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Interstate agencies seeking registration in Victoria

This section provides information to interstate agencies seeking registration in Victoria.

Victoria is not a participant in the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH) and therefore registration requirements are governed by the Housing Act 1983 (Vic) (Housing Act) and gazetted Performance Standards.

Victoria, through the Registrar of Housing Agencies (Registrar), is however committed to cost-effective alignment of its performance and reporting requirements with the NRSCH to lower the barriers for community housing providers to operate in multiple jurisdictions.

NRSCH registration (including compliance and performance history) will be taken into account when assessing a registration application in Victoria. This information may provide supporting information which can fast track registration times from three months to two months on the basis a compliant constitution (with Schedule 7 of the Housing Act) and all supporting information is provided at the time of submitting the application through CHiMES.

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Comparison of regulatory approaches

Under the NRSCH, the National Law applied or adopted by individual jurisdictions is the governing legislation, while regulation in Victoria is underpinned by the Housing Act. There are a number of differences between the two legislation and the operational guidelines that an organisation must consider before applying for registration.

Registration criteria

All rental housing agencies seeking registration in Victoria are required to set up a separate Victorian entity, either as a housing association or housing provider, with a constitution that complies with the registration eligibility criteria in Schedule 7 of the Housing Act. The entity must demonstrate it can meet gazetted Performance Standards.

The key distinctive registration criteria in Victoria are summarised below to provide guidance to entities registered under the NRSCH, who are seeking registration in Victoria.

Registration criteria in Victoria

    • The rental housing agency must be a non-profit body.
    • To be registered as a registered housing association the rental housing agency must be a company limited by shares or by guarantee.
    • To be registered as a registered housing provider the rental housing agency must be a company limited by shares or by guarantee or a co-operative or an incorporated association.
    • The rental housing agency must not be a subsidiary or acting as a trustee for any person other than a registered agency (unless approved by the Registrar of Housing Agencies).
    • The organisation must be a separate legal entity from the one registered under the NRSCH. The organisation registered under the NRSCH cannot be regulated by two Registrars with duplicate objectives.
    • The constitution must have specific clauses related to powers and objects, which are outlined in Schedule 7 of the Housing Act.
    • The constitution or rules of the rental housing agency may only be amended by special resolution in accordance with the legislation under which the rental housing agency is incorporated.
    • The assets and income of the rental housing agency must be applied solely for the purposes for which the rental housing agency is incorporated.
    • All of an agency’s assets are covered by the Victorian Regulatory System (VRS). This includes community housing assets, other housing assets (e.g. office buildings) and other assets owned by the agency (e.g. vehicles).
    • In the event of the rental housing agency being wound up, any surplus assets remaining after payment of its liabilities must be transferred to another registered agency under the Housing Act, approved by the Registrar under that Act, with similar purposes and which is not carried on for the purposes of profit or gain to its members.

Find more information on registration criteria refer to Schedule 7 of the Housing Act.

Capacity to meet Performance Standards

The registration criteria under the Housing Act requires registered agencies to demonstrate capacity to meet Performance Standards. The Performance Standard requirements in Victoria are largely consistent with the requirements of the NRSCH.

The Evidence Guidelines list the minimum documentation the Registrar of Housing Agencies expects from registered agencies for them to demonstrate compliance with Performance Standards.

NRSCH registered agencies seeking to register in Victoria are encouraged to submit their current policies and evidentiary materials in the first instance to demonstrate capacity to meet the Performance Standards for the entity that is seeking registration in Victoria. Applicants are, however, required to subsequently revise and update these operational policies and procedures to make sure they comply with the Victorian regulatory system and refer to relevant Victorian legislation.

The key distinctive requirements of the Performance Standards in Victoria are summarised below to provide guidance to entities registered under the NRSCH, who are seeking registration in Victoria.

Differences in Performance Standards criteria between the Victorian regulatory system and the NRSCH

    • The Tenant and Housing Services Performance Standard is consistent with the requirements of the NRSCH. The registered agency must demonstrate fair, transparent and responsive delivery of housing assistance to tenants, residents and other clients.
    • In Victoria, the registered agency must provide safe, secure and affordable housing, managed in accordance with requirements of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (RTA) (Vic).
    • Key policies relating to tenancy management and rent setting must be available in a variety of formats, including online through a website in line with the Housing Registrar’s Guidance on Agency Publication of Online Policies.
    • The Housing Assets Performance Standard is consistent with the requirements of the NRSCH. The registered agency must demonstrate it manages the assets in a manner that ensures suitable properties are available now and into the future.
    • In Victoria, the registered agency must manage community housing assets in accordance with the specific legal and policy property condition requirements relevant in Victoria.
    • Registered agencies must provide a complete housing asset list that includes all information specified in Schedule 8 of the Housing Act.
    • The Financial Viability Performance Standard is mostly consistent with the requirements of the NRSCH. However, different Financial Performance Report templates are used by Victoria and the NRSCH. The reporting requirements vary slightly including:
      • Housing associations: 4 years actual and 10 years forecast data.
      • Housing providers: 3 years actual and 5 years forecast data.
    • Housing associations are required to provide details of current and planned capital projects, ongoing routine, cyclical maintenance and upgrade requirements, with financial projections over the life of the housing (25 years or more).
    • The Governance Performance Standard is consistent with the requirements of the NRSCH. The registered agency must demonstrate it is well-governed to support the aims and intended outcomes of its business.
    • In Victoria, the registered agency must have a system in place to ensure compliance with all applicable legal requirements and relevant government policies in Victoria.
    • Management, Probity and Community Engagement Performance Standards are in line with NRSCH.

Reviewed 01 March 2021

Housing Registrar

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