What is Affordable Housing?

Affordable Housing is not the same as Social Housing. Affordable Housing is housing that is made available for very low to moderate income households and typically priced 20 percent below market rents so that eligible households are also able to meet other basic living costs.

Who owns Affordable Housing?

Affordable rental housing may be owned by private developers or investors, local governments, charitable organisations or community housing providers.

Who Manages Affordable Housing?

Affordable Housing is usually managed by not for profit community housing providers and sometimes by private organisations. Managing affordable housing in NSW involves the standard property and tenancy management requirements of managing any rental housing. However, it also involves additional responsibilities such as setting rent, letting properties to eligible households and meeting the compliance requirements of the relevant affordable housing program.

In general, managing affordable housing involves:

  • Establishing and implementing rental policies.
  • Determining household eligibility for affordable housing properties.
  • Finding eligible tenants, managing applications, rental assessments, and allocation of properties.
  • Managing eligible tenancies; including collecting rent and maintaining properties.
  • Reviewing annual and ongoing eligibility to ensure compliance with affordable housing schemes.

All tenancy managers of affordable housing in NSW must comply with the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

Who is eligible to rent Affordable Housing?

Many different people need affordable housing for many different reasons. This may include people who work full- or part-time in lower paid jobs, where their household income is not high enough to pay market rent in the area in which they live and/or work. Applicants must have part or full time employment with annual earnings corresponding with the household income limits tables as set annually by the NSW Affordable Housing Guidelines.


How are rents set?

Affordable housing rents vary and are set either as a discount to the market rent or as a percentage of a household’s income.

Where rent is set as a discount of the market rent, the discount is usually between 20 and 25 percent compared to the market rent for a similar property in the area.

Where rent is set as a proportion of a household’s income, households may be charged between 25 and 30 percent of their gross income for rent, although providers may charge slightly more in some circumstances.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Initial eligibility for affordable housing mostly depends on household income, which must be within the limits set by the NSW and/or Commonwealth Governments. The more people (including children) living in a household, the higher the household income is allowed to be.

Other factors may also be considered when assessing eligibility, including:

  • Residency Status - Australian citizenship or permanent residency.
  • Private Rental Market - Whether the household would be able to secure suitable or adequate housing in the private rental market
  • Owning Assets - Whether the household owns any assets (e.g. property) which they could be reasonably expected to use to solve their housing need.
  • Key Worker Eligibility - Some properties (usually owned by a local Council) are only made available for key workers who are permanently employed within the local government area. Key workers may include people working in the following sectors: Health Services, Childcare, Education, Emergency Services, Public Transport, etc.