Housing co-operatives and housing associations

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Housing co-operatives and housing associations are community managed organisations that provide rental housing for individuals and families on low incomes or with special housing needs. Housing co-operatives are incorporated under the SA Co-operative and Community Housing Act 1991 and housing associations are incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1985. The tenants of associations and co-operatives do not own the houses they live in, but rent them from the group. In some cases association and co-operative tenants may also be members of the group from which they are renting. A co-op member is expected to attend meetings of the co-operative and take on various administrative responsibilities involved in running the group. Different rules apply for member-tenants and non-member-tenants. Some specific requirements that apply to member-tenants of housing associations and co-operatives are:

  • a need to comply with certain tenancy by-laws (e.g.: visitors, absences, rent changes) referred to in the tenancy agreement;
  • the tenancy agreement must be in writing.

Member-tenants and non member-tenants of housing co-operatives and housing associations are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1995, but there are some sections of the Residential Tenancies Act where variations exist or which co-operatives and associations are not required to comply with, such as:

  • period of notice for rent increase for income determined rents;
  • the basis for calculating rent payable can be changed;
  • associations and co-operative's are not responsible for maintenance & repair of certain items (e.g. air-conditioners, light fittings, room heaters, floor coverings);
  • consent for assignment or subletting of property can be withheld;
  • requirements for termination of tenancy in a co-operative differ.

It is possible to obtain further exemptions from provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act by making an application to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal.

If you wish to make such an application, contact a Tenancy Officer on 8204 9544. If you would like more information about joining a housing co-operative or housing association, the following organisations can provide further assistance:

Community Partnerships & Growth Level 2, 153-159 Flinders Street, Adelaide
Telephone 1300 700 561www.communityhousing.sa.gov.au Community Housing Council of SA Inc 283 - 285 Payneham Road, Royston Park Telephone (08) 8362 1022 www.chcsa.org.au