Public housing

Last updated: 2 June 2016

What is public housing?

Public housing is long-term rental housing that we manage. It is for people on low incomes that are most in need, especially those who have recently experienced homelessness or have other special needs.

We also work with other organisations to provide community housing, which you can apply for.

See our section for public housing tenants for information about living in public housing, including tenants' right and responsibilities, maintenance and repairs, and household changes.

Am I eligible for public housing?

To find out what housing options you might have, use our housing options finder.

To be eligible for public housing, you must live in Victoria and:

  • Be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident
  • Not own or earn more than the current general public housing income and asset limits
  • Not be subject to Centrelink's two-year waiting period for newly-arrived migrants
  • Not own or part-own a house, unit or flat
  • Repay any money that you owe us from a previous public housing tenancy or bond loan
  • Provide proof of identity, residency status and income. More information, including a list of approved identity documents, is in proof of identity document requirements (.doc)
  • Provide other documents needed for each person applying.

You can apply as a single person, couple or family. A group of people can also join to make a group application.

Where can I live?

Public housing properties are grouped into waiting list areas. You cannot choose a specific suburb to live in but you can choose up to three waiting list areas.

These areas are made up of neighbouring suburbs and towns that are linked by public transport. We could offer you a property in any suburb from these areas.

See the list of public housing waiting list areas and suburbs (.doc) to help you choose.

You can change your preferred areas while your application is on the waiting list.

If you have a medical condition and a specific hospital or doctor must treat you, you can ask for housing in an area that lets you easily travel to them.

You may also need to live in a particular type of housing. For example, if you use a wheelchair, you can ask for a property without steps.

How long will I have to wait?

Depending on your circumstances, you may be offered a home before other people on the public housing waiting list.

In September 2014 there were 34,618 applicants on the public housing waiting list. This number is made up of:

  • 24,628 general applicants
  • 9,900 early housing applicants

For more information, see Public housing waiting list. To see a list of how many people are waiting in each area, see the public housing waiting and transfer list on our departmental website.

How much rent will I pay?

Everyone living in public housing pays rent. Your rent will not be more than 25 per cent of your total household income. Income includes wages and payments from Centrelink and the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

For more information, see About income and assets limits.

How do I apply for public housing?

Go to Apply for public housing for the application forms and more information.

You will need to:

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