rental contracts.
Rent will be increased annually, but no more than 5 per cent. See below.
With affordable rent costs fixed for three years, renters have time to save for a house deposit or move back to a private rental.
Once the first three years are complete, eligible renters may have the option to roll their lease agreement over to another three-year term.
Three-year leases provide the Victorian Government with a strong platform to attract not for profit or private sector co-investment to meet Victoria’s longer term affordable housing needs.
If renters choose, they can end their lease at any time, giving 28 days notice to their tenancy manager of their intention to move out.
Who will be responsible for the housing maintenance?
The tenancy manager will be responsible for all housing maintenance.
Where and when will the next properties be available?
The next available affordable homes will be located in Heidelberg and Hawthorn.
If I rent a Homes Victoria affordable home, how will rent change over time?
Renters are offered a three-year rental agreement. In the first year, the rent will be the amount advertised when the property was listed.
Rent will be increased annually, but no more than 5 per cent.
Following the end of the three-year agreement, eligible renters who wish to stay in the property may enter into a new 3-year rental agreement.
At that point, the rent will reset to the market rent in regional Victoria, or 10 per cent discount to market in metro Melbourne, with the protection of the rent cap of no more than 30 per cent of a median income.
What happens if my income changes while I’m renting a Homes Victoria affordable home?
If your income changes while you’re renting a Homes Victoria affordable, it is your responsibility to report this to your tenancy manager.
If it comes to the attention of the tenancy manager that your new income exceeds the eligibility threshold, then they may ask you to re-provide evidence of your income and pay market rent e.g., no subsidy, until the end of your tenure.
Is there a limit to the number of people who can occupy one, two and three-bedroom homes?
E.g., could three people apply to share a two-bedroom home?
As long as your household meets the income threshold, and your application is deemed eligible e.g., it does not put your household into financial stress, then it is fine to add more people to your application.
What information will I need to provide in my application?
The application will be an online form. The form will ask for basic contact details, household details (including combined household income), address and employment history.
Applicants will need to enter all details of people who will live in the home, even if they only live at the home part time.
A completed application will include:
- Names, address(es) and contact details for each adult applicant
- Details of children and pets who will live at the home (if applicable)
- Address and employment history
- Statement that applicants are residents of Victoria (proof sighted by tenancy manager at Verify stage)
- Statement of Australian residency or citizenship (proof sighted by tenancy manager at Verify stage)
- Proof of income for all adults in the home through payslips
- Asset test: applicants must declare they do not own commercial real estate or another home.
Is my data secure?
Renters remain in control of their data and can withdraw their application or delete their profile at any time.
Data provided will be securely stored for 60 days during the application process. After this time your data is deleted permanently.
What happens at the end of a rental term?
Eligible renters can renew lease agreements, where possible, following an eligibility assessment at the end of the first 3 years.
If a renter becomes ineligible to extend the lease for another term, Homes Victoria will support renters with a longer notice period.
Homes Victoria will comply with the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and relevant recent reforms in the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 to support renters’ rights.
Why are you using a ballot system?
Current renters and research organisations have told us about the bias in the way homes can be allocated in the private rental market. This bias means that not all renters are treated fairly and equitably.
This negatively impacts local communities when people can’t access a safe place to live and reduces their choices when they are looking for a new home.
Eligible applicants will be able to apply for a new affordable home through a ballot system. This means that each eligible applicant who applies has an equal chance of being selected through the ballot. Allocating by ballot will remove discrimination and bias and ensure a fair result amongst eligible renters.
Eligible applications will enter the ballot once per dwelling. This allows all successful, eligible applicants an equal chance of securing their chosen home.
Do applications need to be submitted online?
Yes, applications are only received online.