Tenants want to down size, but told they don’t qualify


Dissatisfaction with the transfer system is one of the most common reasons for tenants to contact the VPTA.  Tenants tell us of growing families living in cramped conditions while they wait for years to be allocated more appropriate accommodation.

We know that tenants have usually raised their concerns with the Office of Housing many times, and even complained to the Minister for Housing.

As we wrote in April, we have been doing a lot of policy work on transfers and mutual swaps, and we understand transfer cases will be a priority category in the new Victorian Housing Register which is due to be launched later this year.

However, we know that more work needs to be done. One thing that has surprised us is that we have received calls from tenants who have tried, unsuccessfully, to transfer to a smaller property.

We have spoken to older residents who now live alone after having raised a family.  They have applied to move from 3 bedroom houses into smaller units with less rooms and more manageable gardens.

However, they have been told that they don’t qualify for transfer, so their applications have been rejected. So the older people are stuck in places too large for them, and the families who desperately want a house have to wait.

Under the current guidelines transfers can be approved to facilitate better utilisation of public housing properties, but application of this provision does not seem to be uniform. We think that when the Office of Housing considers transfer applications, they should look at the circumstances of the tenant, as well as the circumstances of the property.

If a tenant wants to move from a highly desirable property to a property that is in less demand, the system should be able to recognise that and fast-track the application.

By making this strategic change, we will free up the system and allow more of those 7,587 public housing families on the transfer waiting list to receive a home that better meets their needs.

If you have experienced any of the issues raised in this article feel free to contact us by emailing enquiries@vpta.org.au or phoning on 1800 015 510.