The Community Housing Industry Association of Victoria (CHIA Vic) supports calls to improve complaint handling processes so that they are fair, effective, and renter focused.
This follows the release today of a detailed report by the Victorian Ombudsman into complaints handling in Social Housing.
CHIA Vic is pleased to note that while community housing makes up 25 per cent of Victoria’s social housing stock, only 4 per cent of all renter complaints to the Ombudsman involved the sector providers.
The ratio of property managers to renters is generally much higher in the Community Housing sector than in the public or private sectors, meaning organisations have a greater capacity to respond to complaints more effectively and provide more responsive tenancy management services.
The Ombudsman made several recommendations that overlap with matters considered by the independent Social Housing Regulation Review.
The interim findings of the regulatory review covered a broad range of areas, and it is expected the review will recommend a suite of changes aimed at improving the social housing system, including complaints handling processes and tenancy advocacy services.
CHIA Vic calls on the Victorian Government to release the final report of the Social Housing Regulatory Review to ensure that all options for regulation, complaints, and advocacy are carefully considered before responding to the Ombudsman’s recommendations.
Quotes attributable to CHIA CEO Sarah Toohey:
“Not-for-profit community housing organisations are mission-driven to deliver affordable rental housing to low-income Victorians. Complaints provide valuable feedback to organisations on how to improve their services.”
“The Victorian Government commissioned an independent review of the regulatory system for social housing because the current system isn’t fit for purpose or future growth. Among other things the regulatory review covered complaint handling and tenant advocacy.”
“The Ombudsman’s report has raised many of the same issues as the regulatory review, but it has not canvassed a full range of solutions, such as improving mediation and alternative dispute resolution services at VCAT (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal) while also retaining a clear legal pathway that protects tenants’ rights.
“It’s important that we look at the social housing system as a whole and consider a range of options to ensure the system, not just complaints handling, improves the lives of low-income renters.”
For interviews or more information:
Sue Masters, CHIA Vic Communications Manager
0448 505 517