Approaches to development

See the different ways community housing organisations partner to build new community housing

This page describes the different partnership models used by community housing organisations to build new community housing and contains key information on the roles of developers, local governments and community housing organisations.

Community Housing
Property Developers
Local Government

Learn about Affordable Housing Agreements

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Community housing-led developments

Some community housing organisations, particularly the larger ones, will act as the developer and run a project from start to finish. In these cases the community housing organisation will hire professionals to provide expert advice and will appoint a builder to deliver the construction works required.

In many cases these projects will be wholly composed of social housing, but they may also include specialised housing for people with disabilities, shared equity units for purchase by low-income households or even a mixture of social and private market rental housing.

Community housing-led developments can be as small as a single lot being redeveloped into 2 or 3 townhouses or as large as a mid- to high rise apartment building.

Developer-led affordable housing

Private sector developers are experts at sourcing land, financing projects and building new properties. In this capacity they are an ideal source of new housing for a community housing organisation which does not wish to develop on their own.

There are several ways in which developer-led projects can lead to community housing.

Affordable Housing Agreements

Voluntary s173 Affordable Housing Agreements between councils and private developers can create units of affordable housing which are gifted, or sold to community housing organisations at a discount. In some cases community housing organisations will be involved in the project at the planning stage but in others they may choose to take on units that are already designed or are even complete.

Contracts of sale

Community housing organisations can choose to purchase completed units off the plan or upon completion of a private sector project. This does not need to be part of an Affordable Housing Agreement process with council, and can be an excellent way for smaller community housing organisations to acquire one or two units at a time.

Private developers interested in offering units to community housing organisations should keep in mind the business model of the sector which means that the property will likely have to be sold at a significant discount to the retail price.

Affordable Housing Agreements

Learn more about Affordable Housing Agreements

Check out CHIA Vic’s resources on s173 Affordable Housing Agreements, and what councils and developers need to know about working with community housing organisations in this context.

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Council-led affordable housing 

Local councils are experts on their community and the land available for development or redevelopment. Not only do councils have responsibility for approving development projects through the planning process, they can actively contribute to growing the supply of social housing in their area in a range of ways.

Council land

Councils which have land they wish to use for affordable housing can either choose to sell it, in which case they will need to go through the process for disposal of council land, or to lease the land to a community housing organisation. An example of councils using leased land is Banyule’s Bellfield Social Housing Project.

Councils who choose to sell or lease land are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the reporting that community housing organisations make to the Housing Registrar, and to design contracts that complement and leverage from, rather than replicate, these obligations.

Council-driven affordable housing agreements

Councils are in a unique position to commence affordable housing discussions with private developers as part of the planning process. Where developers are interested in including affordable housing in their project Councils can refer developers to local community housing organisations or to CHIA Vic to identify a community housing partner who can manage these units.