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Overview of registering as a rental housing agency

This page provides an overview of becoming a registered agency in Victoria.

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Applying for registration

Rental housing agencies seeking registration in Victoria must satisfy the registration requirements of Part VIII of the Housing Act 1983 (Vic) (Housing Act) including the constitutional requirements contained in Schedule 7. These are discussed in further detail on the eligibility for registration page.

Applicants must submit an application to the Housing Registrar, through the Community Housing Information Management and Engagement System (CHIMES).

The Housing Registrar will assess the applicant’s:

  • compliance with Part VIII of the Housing Act
  • capacity to meet Performance Standards
  • regulatory risk using financial and non-financial indicators to categorise the applicant, if registration is approved, as a housing association or a housing provider

The Housing Registrar also has the discretion to take into account other matters, which may include risks to tenants or reputational risks to the sector.

The Housing Registrar will consider the evidence submitted by the applicant in accordance with the Evidence Guidelines in the assessment of a registration application which must be submitted by the applicant through CHIMES. For interstate rental housing agencies, this may include evidence of operation as an existing Community Housing Provider under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH) where applicable.

Application timelines

The timeframe for registration is approximately three months provided that the applicant submits a compliant constitution and all other information required to demonstrate compliance with Performance Standards (set out in the Evidence Guidelines) at the time of submitting the application.

Applicants are encouraged to obtain independent legal advice to ensure constitutions are compliant with Schedule 7 of the Housing Act prior to applying for registration and to seek advice from the Housing Registrar on information required to demonstrate compliance.

Visit Registration application process and timelines for more information.

Interstate agencies seeking registration in Victoria

Interstate applicants already operating under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing may experience shorter registration times, conditional on a compliant constitution being provided at the time of submitting the application, along with all required supporting documentation.

Registration under the Housing Act is voluntary in Victoria. Many applicants seek registration to gain access to State and Commonwealth funding to deliver social housing and related services and other benefits associated with registration and regulation by the Housing Registrar.

Categorisation of housing providers and housing associations

Section 87 of the Housing Act allows the Housing Registrar of Housing Agencies to change the category of registration if the circumstances of the registered agency change. This is discussed in further detail on the Categorisation of housing providers and housing associations page.

Conditions of registration

Rental housing agencies are registered under the Housing Act as either 'housing associations' or 'housing providers’ by reference to the level of risk associated with the scale and scope of the organisation’s operations and community housing activities.

Once registered, registered agencies must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Registrar of Housing Agencies that they continue to be compliant with Performance Standards. Registered agencies demonstrate compliance by:

  • Undergoing annual compliance assessments which are undertaken by the Registrar of Housing Agencies between approximately September and March each year. Results of annual compliance assessments are publicly reported on the Public Register, which includes compliance with Performance Standards and a Performance Report which includes key performance metrics.
  • Regulatory action plans. The Housing Registrar may identify compliance and performance risks about a registered agency in the course of ongoing regulatory engagement. Registered agencies are required to address identified risks through regulatory action plan items. If a registered agency is not able or willing to resolve the identified risk cooperatively in a reasonable time period, the Housing Registrar may undertake regulatory intervention as a last resort through the use of a specific intervention power under Part 8 of Division VIII of the Housing Act and in accordance with the Intervention Guidelines.
  • Ongoing reporting. Registered agencies must submit reportable events that have or may have an adverse impact on a registered agency’s compliance with Performance Standards and/or other regulatory obligations under the Housing Act. 

Organisations interested in registration in Victoria, are encouraged to read and consider this information in consultation with their boards and other key stakeholders before applying for registration.

Applicants are also encouraged to contact the Housing Registrar at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure applications can be processed on a timely basis.

Reviewed 03 June 2021

Housing Registrar

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