What is Affordable Housing?

Affordable housing is housing that is made available for very low to moderate income households and typically priced 20 percent below market rents so that eligible households are also able to meet other basic living costs.

In this context, affordable housing refers to housing that has been developed with some assistance from the NSW and/or Commonwealth Governments, including through planning incentives. It may include a range of housing types and sizes, including single or multi-bedroom units or houses, as well as studio apartments. It is only available in some locations and eligibility criteria apply.

We have included some information about Affordable Housing on this page. You can also find information on the NSW Government's Affordable Housing web page

Link Housing follows the NSW Affordable Housing Ministerial Guidelines that you can download here

What is the difference to Social Housing?

Affordable housing is not the same as Social Housing. While affordable housing has many goals that are similar to social housing, there are also some key differences, including:

  • Affordable housing is open to a broader range of household incomes than social housing, so households can earn higher levels of income and still be eligible;
  • Applications for affordable housing properties are made to and assessed by, the property manager. Applications for affordable housing cannot be made through Housing Pathways.

Who owns Affordable Housing?

Affordable rental housing may be owned by private developers or investors, local councils, charitable organisations or community housing providers.

Who manages Affordable Housing?

Affordable housing is usually managed by not for profit community housing providers and sometimes by private organisations. Managing affordable housing in NSW involves the standard property and tenancy management requirements of managing any rental housing. However, it also involves additional responsibilities such as setting rent, letting properties to eligible households and meeting the compliance requirements of the relevant affordable housing program.

In general, managing affordable housing involves:

  • Establishing and implementing rental policies.
  • Determining household eligibility for affordable housing properties.
  • Finding eligible tenants, managing applications, rental assessments, and allocation of properties.
  • Managing eligible tenancies; including collecting rent and maintaining properties.
  • Reviewing annual and ongoing eligibility to ensure compliance with affordable housing schemes.

All tenancy managers of affordable housing in NSW must comply with the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

Who is eligible to rent Affordable Housing?

Many different people need affordable housing for many different reasons. This may include people who work full or part-time in lower paid jobs, where their household income is not high enough to pay market rent in the area in which they live and/or work. To be assessed as eligible for affordable housing, applicants must meet the following criteria:

Affordable housing applicants must:

  • Establish their identity
  • Be a resident in New South Wales (NSW)
  • Be a citizen or have permanent residency in Australia
  • Be able to sustain a successful tenancy, without support or with appropriate support in place
  • If applicable, make repayments of any former debts to a social housing provider
  • In general, be 18 years of age or older. 

How are rents set?

Affordable housing rents vary and are set either as a discount to the market rent or as a percentage of a household’s income.

Where rent is set as a discount of the market rent, the discount is usually between 20 and 25 percent compared to the market rent for a similar property in the area.

Where rent is set as a proportion of a household’s income, Link Housing follows the NSW Ministerial Affordable Housing Guidelines and charges no more than 25 to 30 percent of gross household income for rent. Greater flexibility in pricing may be applied to moderate income households but, in all cases, the relevant circumstances of the applicant/household and their capacity to pay are guiding principles.

Where a property has NRAS funding, the discount to market rent is at least 20%, regardless of the method used to set rent.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Initial eligibility for affordable housing mostly depends on household income, which must be within the limits set by the NSW and/or Commonwealth Governments. The more people (including children) living in a household, the higher the household income is allowed to be. 

You may be eligible for affordable housing if you have part or full-time employment with annual earnings corresponding with the household income limits tables as set annually by the NSW Affordable Housing Guidelines.

You can also find the Income Limit tables on our website:

See Affordable Housing under the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) and Affordable Housing under National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).   

Other factors may also be considered when assessing eligibility, including:

  • Residency Status - Australian citizenship or permanent residency.
  • Private Rental Market - Whether the household would be able to secure suitable or adequate housing in the private rental market
  • Owning Assets - Whether the household owns any assets (e.g. property) which they could be reasonably expected to use to solve their housing need.
  • Key Worker Eligibility - Some properties (usually owned by a local Council) are only made available for key workers who are permanently employed within the local government area. Key workers may include people working in the following sectors: Health Services, Childcare, Education, Emergency Services, Public Transport, etc.

If I am successful and become a Link Housing tenant, what is the process for repairs and general property management? 

Link Housing operates just like any other property manager. We are a licensed real estate agency and have a team of Property Managers who have experience in both commercial and residential real estate sales and management.

To report a repair, tenants can call our office on 9412 5111 during Link Housing’s business hours or contact their Property Manager directly.

You can also log a repair by emailing affordablerepairs@linkhousing.org.au
Please include the following when emailing us:

  • The property address in the subject line of the email
  • Your full name
  • Best contact phone number.

Please attach photos if they will help our Property Managers identify the repair needed. Link Housing office is open 9:00 - 5:00pm Monday - Friday.