The Office of Registrar - Not for Profit Housing Providers was established to administer the ACT Regulatory Framework which commenced in 2009. The Registrar was responsible, on behalf of the Commissioner for Social Housing (the Commissioner), for assessing the eligibility of organisations for registration as affordable or community housing providers in the ACT. The Registrar is now responsible for administering the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH) with the Registrars in all other participating jurisdictions.
A central goal of regulating the community housing sector in the ACT is to protect vulnerable tenants and to enable the sector to grow sustainably. There is substantial government investment in the sector which needs protection. Because private investment is an important factor in the sector’s growth, it is important that investors can be assured that community housing providers are viable and that potential investors are assured that risk mitigation measures are in place.
Engagement between the regulator and providers, along with other stakeholders, is a key element of the regulatory approach under both the old ACT system and the new National Regulatory System for Community Housing. Please feel free to make contact with any questions relating to the National Regulatory System or registered agencies.
The Office of Registrar can be contacted at Quality@act.gov.au or on (02) 6207 5474.
The National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH)
In May 2013, the ACT Legislative Assembly passed the Community Housing Providers National Law (ACT) Act One of its main objects is to apply as a territory law, a national law for registration and regulation of community housing providers under a national system of registration.
The previous ACT Regulatory System, which provided a framework for registration and monitoring of the ACT housing providers’ registration and on-going compliance with the eligibility criteria, has been replaced by the new National Law, otherwise known as the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH) with an 18-month transition period that commenced on 1 January 2014.
The NRSCH is a regulatory system designed to contribute to a well governed and managed community housing sector, and to provide a platform for the ongoing development and viability of the community housing sector across Australia.
The key objectives of the NRSCH are to:
- provide a consistent regulatory environment to support the growth and development of the community housing sector;
- pave the way for future housing product development;
- reduce the regulatory burden on housing providers working across jurisdictions; and
- provide a level playing field for providers seeking to enter new jurisdictions.
How will we regulate?
The NRSCH was established to ensure that community housing providers meet eligibility and tier criteria, demonstrate capacity to comply with performance outcomes and operate within acceptable levels of risk. The Registrar or their Delegate will use “light-touch” regulatory oversight, assessing a provider’s eligibility and monitoring their ongoing compliance. The NRSCH Charter and Regulatory Framework contain more information.
The NRSCH has three Tiers of registration which relate to the level of risk to which providers’ activities may expose them. The Registrar will take a risk based approach to regulation, targeting areas of greatest risk. The assessment and monitoring of a provider’s compliance will be proportionate to the level of risk involved to the organisation, tenants and to the ACT Government.
The National Regulatory Code sets out the performance outcome requirements with which registered housing providers and those seeking to be registered as providers must comply. Community housing providers must demonstrate capacity to comply with the Code on application and once registered, must demonstrate ongoing compliance with the Code. The performance outcomes are:
Performance Outcome 1 - Tenant and Housing Services
Performance Outcome 2 - Housing Assets
Performance Outcome 3 - Community Engagement
Performance Outcome 4 - Governance
Performance Outcome 5 - Probity
Performance Outcome 6 - Management
Performance Outcome 7 - Financial Viability
The Evidence Guidelines will assist providers to understand the performance indicators and thresholds for each performance outcome, as well as assisting to identify evidence sources that may be used to demonstrate compliance.
The application process
The application for NRSCH registration is completed online through the web-based application form in the IT system, CHRIS (Community Housing Regulatory Information System). The application is done in two stages:
1. Eligibility and Tier Form application - the purpose of this stage is to initially determine the organisation’s eligibility to apply for registration and to assess the appropriate Tier classification. Providers should refer to the Provider Registration User Guide for details and instructions on how to submit the eligibility and tier form application. Key documents to be submitted are:
1.1 Provider’s Constitution - note that as provided in Section 15.2(c ) of the National Law, the provider must have provision in its constitution for all its remaining community housing assets in a participating jurisdiction on its winding up to be transferred to another registered community housing provider or to a Housing Agency in the jurisdiction in which the asset is located.
1.2 Community Housing Asset Performance Report - the report aims to identify the scale and scope of the provider’s housing and tenancy operations and, if applicable, to identify future development plans for expansion and growth.
2. Application Form for Registration - this is the actual application stage where all required supporting evidence has to be submitted The Evidence Guidelines suggest forms of evidence for each performance outcome area. Providers should also refer to the Registration Return Guide for information and guidance. Key documents to be submitted apart from those mentioned in the Evidence Guidelines are:
2.2 Financial Performance Report (FPR) - Performance Outcome 7: Financial Viability Guidance Note A Financial Performance Report is a mandatory requirement for all providers seeking registration. There is Financial Performance Report Template for Tiers 1 and 2 and a separate template for Tier 3 The excel spreadsheet needs to be completed by providers and submitted to the Registrar through CHRIS on or before the application due date. The Registrar will use the spreadsheet to assess the financial solvency, capital structure and viability of affordable and community housing providers
2.3 Annual Audited Financial Report (in the last 2-3 years)
Please note that application for registration is subject to specific timeframes and it is consistently applied by all participating jurisdictions across Australia. It is important for providers to have all documents and evidence of compliance ready before applying for registration.
Further Information can be found on the National Regulatory System for Community Housing website