Application process

Preparation

Providers are encouraged to prepare for the registration process.

Registrars may organise briefings and / or workshops to guide providers through the registration process when there is an appropriate demand.

Nominate a Main Contact

Providers will be asked to nominate a contact person.  The Nominated Main Contact is the individual within the provider’s organisation with responsibility for overseeing the registration and/ or compliance process.

Community Housing Regulatory Information System (CHRIS)

Providers applying for registration as a community housing provider complete the registration process online using the Community Housing Regulatory Information System (CHRIS). The provider will have an Account on CHRIS which will contain basic business information including the contact details for their Nominated Main Contact.

Download CHRIS user guide for system guidance (PDF, 2.6 MB)

Multi-jurisdictional providers

Providers operating in more than one jurisdiction need only make one application to their primary Registrar. However, multi-jurisdictional providers will be required to demonstrate that they comply or have the capacity to comply with policy which is relevant to all housing agency jurisdictions in which they operate.

Introduction to an Analyst

Registrars are individually responsible for deciding who carries out registration assessments in their offices. The term ‘Analyst’ is used to refer to an individual responsible for carrying out a provider’s registration assessment. The Analyst will be the provider’s main point of contact in relation to questions about the registration process. Typically an Analyst will introduce themselves to the Nominated Main Contact at least one week before the registration process starts.

Eligibility and Tier Form (ETF)

Registrars use the ETF to confirm whether an organisation is eligible to apply for registration as a community housing provider and to make a determination of the provider’s provisional tier.

Housing providers have 14 days from the start date to complete and submit the ETF. The due date is specified in an email and at the top of the form.

When an ETF is submitted, the Nominated Main Contact will receive an email to confirm it has been received. This is an automated response.

The ETF is normally assessed within 7 - 14 days. The ETF assessment determines the provider’s eligibility to be registered and its category of registration, more commonly referred to as tier. 

Record Entity details

The ETF requires providers to enter standard business information such as name, address, entity type, and ABN / ACN numbers. Other details to be entered include

  • main client groups – a person or group of persons who receive services from your organisation
  • primary product/ services – the product or service that generates the most income/ funding for your organisation
  • other income sources – Other products or services that generate an income that have not been identified in primary product/ service
  • regulatory/ reporting bodies – other agencies  that may also have a regulatory/ reporting relationship with the organisation
  • details of affiliated entities
  • details of partnerships.

This information is held on the account page in CHRIS.

Record Affiliated entity arrangements (if applicable)

Where relevant, providers must  provide details of any affiliated entities and attach relevant documents as described in the Affiliated Entity Arrangement Guidance.

  • group structures
  • relationships with persons in a position to influence the provider (e.g. where the provider is a public company all persons who are defined as 'affiliated entities' under section 228 of the Corporations Act)
  • arrangements where the provider has outsourced one or more of its functions relevant to its performance of its obligations under the National law.
Record Partnerships

Providers may also be involved in partnership type arrangements. Providers are asked to record details of four types of partnership:

  • outsourced service partnerships
  • formal support partnerships
  • development : Engagements, Contracts and Agreements
  • community engagement partnerships.

In some cases these partners will also be affiliated entities.

Record key contacts

Providers are also asked to create or confirm key contact people in their organisation. You are asked to enter the following contacts:

  • Chair or equivalent e.g. a President
  • Public Officer or equivalent e.g. a company secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Chief Executive or equivalent e.g. a General Manager
  • External auditor.
Attach the Constitution

Providers should attach their constitution or equivalent. This will be used by the Analyst to ensure that the provider has the relevant provision in its constitution or equivalent to meet the requirements to have a wind up clause (section 15 (2c) of the National Law). Providers will be ineligible for registration unless they have such a provision.

Some providers may be in the process of making changes to their constitution or taking other action to satisfy this condition of registration. The provider should clearly indicate on the ETF what action is being taken and when it will be completed. This may influence the assessment timetable.

Need more information on completing the ETF, download the CHRIS user guide.

Record community housing assets

At the ETF stage providers seeking registration are required to provide:

  • an aggregated number of community housing assets currently owned and managed; and
  • a projection of any community asset growth anticipated in the next 2 years.

Some providers seeking registration have a zero base with a plan to operate at a certain scale. Anticipated or projected community housing assets will be recorded at the ETF stage and used to determine the tier of registration.

At the Application for Registration (AFR) stage providers will be required to record and maintain a list of their properties in the Community Housing Regulatory Information System (CHRIS).

Need more information visit the Recording and maintaining property data page.

Tenancy and property management activities

The scale of community housing tenancy management activities is typically classified as:

  • small-scale or lower risk if the provider has responsibility for managing fewer than 100 tenancies
  • moderate-scale or moderate risk if the provider has responsibility for managing between 50 and 500 tenancies
  • large-scale or higher risk if the provider has responsibility for managing more than 350 tenancies.

The definitions are deliberately presented as a range to highlight that provider ‘scale’ is always considered relative to other attributes such as:

  • whether (and if so the proportion of ) properties are owned or managed under contract, lease or other agreement
  • the extent of asset management responsibilities for example whether providers retain responsibility for structural maintenance, and
  • development activities.

In addition it is recognised that providers seeking registration may initially have a zero base but a specific plan to operate at a certain scale.

Attach evidence

When completing the ETF the provider may wish, or in some instances, be required to attach evidence in support.

The supporting evidence should be attached to the ETF and submitted via CHRIS.

Download the CHRIS user guide for more information on attaching evidence.

Submit the ETF

Follow the steps below to submit a completed ETF:

1.      Ensure the form is saved

2.      Tick the 'Ready to submit ETF' checkbox towards the bottom of page two of the ETF and click 'Finish'.

3.      At this point the system will check that the form has been correctly completed. Error messages will be displayed if the form is not ready to be submitted. Once everything has been correctly completed the form can be saved.

4.      Click the 'Submit for Approval' button (only visible when everything has been saved).

Once the ETF form is successfully submitted a confirmation email will be received by the Nominated Main Contact. If an email confirming the ETF has not been received the housing provider should seek confirmation from the Analyst.

Access to information submitted to the Registrar

Once the ETF or the application has been submitted to the Registrar updates or amendments cannot be made. This includes adding or removing supporting evidence. This is to ensure the Analyst is confident the information they are assessing is up to date and not subject to changes of which they were unaware.

If a provider needs to amend the return they can contact the Analyst to facilitate this.

ETF assessment completed

The Nominated Main Contact will receive an email once the ETF assessment has been completed. This will either invite them to complete the application for registration in the provisional tier or provide advice a decision to refuse the provider’s application has been made.

Providers who are not assessed as eligible at this stage and have not given sufficient evidence of their intention to comply with the eligibility requirements will be contacted prior to a formal decision being made and provided in writing of the reasons for the determination.

Housing providers are given an opportunity (typically 14 days) to respond before a final decision is made.

Application for Registration (AFR) Return

Providers who are assessed as eligible to apply are invited to complete the Application for Registration Return (the Return). During this stage providers will submit supporting evidence and complete the financial performance report (FPR).

As with the ETF, the application for registration is completed on CHRIS. Supporting documents are also submitted via the system.

The Return is structured by performance outcome.  The National Regulatory Code sets out the performance requirements that registered housing providers must comply with in providing community housing under the National Law. Under each performance outcome providers are asked to enter information and attach evidence to enable the assessment of all performance requirements applicable to that outcome.

For more information see:

  • Completing the Return (PDF , 460.7 KB) - this document provides detailed instructions on the completion of the application for registration or compliance return. It is designed to help housing providers understand what information should be recorded and how the system validates and analyses the data.
  • The Evidence Guidance (PDF , 439.2 KB) – the Evidence Guidelines provides examples of business and performance information that a provider’s governing body would usually require in order to be satisfied that its housing service is well governed, financially viable and well managed, or
  • Visit the Recording and maintaining property data page for guidance on recording properties and generating the community housing asset performance report(CHAPR). The CHAPR is updated at registration and each compliance assessment.

Assessment

The assessment will focus on the provider’s capacity to comply with each of the regulatory code outcomes and requirements. The scope of the assessment is determined by a provider’s category of registration or tier. The depth of assessment will be determined by a provider’s performance against the National Regulatory Code performance outcomes and requirements. 

Review and assessment of information and evidence

The registration assessment involves:

  • reviewing information and evidence available;
  • assessing the information and evidence provided against appropriate jurisdictional policies or guidelines;
  • identifying where the evidence indicates that the provider is compliant, has capacity to comply or does not comply;
  • following up on the lines of enquiry which have been identified, with the provider;
  • seeking advice from the relevant state and territory housing authority or other government agencies where appropriate;
  • applying the principles of good decision-making and recording this analysis.

Further regulatory activity is targeted only at those performance outcomes or requirements where more assurance about capacity to comply or compliance is required. Nevertheless the greatest regulatory focus and scrutiny will be on governance and financial viability outcomes, because failure in those areas has the most significant consequences.

Requests for further information

During the assessment of the return the provider may be asked for further information where the evidence on closer examination is insufficient to determine the provider’s capacity to comply. These requests will be the minimum required to enable the assessment to be completed. They also give the provider an opportunity to respond and / or address where capacity to comply has not been demonstrated.

Site visits

Information may also be collected through a site visit if this is considered to be the most efficient way to collect the information. If further documentary evidence is submitted by the provider this will be attached to the original application return as supplementary evidence under the relevant performance outcome. 

Analyse performance data

The return and FPR ask for a number of key operational, financial and contextual data points to assist Registrars in the efficient assessment of some performance requirements. The data is used to calculate key performance metrics. In order to ensure regulatory activity is targeted at performance outcomes and requirements where more assurance is required targets have been included for most of these metrics.

Data submitted is used to calculate key performance metrics that are used as a starting point against which performance results can be assessed.

More information about the metrics and target values is available on the Performance Standards and evidence page.

Issue draft determination

Once the Analyst has completed the assessment their determination will be sent in draft to the housing provider. The draft determination will advise the housing provider whether it has demonstrated a capacity to comply or has not demonstrated a capacity to comply with each performance outcome and performance requirement of the National Regulatory Code.

The letter will also give a draft overall determination. Where the housing provider demonstrates a capacity to comply, the draft determination may also include observations or recommendations where the Analyst considers that improvements in performance or further action is necessary for ongoing compliance with the Code. Where recommendations are made, the letter will briefly set out an explanation.

The housing provider will be offered 14 days to respond to the draft before the process is completed and the housing provider is either registered or refused registration as a community housing provider under the National Law. At this point the provider can provide additional evidence to demonstrate it has the capacity to comply.

Where the draft determination is that the housing provider has not demonstrated the capacity to comply reasons will be given.

Determination

Housing providers with a capacity to comply are registered and their progress is assessed at their first scheduled compliance assessment.

If registration is approved the report will include the category of registration including whether the provider has been registered under a particular part of the National Register and any conditions to which the registration is subject.

All registered community housing provider are entered on a public National Register of Community Housing Providers.

Review of decision (if applicable)

If the registration is not approved the reasons will be set out in the determination letter.

Providers can request an internal review of the registration determination or may appeal the decision.

Need more information visit the Internal Review and External Appeals page.

Last updated:

26 Oct 2022

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