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The sector

Information about the community housing sector in Victoria including housing and tenancy profile, key performance measures, financial performance and summary financial statements.

Housing and tenancy profile

Total tenancy units

At 30 June 2021, the sector managed 21,167 tenancy (rental) units. Of total housing stock, housing associations managed 70.5% and housing providers managed 29.5%.

Tenancy unit numbers reported for the previous four financial years have increased marginally from those reported in the Sector Performance Report: 2019-20. Since the publication of the previous report, the Registrar has undertaken a data validation review of tenancy units to ensure properties that are owned by one registered agency and managed by another are recorded correctly. The tenancy unit data presented in this report provides a more accurate depiction of the size and growth of the sector over the previous five years.

The number of tenancy units grew by 3.8% from 2019-20. Most of this growth (80.2%) was due to an increase in the number of units registered agencies managed on behalf of the Director of Housing (DoH) and third parties. This included properties owned by or under headlease to the DoH for provision of supported accommodation to homeless people housed in hotels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sector ownership profile (tenancies)

Housing associations owned the majority of their housing stock at 69.2%, with 30.8% managed on behalf of the DoH and third parties. In contrast, housing providers owned 12.5% and managed 87.5% of their housing stock on behalf of the DoH and third parties.

As at 30 June 2021, the sector owned 11,099 tenancy units in total with a carrying value of $4.04 billion. This has grown marginally (1.4%) from 10,947 owned tenancy units at 30 June 2020. This growth has been delivered through both ‘new builds’ and property acquisitions, partially offset by disposal of aging housing assets that became uneconomical to maintain and were disposed of as part of asset recycling strategies.

At 30 June 2021, 80% of tenancy units managed by the sector were for long-term housing, including rooming houses, group housing and Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). The next largest housing type was Transitional Housing (THM) at 19%, which provides shorter term accommodation. Crisis housing makes up the remaining 1% of tenancy units.

Housing stock profile

Key performance measures

This section presents the aggregated sector results of 2020‑21 KPMs reported by registered agencies.

KPM results are used by the Registrar to monitor and assess registered agencies against performance standards and in continuous improvement. This performance information enables the Registrar to identify trends in aggregate across the sector and for individual registered agencies, which may inform regulatory engagement.

The Registrar publishes annual Performance Reports which contain individual KPM data for each registered agency.

Performance indicators

The Registrar assesses each registered agency’s performance under KPMs using performance ranges of ‘preferred’, ‘satisfactory’ and ‘action required’, which are taken into account in annual compliance assessments and reflected in regulatory action plans where required.

Further information on the sector’s performance in 2020‑21 against each KPM is visually represented below.


Total staff

The above diagram shows the growth in staff numbers in the sector over the past five years. These figures incorporate staff across all business areas including executive, corporate and administration, community housing and other services.

The total number of staff employed by the sector has increased by 4.4% to 1,630 staff in 2020‑21.

The increase in staffing is consistent with housing growth, increased tenancies and delivery of new programs and services. In 2020‑21, this included participating in the Big Housing Build and the From Homelessness to a Home (H2H) initiative to provide people residing in emergency accommodation due to the COVID-19 pandemic with access to stable medium and long-term housing and support.

Staff turnover

The Registrar monitors staff turnover in registered agencies as a percentage of total staff. This indicator should remain in the preferred range to ensure continuity in service delivery to tenants. Low staff turnover may also be an indicator of good employment and retention practices including a positive workplace culture.

Staff turnover

In 2020‑21, staff turnover across the registered sector averaged 19.7%, an increase from 17.5% in 2019-20. Some registered agencies reported an increase in staff turnover brought on by the effects of COVID-19, including staff relocation, increased job opportunities and earlier retirement.

Registered agencies that recorded a high staff turnover in 2020‑21 had a relatively small number of employees, sometimes as few as two staff. Therefore, a small change in staff numbers, including one resignation, could result in a significant change in this KPM outcome.

Turnaround time

Turnaround time is a measure of the average number of days taken by a registered agency to re-let a tenancy unit, either when it is ready for a tenant to move in (vacant tenantable) or when it requires cleaning or maintenance prior to tenanting (vacant untenantable). The Registrar monitors this KPM as reduced turnaround times enable new tenants to be housed faster than would otherwise be the case. Turnaround time is an indicator of efficiency and minimised turnaround times reduce the amount of foregone rent for registered agencies associated with vacant tenancy units.

Turnaround time

In 2020‑21, the sector performed as follows:

  • average vacant tenantable turnaround time1 was 25.1 days, a 36.8% increase on the 2019-20 average of 18.36 days
  • average vacant untenantable turnaround time2 was 45.3 days, a 27.5% increase on the 2019-20 average of 35.5 days.

These increases were largely due to COVID-19 public health measures. Registered agencies managing rooming houses and other higher density accommodation prolonged re-tenanting vacant units to allow for greater social distancing at properties with shared facilities. Some registered agencies managing rooming house properties also reported difficulty re‑tenanting vacant rooms, as prospective tenants were reluctant to move into properties with shared facilities.


  1. Vacant tenantable turnaround time measures the total number of days all tenancy units were vacant and tenantable during the year, averaged across the total number of vacancies during the year.
  2. Vacant untenantable turnaround time measures the total number of days all long-term housing tenancy units were vacant and untenantable during the year, averaged across the total number of long-term housing vacancies during the year.

Rent outstanding

The KPM for rent outstanding measures the amount of rent that is overdue (rent arrears) to a registered agency at 30 June 2021. This is an indicator of a registered agency’s performance in appropriately managing rents, including providing support for tenants facing payment difficulties. As rent revenue is a major source of income for most registered agencies, this measure has a direct impact on financial viability.

As a percentage of total rent revenue, the average rent outstanding from current tenants at 30 June 2021 was 1.48%. This is a slight decrease from 1.55% reported at 30 June 2020 and continues the positive downward trend of this measure.

Most registered agencies recorded rent outstanding from current tenants at less than 5%, within the satisfactory range for this KPM.

Rent outstanding from current tenants

Tenancies maintained

This KPM measures the percentage of long-term housing tenants that have remained housed with a registered agency for the entire reporting year. Note: Tenancies maintained data includes voluntary exits and deceased tenants during the reporting period.

The Registrar monitors and assesses the effectiveness of registered agencies in sustaining tenancies including minimising evictions in recognition of the importance of stable secure housing in enabling tenants to participate in employment, education and the community.

Tenancies maintained

Average tenancies maintained has remained stable across the sector for the past three years at 89.3%, within the satisfactory range for this KPM.

Occupancy rate

The occupancy rate provides a measure of the percentage of available tenancy units that are occupied averaged across the year. Note: There are no performance ranges for the average occupancy rate as this measure is derived from data entered for the turnaround time KPM.

Similar to turnaround time, the occupancy rate is a measure of efficiency of registered agency practices in ensuring that properties are fully tenanted and rental revenue is maximised.

Occupancy rates continued a downward trend in 2020‑21 to 96.2%, largely due to COVID-19 preparedness measures in higher density accommodation. Registered agencies also reported delays in re-tenanting units due to COVID-19 public health measures as described in the turnaround time KPM.

Average occupancy rate


The Registrar monitors the rate of evictions as a proportion of tenancy exits to evidence that registered agencies are working to sustain tenancies and are treating eviction as a means of last resort. Note: Evictions are defined under this KPM as ‘a warrant of possession is issued (purchase of warrant) and the tenancy is subsequently terminated’.


Average evictions as proportion of tenancy exits

In 2020‑21, the average eviction rate as a proportion of exits from community housing was 3.1% and in the satisfactory range at below 5%. This continues the downward trend of the past four years and is the lowest rate for this measure in the past five years.

The eviction rate has been impacted by temporary amendments to the RTA following the commencement of the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 (Vic) which made changes to the circumstances in which registered agencies could seek eviction of tenants from 29 March 2020 to 28 March 2021.

During this period, the Registrar increased its monitoring of evictions through the introduction of revised requirements for registered agencies to formally report proposed evictions. Evictions occurring during the period were generally for reasons such as public and safety concerns, extensive property damage, and significant rent arrears.


Registered agencies are required to have accessible and efficient complaints systems that comply with the Act and performance standards. Registered agencies are also required to demonstrate a positive culture towards complaints management and must take all reasonable steps to resolve complaints from tenants and prospective tenants within 30 days.

Performance Standard 1 Tenant and housing services identifies the following indicators of good complaints and appeals handling practice:

  • information is readily available and promoted to tenants on complaints and appeals
  • the registered agency manages complaints and appeals promptly and fairly
  • the registered agency regularly monitors the effectiveness of the complaints and appeals system.

Prospective and tenant complaints resolutions <30 days

During 2020‑21, 93.5% of complaints lodged by tenants and prospective tenants were resolved in 30 days. This was a slight improvement from 92.7% in 2019-20, which may reflect strong complaints management and positive complaints cultures across the sector.

All registered agencies but one recorded at least an 80% resolution rate for tenant and prospective tenant complaints, with the majority reporting rates in the 90% to 100% range. The outlying registered agency recorded a 50% resolution rate across a relatively low number of complaints (four).

In 2020‑21, the sector received 417 complaints from tenants and prospective tenants, representing less than 2% of the total tenancy units under management within the sector. This low result may be an indicator of tenant satisfaction. Note: This figure may include multiple complaints received from a single tenant.

However, the lower numbers of complaints may also indicate issues with the accessibility of complaints systems for tenants. As such, the Registrar will continue to closely monitor complaints management practices and completion of regulatory action items.

  2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21
Total number of complaints received 881 1,076 1,113 1,143 1,288
Total number of complaints received from tenants or prospective tenants 388 425 380 428 417

Tenant satisfaction

Registered agencies are required to survey tenants at least every two years. The following questions must be included in tenant surveys with a standard response scale to ensure comparable data across the sector:

  • Taking everything into account, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the services provided by [registered agency]?
  • How satisfied or dissatisfied are you that your views are being taken into account by [registered agency]?
  • Generally, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the way [registered agency] deals with repairs and maintenance?


  • Very satisfied
  • Fairly satisfied
  • Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
  • Fairly dissatisfied
  • Very dissatisfied
  • No opinion

Survey results and analysis provide registered agencies with insight into the needs of tenants and suggestions to improve services.

Tenant satisfaction – housing services

The trend over the five years to 2018-19 saw the result for this KPM consistently above 85%. However, a slight drop to 83.6% was recorded in 2019-20, likely in part due to COVID‑19 public health measures, with a small rise to 84.3% recorded in 2020‑21.

Tenant satisfaction - housing services

Registered agencies have reported that minimal face-to-face contact with tenants and a reduction in non-urgent maintenance performed over the past two years during the COVID-19 pandemic has affected this measure. Therefore, the slight rise seen across all three tenant satisfaction measures may be partly attributable to reduced restrictions from public health measures. The registered sector average for Tenant satisfaction – housing services at 84.3% falls within the satisfactory range for this KPM.

Tenant satisfaction – consideration of views

This KPM measures how satisfied the tenants of registered agencies are in relation to consideration of their views by the registered agency. This includes complaint management, feedback and tenant engagement.

Tenant satisfaction - consideration of views

The average satisfaction rate for consideration of views was 71.8%, a slight rise from the previous year’s low of 69.0%.

Registered agencies reported that the lack of regular and face-to-face contact with tenants during 2020‑21 due to COVID-19 public health measures contributed to the low results for this KPM. In response, several registered agencies developed new systems and strategies to ensure that tenant voices are better considered when planning and delivering housing services.

Tenant satisfaction – consideration of views at 71.8% falls into the action required range for this KPM. The Registrar will continue to monitor registered agencies’ implementation of systems and strategies to promote improvement in this measure.

Tenant satisfaction – maintenance

In 2020-21, 72.4% of tenants were satisfied with maintenance to their residences. This is a slight increase from 71.5% in 2019-20.

Tenant satisfaction - maintenance

Similarly to 2019-20, the impact of COVID-19 public health measures on the completion of non-urgent maintenance is likely to have significantly impacted tenant satisfaction with maintenance.

Tenant satisfaction – maintenance at 72.4% falls into the action required range for this KPM. The Registrar will monitor this measure for a return to pre‑COVID-19 levels following the easing of restrictions allowing non-urgent maintenance activities to resume.

Financial performance

Under Performance Standard 7 Financial viability, registered agencies must maintain financial viability by effectively managing financial risk exposure, maintaining satisfactory financial performance and having a viable capital structure.

Registered agencies report a range of detailed financial information to the Registrar as part of the annual compliance assessment process. This reporting includes provision of the:

  • Financial Performance Report – contains historical and forecast financial data including grants, debt and development projects for each registered agency
  • audited financial statements
  • financial related policies and procedures – including policies evidencing financial risk management.

The Registrar consolidates financial data provided by registered agencies to analyse the financial performance of the sector.

Housing assets

In 2020‑21, housing assets owned by the sector grew by $0.33 billion to a total value of $4.04 billion. This figure reflects housing owned by the registered sector only and not housing managed on behalf of the DoH and other parties.

In 2020‑21, the increase in the value of housing assets was driven by both housing asset valuation increases and an increase in the number of housing properties owned by the sector, primarily by housing associations.

Value of housing assets

Operating revenue

In 2020‑21, total operating revenue of the sector was $376 million. Note: Operating revenue excludes capital grants, non-cash income, fair value gains, profit/loss on disposal of assets and other unusual/non-operating items.

Operating revenue is analysed by the Registrar to monitor cash inflows received by the sector and the reliance of the sector on specific income streams.

Operating revenue has increased steadily over the past five years, primarily driven by operating grants received. In 2020‑21, operating grants comprised 48% of the sector’s total operating revenue. Note that where registered agencies provide other services in addition to housing, operating grants for non-community housing services will be included in these figures. Further information on grant funding is provided below.

Operating revenue ($ million)

Operating expenses

In 2020‑21, the sector incurred $347 million in total operating expenses before depreciation and finance costs. Note: Operating expenses excludes depreciation and finance costs which are included in the summary financial statement.

Prior to 2020‑21, operating expenses have been relatively consistent with operating revenue growth within the sector.

In 2020‑21, the operating expenses to operating revenue ratio increased by 7.1%, due to an increase in operating expenses without a comparable increase in operating revenue. Drivers of increased operating expenses have included salaries and wages and consultant expenses as registered agencies prepare funding submissions and undertake project management activities to participate in the Big Housing Build.

Maintenance expenses also increased in 2020‑21, in response to the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing Building Works Maintenance Stimulus program grant spending and carryover maintenance from 2019-20, which was unable to be completed in the relevant year due to COVID-19 public health measures.

Operating expenses ($ million)

Operating EBITDA

In 2020‑21, the operating EBITDA margin was 7.6%, a decrease of 7.1% from 2019-20. This has been driven by an increase in operating expenses compared to operating revenue and reflects smaller operating margins within the sector.

This measure will be closely monitored, given the significant projected growth and construction activity associated with the Big Housing Build and as newly registered agencies become operational over the coming years.

Operating EBITDA ($ million) and operating EBITDA margin

Grant funding

The sector’s revenue is predominantly comprised of rents, operating grants and capital grants. Operating grants provide funding for delivery of specific programs and capital grants fund upgrades and development of properties.

The information and charts provided in this section of the report relate to the grant funding portion of revenue as a proportion of total revenue.

In 2020‑21, the sector received $246 million in operating and capital grants, which is a 37.1% increase from 2019-20. This increase was associated with additional government funding from the Big Housing Build, the H2H initiative and philanthropic contributions. Operating and capital grants comprised 56.4% of total sector revenue, reflecting the sector’s reliance on grant funding for both operational programs and housing development.

Grant contribution to total revenue

Capital and operating grants

In 2020‑21, housing providers received a far greater proportion of total revenue from operating grants than housing associations received. Launch Housing and WAYSS Limited accounted for 53.6% of total operating grants received, delivering Victorian Government support programs including for homelessness and family violence.

Grant proportion of total revenue

Housing associations received a greater proportion of capital grants due to their increased capacity to deliver growth. Housing First Limited and Unison Housing Ltd accounted for 40.2% of all capital grants received by the sector.

Grants received ($ million)


Sector debt at 30 June ($ million)

In 2020-21, sector debt significantly increased by $625 million to $1.02 billion. This primarily reflected the registration of housing provider, Building Communities Victoria Limited, which had borrowings of approximately $500 million for the development of the PHRP. Borrowings by housing associations also increased by $117 million, reflecting funding of development projects.

Debt composition ($ million)

The debt to housing assets ratio increased to 25.3%, reflecting the additional borrowings within the sector. However, this ratio remains within acceptable levels, with debt predominantly comprised of low-interest Federal Government loans.

In 2020‑21, sector debt was made up of 68.3% Federal Government loans, 14.2% state government loans, 13.0% intercompany loans and 3.9% loans from private lenders.

Debt composition ($ million)

Interest cover

The interest cover ratio indicates the extent to which operating earnings can cover interest expenses. This ratio decreased in 2020‑21, reflecting the decreased operating EBITDA of the sector. However, a positive ratio of 2.6 continues to demonstrate the ability of the sector to meet its interest repayment obligations.

Interest cover ratio


The working capital ratio shows the ability of the sector to pay its current liabilities with its current assets. Note: Excludes capital grants received in advance.

This ratio has significantly increased in 2020‑21 due to an increase in the sector’s cash balance discussed below. A working capital ratio of 5.8 at 30 June 2021 demonstrated that the sector had sufficient current assets to meets its short‑term financial obligations.

Working capital ratio

Cash and short-term investments

Total cash and short-term investments within the sector significantly increased by $546 million in 2020‑21. This primarily reflects the drawdown of loan facilities.

The total cash balance for housing associations increased by $53.9 million. This indicates an increase in cash and short-term investments available to support operational goals and future housing development.

Cash and short-term investments at 30 June ($ million)

Capital structure

In 2020‑21, equity continued to represent a significant portion of the sector’s capital structure, driven by positive earnings accumulated over time and an increase in housing assets owned.

At 30 June 2021, total liabilities (predominantly debt, payables and provisions) of $1.3 billion remained much smaller than equity at $3.74 billion. Debt however has increased significantly from 2019-20 to facilitate sector growth.

Capital structure at 30 June ($ billion)

Capital structure financial indicators

The sector’s debt to equity ratio increased to 27.3% at 30 June 2021, driven by an increase in debt.

Debt to equity (gearing) ratio

Cash cost of capital represents the cost of funding and is calculated as the sector’s total interest expense over average assets. The cash cost of capital decreased to 0.2% in 2020-21. While total debt has increased, this decrease reflects a $4.8 million reduction of interest expenses within the sector primarily due to registered agencies refinancing previous commercial debt with lower interest National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation loans.

Cash cost of capital

Summary financial statements

Income statement1


FY 2017

 FY 2018

 FY 2019

 FY 2020

 FY 2021

Rent revenue






Operating grants






NRAS subsidy






Other revenue






Total operating revenue






Admin expenses






Property expenses












Finance costs






Other expense






Total operating expense






Net operating surplus






Capital grants






Other one-time items






Net surplus






Balance sheet1


FY 2017

 FY 2018

 FY 2019

 FY 2020

 FY 2021

Cash and short term investments






Other current assets






Current assets






Housing assets






Other non current assets






Total non current assets






Total assets






Loan liabilities






Other current liabilities






Total current liabilities






Loan liabilities






Other non-current liabilities






Total non current liabilities






Total liabilities






Net assets


















Total equity






1. ($ million)

2. Net operating surplus was impacted by the inclusion of a newly registered agency, Building Communities Victoria Ltd, which contributed -$9.0 million in operating expenses to support construction activities. This entity is not yet delivering rental housing services and is therefore not currently generating revenue.

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