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Regulatory action and escalation

The Registrar of Housing Agencies has a range of intervention powers available under Part VIII of Division 8 of the Housing Act 1983 (Vic) (Housing Act) to remedy issues of non-compliance in accordance with the Intervention Guidelines.

Monitoring and issue resolution

The Housing Registrar may identify compliance and other performance issues for registered agencies from a number of regulatory activities, including annual compliance assessments, reportable events, complaints referrals and investigations.

In circumstances where the issues do not represent a high risk to the registered agency and the registered agency has historically met regulatory compliance and performance requirements, the Registrar of Housing Agencies (Registrar) will first engage with the registered agency to develop a regulatory action plan to cooperatively remedy the compliance issue.

Once the registered agency has resolved the issue to the Registrar’s satisfaction, regulatory engagement returns to normal without the need for intervention or escalation under the Intervention Guidelines.

If the registered agency does not demonstrate commitment to resolving the issue(s), the Registrar may escalate engagement with the registered agency to include a formal investigation or use specific powers available under Part VIII of Division 8 of the Housing Act.

In serious cases, the Registrar may move directly to using intervention powers if considered necessary and proportionate.

Woman standing at front of house

Investigation

Where a registered agency is unable or unwilling to improve its compliance or performance, the Registrar may escalate regulatory engagement to undertake an investigation. In such instances, the overall objective of the investigation is to determine whether any changes are required to remedy compliance and performance issues under the Housing Act and gazetted Performance Standards.

The Registrar’s investigation powers include the following:

  • appointment of inspectors
  • compulsory attendance at interviews
  • compulsory supply of documents and records
  • entry to premises, search and seizure of documents or other items
  • gaining and use of a search warrant

An investigation may result in a report of findings identifying compliance, performance and systemic matters to be addressed either through regulatory action plan items or the use of intervention powers. In some cases, non-compliance is not identified, and no future action is required.

Intervention

Formal intervention powers available to the Registrar under Part VIII of Division VIII the Housing Act can be used to address issues of non-compliance against Performance Standards.

In considering use of intervention powers the Registrar is required to follow the principles contained in the Intervention Guidelines.

In accordance with the guidelines, intervention is a matter of last resort and in most cases, non-compliance is managed cooperatively through regulatory action items.

Intervention powers available to the Registrar include:

  • recommending the appointment of governing body members (s131)
  • instructing the registered agency to take a specific action (s132)
    • to enter into specified arrangements with one or more registered agency including transfer of some or all housing or merger
    • to appoint governing body members
    • to appoint an administrator
    • to wind up the agency and distribute its assets
    • any other matter the Registrar thinks fit

In addition to these intervention actions the Registrar can revoke the registration of a registered agency (s141).

Intervention actions taken after 1 July 2019 are published on the Housing Registrar’s Public Register.

Reviewed 26 February 2021

Housing Registrar

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