What happens when a property becomes available

Public housing is allocated according to the wait list.

When you are nearing the top of the wait list, you will be asked to participate in a pre-tenancy interview.

Pre-tenancy interview

You need to attend this interview before a formal offer can be made.

This interview makes sure your details are up to date.

Additional checks will be done to find out if:

  • your application information is still correct
  • your entitlement needs to be re-assessed.

You need to provide two tenancy references to show the following:

  • you have a good history of paying rent
  • you can maintain your property
  • you have had no issues with anti social behaviour.


You can use the following as references:

  • real estate agent
  • private landlords
  • other state housing authorities
  • supported accommodation services
  • hostels
  • community housing organisations.

Your application may be put on hold If you are unable to provide references or if your references are unsuitable.

How a reference is given

If you get a tenancy reference from an organisation or company, such as a real estate agent, the company will need to write a letter to the Department of Housing.

The letter must be written on the company’s letterhead and must include the following information about your past tenancy:

  • the address of the property
  • the time the property was rented
  • the rent amount and rent payment frequency
  • if you were a signatory of the lease
  • if a Notice to Remedy was issued and why
  • if any damage was done to the property and if so, what damage
  • if there were any complaints from neighbours and if so, what complaints
  • if the bond was refunded in full and if not, why.

If you are getting a tenancy reference from a person (not a company), the person will need to complete the Housing Tenancy Reference form (300.8 kb).

If you don't have references

If you can't supply a satisfactory tenancy reference you can provide other documents that show the Department of Housing you have the skills to sustain a tenancy.

These documents could include evidence of attending life skills or community support programs.

If you are unable to supply other relevant documents the Department of Housing may be able to recommend options to help you.

When you get the formal offer

When a suitable property becomes available and you have met conditions at the pre-tenancy interview, you will be contacted with a formal offer of a public housing property.

To accept or refuse the offer, you will need to contact the allocations officer at your local public housing office within 24 hours of receiving the offer.

Defer your application

You can request to defer your application for up to six months, if you have reasonable grounds for doing so.

This may include:

  • holidays
  • possible job transfer
  • fixed-term lease on current private rental property
  • approved caretaker tenancies
  • medical requirements.

You may be asked to provide suitable letters or documents to support your request for a deferral.

If you refuse the offer

If you refuse the offer your application will be cancelled and you will be taken off the public housing waiting list.

Public housing tenancy agreement

The tenancy agreement is a legal document that gives details of your rights and responsibilities as a tenant along with those of the Department of Housing who is your landlord.

It is important you read and understand the tenancy agreement and keep a copy for your records.

If you have any difficulties understanding the agreement, you can contact your local housing office.

You cannot move in until you have signed the agreement and the rent and bond money has been paid.

You must start your tenancy within seven business days from the date of accepting the offer of public housing.

If you or people living with you breach your tenancy agreement you could have your tenancy agreement terminated and be made to leave the property.

Tenancy support

A range of support programs are available to help you maintain a successful tenancy. This is called the Tenancy Support Program.


If you have any questions you can contact the Department of Housing through their website.

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Last updated: 22 June 2018