Buy your public housing property

Last updated: 26 September 2017

Public housing tenants have the chance to buy the property they rent if it is approved through the Tenant House Sales program.

Am I eligible to buy my rental property?

You are eligible if:

  1. You are the tenant of the property and you have signed the residential tenancy agreement
    or
    You are the tenant’s spouse and you are applying to buy the house together
  2. You are up to date with rent and other charges (like maintenance and water charges) and you don't have any debts to us (like a bond loan)
  3. Your rented property has a separate title
  4. Your property hasn't been built or had major work done on it by us in the last seven years
  5. You don't own or have an interest in another property and you haven't signed a contract to buy another property
  6. You have been the tenant of the property you want to buy for at least seven consecutive years
  7. The property isn't located in an area or of a type that:
    • Is subject to high demand for public rental accommodation
    • Isn't needed for future purposes like redevelopment, transit city or urban growth centres.

Property titles

Every property has a title. It tells you who owns a piece of land. It also lists any special conditions that affect that land.

Sometimes the land in the title has more than one house, unit or flat built on it. If that is the case we may not be able sell you the property if it doesn't have a separate title.

Some flats and units share the same piece of land but have a strata title. This means that they can be split up and owned individually.

How much will it cost?

Setting the price

We must sell our properties at or above the market value set by the Victorian Valuer-General. Your past rent payments won't get taken off the purchase price.

You can get an idea of the price by contacting a local estate agent to ask for a free estimate of the value, or by comparing the sale prices of similar houses in the area.

Getting finance and costs

You'll need a loan to buy your rental property.

Before you apply to buy your home, you need to speak with your bank or financial institution to find out if you're able to borrow enough money. You also need to and ask them to give you a pre-approval finance letter to support your application.

If approved, we'll pay for the title search and the valuation fee.

You should think about getting a conveyancing agent or solicitor to help you with the purchase process.

You'll have to pay the registration fees on the transfer of land and the mortgage, and the stamp duty on both documents.

How much you pay for stamp duty depends on the value of the property.

You may be able to get stamp duty concessions and the First Home Owners Grant. Learn more about first home owner support on the State Revenue Office website or call them 13 21 61.

Once you own your property, you'll have to pay the council rates, water authority charges, building insurance and repairs and maintenance costs.

Buying with your spouse or children

Sometimes you can buy your property with your spouse, partner, child or children as Joint Proprietors.  This might be because you need help to get a loan. You'll need to prove your relationship with your spouse, partner child or children, like with a birth certificate.

How do I apply?

To apply:

  1. Fill in the Tenant house sales application form (.doc)
  2. Lodge it with your local office.

What happens next?

We will inspect the property and recommend whether or not it should be sold.  We will consider your application, along with any future needs we have for the property.

If your application is denied and you think we are wrong, you can appeal against the decision.

If your application is approved we will have the property valued by the Victorian Valuer-General.

You will then be given the chance to buy the property at the valued price.

If you accept the offer, our solicitors will draw up a contract of sale.

You can withdraw your application in writing or by calling us right up to the settlement day.

If you withdraw you will continue as a tenant.

Usually, we will write to you within 6-8 weeks of applying to tell you if your application to buy is successful.

Improvements and maintenance

Any improvements that you've made to the property should be listed on your application. We'll check that the improvements were made by you.

The current value of the improvements is assessed by the valuer during valuation and taken off the purchase price before we make you an offer to sell.

If the property needs a lot of maintenance, we strongly advise you to get an independent report to check the condition of the property before you buy it. You can get a report from a qualified building expert, like an architect or structural engineer.

While we consider your application, we'll keep doing urgent and essential maintenance on the property, like repairs to faulty electrical wiring or water supply problems.

We won't start any major works, like painting, fencing or replacement of floor coverings, as these would affect the property price.

If this type of work was planned and your application is not approved, or you withdraw your application, they will be done after your application is cancelled.

The purchase process

It usually takes around four months to finish your purchase, made up of:

  • One month to prepare the paperwork, like the Contract of Sale
  • Another month for you to check the details and finalise your loan
  • Two months from when the contract is signed to the settlement day (when the property title is transferred from us to you).  You can arrange for the settlement time to be a shorter or longer period as long as we agree.

What if I need help?

If you need more information on the Tenant House Sales Program, phone 1800 649 589 (free call).

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