South Australian Housing Trust
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Eligibility for public housing policy
- Registering interest in public, Aboriginal and community housing
- Eligibility for public or Aboriginal housing
- Eligibility for Aboriginal housing
- Assessing need
- Registration of interest Categories
Public and Aboriginal housing is for people on low income, particularly those who have difficulty accessing and maintaining housing in the private market. Demand for public housing exceeds the number of properties available.
This policy applies to people registering their interest in public or Aboriginal housing. It sets out:
- who can register their interest in public, Aboriginal and community housing
- who’s eligible for public or Aboriginal housing
- how need’s assessed
- the different Categories of the register.
Registering interest in public, Aboriginal and community housing
Public and Aboriginal housing
People can register their interest in public or Aboriginal housing if they’re eligible. People who are eligible for Aboriginal housing can register their interest in either public or Aboriginal housing, but not both.
They may need to meet additional eligibility conditions to register their interest in specific Housing SA programs.
People may register their interest in community housing through Housing SA if both of the below apply:
- they’re eligible for, and are also registering their interest in public or Aboriginal housing
- they’re eligible for community housing in line with the Community housing eligibility policy.
Eligibility for public or Aboriginal housing
People can register their interest in public housing if they meet all of the below conditions:
- they can verify that they live in South Australia
- they have an independent income
- no one in their household owns or partly owns residential property
- they meet the income and asset limits.
If they don’t meet the income and asset limits, but meet all other conditions, they may be eligible if they also meet the needs test.
An independent income’s a regular income that can include, but isn’t limited to:
- Centrelink or similar - eg Veterans’ Affairs
- wage or salary - eg full time, part time, or casual work
- investment income
- interest paid directly to them.
Their income must be at least equal to Centrelink’s maximum Youth Allowance payment for a single person who lives away from the parental home. This amount also applies to couples.
People are considered to own residential property if either of the below apply:
- they’re recorded on, or hold the title of, a residential property - eg Torrens, strata, community or moiety title
- they have a valid form of lease or agreement for a dwelling sited on a title owned by someone else - eg a cabin sited on Crown land, a transportable home sited in a caravan park.
Other types of property used for residential purposes - eg motor homes, caravans, aren’t considered to be residential property.
If the registrant or a household member owns or partly owns residential property, they aren’t eligible except if any of the following situations apply.
There’s been a relationship breakdown, the registrant’s partner still lives in the property they jointly own, and the registrant has an urgent need to be housed before property settlement takes place.
The registrant, or someone in their household, needs to be housed away from the property, and the equity in the property isn’t enough to buy or rent a home that either:
- is in the area they need to live in
- isn’t substandard
- is large enough for the household
- is affordable.
The property should be listed for sale before the registrant’s allocated a public housing property.
The registrant, or someone in their household, needs to move away from home temporarily - eg for medical treatment, but wants to eventually move back.
The registrant needs to leave a jointly owned property because of domestic abuse, their partner still lives in the property, and property settlement will be delayed.
Income and asset limits
The income limits are based on an income equal to, or less than, a percentage of average weekly earnings (male ordinary time) for South Australia as set by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Where average weekly earnings fall lower than a previously published amount, the income limits are still based on the higher amount.
The percentages for households headed by a single adult:
- 65% for a single person
- 85% for a single person with one dependant
- 95% for a single person with two dependents
- 105% for a single person with three dependents
- 120% for a single person with four or more dependents.
The percentages for households headed by a couple:
- 85% for a couple
- 95% for a couple with one dependent
- 105% for a couple with two dependents
- 120% for a couple with three dependents
- 135% for a couple with four or more dependents.
The maximum asset limit’s based on, and is equal to, Centrelink’s Allowances and Parenting Payment asset test for non-home owners.
An asset’s any possession someone owns or partly owns - eg cash, real estate, shares, household contents, vehicles, boats. It includes assets held outside Australia, and any debts owed to the person. The asset value’s how much the asset would be worth if it was sold on the open market, minus any debts or encumbrances.
The income and assets limits don’t apply to people who:
- registered their interest before 25 February 1998
- were included in someone else’s registration of interest before 25 February 1998, have since lodged their own registration of interest, and meet all other eligibility conditions.
Debt and bankruptcy
People with an outstanding debt to Housing SA are eligible, but won’t be offered housing until they have an active arrangement to repay the debt in line with the Debt policy.
People who are bankrupt with an outstanding debt to Housing SA are eligible, but won’t be offered housing until the bankruptcy’s discharged, or they’re approved for Category 1 of the register.
Previous public or Aboriginal housing tenants
Previous tenants who were evicted from public or Aboriginal housing, or who had their lease agreement end for reasons other than disruption, can register their interest but can’t be housed during the six months immediately following the date their lease agreement ended. Housing SA can choose to waive this if there are exceptional circumstances.
Tenants, or members of their household, who were found to contribute to disruptive behaviour can’t register, receive offers of housing, or be re-housed in the 12 month period immediately after the lease agreement ended if any of the below apply:
- they’ve been evicted from public or Aboriginal housing because of ongoing or serious disruption, including if they left the property before an Order for Possession could be issued or served
- their lease agreement ended or wasn’t extended because of ongoing or serious disruption
- they vacated or abandoned the property with an active, serious and substantiated disruptive complaint.
Current public or Aboriginal housing tenants
Tenants and their partners aren’t eligible to register for public housing while living in public or Aboriginal housing, except if any of the below situations apply:
- the tenant wants to transfer in line with the Transfer policy
- the tenant or their partner’s leaving because of verified domestic abuse, or relationship breakdown
- the tenant’s currently housed in supportive housing.
Other household members, including the tenant’s children, can register their interest in public or Aboriginal housing provided they’re eligible.
Eligibility for Aboriginal housing
People are eligible to register their interest in Aboriginal housing if they’re eligible to register their interest in public housing, and can verify they’re of Aboriginal and/ or Torres Strait Islander descent.
Housing SA uses a needs test to assess a registrant’s level of need. Housing SA takes into account the needs of everyone listed in the registration of interest.
The needs test includes an assessment of:
- individual need
- accommodation history
- housing options.
Housing SA may use the needs test if a registrant either:
- doesn’t meet the income and asset limits
- has a higher need to be housed before other people on the register.
Housing SA registrations are placed in one of four Categories based on the urgency of the registrants’ housing needs.
Registration of interest Categories
People with urgent housing need, and long-term barriers to accessing or maintaining private housing options.
People who aren’t currently in urgent housing need, but have long-term barriers accessing or maintaining private housing options.
People who don’t have urgent housing need or long-term barriers to other housing options.
Public or Aboriginal housing tenants who register and are approved for a transfer, but don’t pass the needs test in line with the Transfer policy.
Low demand housing
People who don’t meet the income, assets or needs test but meet the other eligibility conditions for public housing.
This policy is based on and complies with:
- Eligibility for public housing guidelines v 22
Related policies and other documents
- Community housing eligibility policy
- Debt policy
- Disruptive behaviour policy
- Public and Aboriginal housing registration and allocations policy
- Transfer policy
Date this policy applies from
6 December 2017
The online version of the policy is the approved and current version. There is no guarantee that any printed copies are current.