Under the Housing Act 1983 (Vic) (Housing Act), the registration and regulation of rental housing agencies requires the provision of information to the Housing Registrar. This information may include confidential and sensitive material such as:
- commercial in-confidence information (e.g. business plans, financial plans or reports of internal operational reviews)
- personal information (e.g. relating to members of governing bodies of registered agencies, tenants and prospective tenants of a registered agency)
Any commercial in-confidence or personal information disclosed or provided to the Housing Registrar, whether written or oral, is kept in strict confidence and only used for purposes outlined in the Housing Act.
More information on our confidentiality procedures can be found in the confidentiality information sheet below:
Steps to registration
There are two steps to apply for registration as a registered agency in Victoria. These are outlined below.
Organisations seeking to register in Victoria are registered either as a housing association (a company limited by shares or guarantee) or a housing provider (a company limited by shares or guarantee, incorporated association or co-operative). The Registrar will determine the registration category which is dependent on the risk profile of the registered agency, assessed in reference to its size, business and development activities.
Documents required as part of the pre-registration form are:
- agency name
- incorporation type
- agency address
- constitution or rules of the organisation
- contact details of a nominated main contact
- incorporation certificate
- legal structure including any parent/subsidiary/trustee relationships
- contact details of an authoriser within the organisation with responsibility for overseeing the registration process
The Housing Registrar will acknowledge receipt of the pre-registration form. Subject to the Housing Registrar’s assessment of the pre-registration form and constitution or rules of the applicant in accordance with the requirements of the Housing Act 1983 (Vic), the applicant for registration will be invited to complete the application for registration form through the Housing Registrar’s cloud-based Community Housing Information Management and Engagement System (CHiMES).
Organisations seeking registration in Victoria are required to complete the online application for registration form in the Housing Registrar’s cloud-based Community Housing Information Management and Engagement System (CHiMES) and demonstrate capacity to meet Performance Standards.
The nominated main contact will have access to process the application for registration form in CHiMES, while the authoriser will have access to approve the application and the related documents for submission in CHiMES. The Housing Registrar will contact the nominated main contact in the first instance to address any registration related queries.
CHiMES is built on the Salesforce platform. All information is stored in accordance with the ISO 27001 international standard for information security management systems. All information is kept securely and handled in accordance with relevant legislation governing the collection, use and disclosure of information. The preferred browsers for CHiMES are Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge. Internet Explorer is not recommended for use.
The applicant’s CHiMES account will contain incorporation and business information collected through the pre-registration application process. The application for registration form is comprised of eight sections including:
- selecting the category of registration (i.e. housing provider or housing association)
- incorporation details
- business and scope of the operation details
- board member details
- evidence of capacity to meet the seven Performance Standards in line with the Evidence Guidelines
- completing the financial performance report (FPR)
- completing the community housing asset details
- the declaration by the board
The Evidence Guidelines provides guidance on the minimum documentation required for applicants to demonstrate compliance with Performance Standards.
Once the assessment of the registration application has been completed by the Housing Registrar, an application assessment is provided to the Registrar of Housing Agencies (Registrar) to make the final decision on the registration of a rental housing agency.
Rental housing agencies approved for registration by the Registrar are advised in writing and sent a certificate of registration.
A report on any issues arising from the assessment of the application, and the follow up actions required as part of the registration plan are also provided to the registered agency. This report forms the beginning of ongoing regulatory engagement between the Housing Registrar and the registered agency.
The registered agency will be given access to the Community Housing Information Management and Engagement System (CHiMES) to submit reports and other evidentiary documents as part of ongoing compliance requirements under the Housing Act, the gazetted Performance Standards and the Intervention Guidelines (the Victorian Regulatory System). Registered agencies must comply with the requirements of the Victorian Regulatory System.
Where the Registrar does not approve an application for registration, the rental housing agency will be advised in writing with a full explanation of the reasons for this decision.
A rental housing agency may apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a review of a decision by the Registrar to not register it under the Housing Act.
An application for review under section 88 of the Housing Act must be made within 28 days after the day on which the statement of reasons is given by the Registrar.
Important information to support the completion of the application for registration form
Rental housing agencies must be financially viable at all times to register and remain registered under the Victorian regulatory system. This section summarises financial viability requirements to register as a rental housing agency in Victoria.
Financial viability is the ability to generate sufficient income to meet operating payments, debt commitments (if any) and allow for growth or service improvements, while maintaining quality service levels in accordance with .
Applicants for registration are required to provide relevant information that allows the Registrar to assess the organisation’s financial viability in relation to the following:
- ensuring a viable capital structure;
- maintaining appropriate financial performance; and
- managing financial risk exposure
As part of the registration application and ongoing compliance and performance reporting requirements, the applicant must prepare a Financial Performance Report (FPR) which includes both historical and projected financial data to analyse the organisation’s financial performance and financial position. The applicant will input financial data in the form of a profit and loss statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. Please contact the Housing Registrar to obtain a copy of the FPR.
This section summarises the requirements under the Housing Act for rental housing agencies to provide details of assets owned and managed to register and remain registered under the Victorian regulatory system.
Schedule 8 of the Housing Act sets out the requirement to provide details of the assets owned and managed by the applicant. Assets are described in three categories:
- land owned by the applicant
- land over which the applicant holds a lease, tenancy agreement or licence of more than three years’ duration and in which the Director of Housing has an interest
- land at which the applicant provides housing services to the public
Land includes buildings and other structures, land covered with water and any interest (including any leasehold interest), easement or right in or over land.
The asset details of the applicant are to be listed in a linked Microsoft Excel spreadsheet attached to the application for registration form on CHiMES. Applicants can import data from existing asset registers or lists as long as the format of the spreadsheet on CHiMES is not changed.
This section provides information about corporate group structures to ensure that a registered agency can comply with Victorian regulatory requirements and Performance Standards when operating in a corporate group.
Section 82 (1) and (2) of the Housing Act allows the Registrar to approve the registration of a rental housing agency that acts as a trustee or is a subsidiary of a body other than a registered agency. To do so the Registrar must be satisfied that the rental housing agency’s status as a trustee or subsidiary will not adversely affect the ability of the registered agency to comply with the prescribed registration criteria and Performance Standards.
Applicants must provide details of their group structure and the affiliated entity arrangements as part of the application for registration form. Where any aspect of the management of the organisation’s business or functions is outsourced, the applicant must ensure that the entity to which the business or functions are outsourced complies with the Performance Standards and that evidence to this effect is provided as part of the application process.
The Corporate group structures and the Victorian regulatory framework guide below provides further information on regulatory risks and options for mitigating these risks for entities operating under corporate group structures.
The declarations required as part of the application for registration form relate to the applicant’s financial and other reporting requirements of the Act under which it is incorporated, any taxation reporting requirements of the Australian Taxation Office and the applicant’s current status as a trustee or subsidiary.
The Housing Registrar will acknowledge receipt of the application for registration form. The Housing Registrar’s assessment of a rental housing agency’s registration application comprises:
- reviewing and assessing the evidentiary documents to determine the applicant’s capacity to meet the Performance Standards; and
- assessing the evidentiary documents to determine compliance with other legislative requirements of .
The Housing Registrar will contact the applicant during the assessment process to discuss the preliminary findings of the assessment. This will provide the applicant with the opportunity to submit further information if required before the assessment is finalised.
Information about application timelines for registration in Victoria is provided below.
Pre-registration assessment Estimated time frame (ETF) Applicant submits pre-registration form Start date Housing Registrar acknowledges receipt of pre-registration form Start date + 1 week Housing Registrar assesses incorporation details and the constitution or rules of the rental housing agency Start date + 2 weeks
Housing Registrar provides feedback on the pre-registration assessment
Housing Registrar gives the applicant access to the Community Housing Information Management and Engagement System (CHiMES) to submit the application for registration (if the applicant complies with the registration criteria under Schedule 7 of the Housing Act)
Start date + 3 weeks
Application for registration assessment
Estimated time frame (ETF) Applicant submits application for registration through CHiMES ETF date Housing Registrar assesses the application and evidentiary documents ETF date + 5 weeks Housing Registrar requests further information if there are evidence gaps ETF date + 6 weeks Housing Registrar acknowledges receipt of additional information from the applicant ETF date + 8 weeks Housing Registrar delivers a Final Assessment and recommendation to the Registrar on the application for registration ETF date + 10 weeks Successful applicants: Rental housing agencies approved for registration by the Registrar are advised in writing by the Housing Registrar and sent a certificate of registration ETF date + 12 weeks Unsuccessful applicants: Where the Registrar does not approve an application for registration, the applicant will be advised by the Housing Registrar in writing with a full explanation of the reasons for this decision ETF date + 12 weeks
The ETF depends on the applicant providing:
- a compliant constitution;
- quality information to support timely review; and
- the required evidentiary documents within the time frame specified by the Housing Registrar.
Reviewed 01 March 2021