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Volunteer Member-Tenant Managed Organisations

A Volunteer Member-Tenant Managed Organisation (sometimes known as housing co-operatives) is a group of people with a common interest who work together to maintain and manage housing for its members.  Members perform landlord roles (e.g. tenancy, rent, maintenance) and business roles (e.g. administration, bookkeeping).  Membership requires significant ongoing commitment, including attending monthly and other meetings and actively participating in the management of the Organisation.  Each Organisation manages its own member and tenant selection processes.

If you are considering housing with a VMTM Organisation, ask yourself the following questions.  Can you:

  • Attend regular (at least monthly) meetings and contribute to the management of the Organisation by making decisions about properties and activities of the Organisation?
  • Volunteer and dedicate at least several hours a week working for the Organisation, in areas such as administration, financial management and housing maintenance?
  • Take an official role within the Organisation i.e. Chairperson, Secretary, or be prepared to learn how to do this?
  • Attend regular training to improve your skills?
  • Respect, listen to and value the opinions of your fellow VMTM Organisation members?

If you answered ‘Yes’, to all these questions, Volunteer Member-Tenant Managed Organisation housing may be a suitable housing option for you.

Visit the sa.gov.au website for more information or to register.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

VMTM Organisations are set up specifically to house people on low to moderate incomes, or to cater for groups with specific needs – e.g. the aged, youth, single parents, low income, women, artists, the environmentally aware etc.

The simple answer is – all sorts.  VMTM Organisations manage groups of units, or single houses.  They may even renovate a large building, or redevelop a housing block to provide housing.  

Since 1995, this has been limited by the use of Housing SA (formerly known as the South Australian Housing Trust or SAHT), housing stock and land, as well as State Government priorities for certain groups.

The important thing is that the type of housing offered will depend on the tenants’ needs and also the household makeup.  As a Registrant for VMTM Organisation housing the number of people in the household (those people permanently residing in the property) will be used as a guide to the housing offered.  Housing matches are made using the Canadian Occupancy Standards.

Volunteer Member-Tenant Managed Organisations are operated by tenant/members who have a common need for secure, appropriate, affordable housing and a commitment to co-operate.

Membership requires time, energy and hard work.  Members will run meetings, maintain and manage their house, write constitutions and by-laws, organise finances, undertake regulatory reporting to Housing SA, Renewal SA and other bodies.

The manner in which rents are set for community housing properties is defined by Housing SA, Renewal SA.  Under the Community Housing Rent Policy and Procedures it states the following:

Households occupying community housing properties will be charged the lower of either:

  • The maximum property rent; or
  • An income based rent.

Income based rent is based on the TOTAL gross household income.  That is, all the income that is earned from individuals in one property, prior to tax.

Maximum Rent is the name for the maximum amount of rent paid for a property (this is calculated by Renewal SA).

Households with very low incomes (i.e. less than the basic rate of Newstart) will pay approximately 21% of their income in rent.

For further information please follow this link: Community Housing Rents and other charges.

Once approved by Renewal SA, VMTM Organisations receive housing allocations i.e. ex-Housing SA stock.

Ongoing money for the running of the VMTM Organisation is derived from the rental income from the properties that are managed.

VMTM Organisations provide secure and affordable housing.  VMTM Organisations also provide some support for their members in a number of ways, e.g. social cohesion, a sense of connectedness and support for the aged or disabled.  The major advantage is that you become your own landlord so you can make the important decisions about how you are housed.  You also learn and develop new skills.

Living in a VMTM Organisation can be a lot of work!  Members need to work together to secure, maintain and manage their houses.  This means you, as a member will need to participate in meetings, be involved in working bees and share in making your organisation successful.

VMTM Organisations are not-for-profit organisations.  Individuals do not own houses, rather they are owned by the organisation.  If you leave, you have no financial claim on the property you were housed in.  The property will be made available to a registrant from the Community Housing Customer Register.  If you then decide that you wish to rejoin the organisation or re-enter Volunteer Member-Tenant Managed housing you will need to register an interest as detailed below.

What are my rights and responsibilities as a tenant of a Volunteer Member-Tenant Managed Organisation?

As a tenant of a Volunteer Member-Tenant Managed Organisation (VMTMO) you have both rights and responsibilities.  Everyone is entitled to live quietly and respectfully in their home regardless of where they live and whether they rent or own a property.

Equally tenants have certain responsibilities that are conditions of their tenancy, documented in a lease agreement, which include:

  • paying rent to their VMTMO
  • keeping the property clean and free from damage
  • letting other neighbours and residents live in peace, comfort and privacy
  • any other conditions set by the VMTMO.

If you have problems meeting the conditions of your lease agreement you should contact your VMTMO as soon as possible.

How do Volunteer Member-Tenant Managed Organisations deal with complaints?

All Volunteer Member-Tenant Managed Organisations (VMTMO) have their own complaints process and you should contact your VMTMO in the first instance.  If an informal discussion doesn’t resolve the issue, you can make a formal complaint to your VMTMO.

What if I am unhappy with a decision made by my Volunteer Member-Tenant Managed Organisation?

As a tenant you have the right to appeal a decision made by your Volunteer Member-Tenant Managed Organisation (VMTMO) that directly affects you.  Your VMTMO will provide information to you about your appeal rights. It is worth noting that not every decision of a VMTMO can be appealed.

Before lodging an appeal, it is recommended that you contact an organisation that can assist in resolving disputes such as the Tenant Information and Advocacy Service (TIAS).  TIAS is a service that assists tenants – you can contact them to seek their advice and support if you are not happy with a decision your VMTMO has made.  Following this, you can also contact the Welfare Rights Centre/Housing Legal Clinic who can provide further advice to tenants on how to pursue a matter and what rights may apply.

There are two levels of appeal:

  1. An internal appeal of the decision by the VMTMO
  2. An external appeal to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT).

If you are appealing a decision made by your VMTMO, you must lodge your appeal within the required timeframe set by your VMTMO.  If you are unhappy with the outcome of that appeal, you can lodge a further appeal with the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) within 30 days of receiving notification of the decision.

You can find out more about tenant complaints and appeals in community housing from this CHCSA factsheet and the South Australian Housing Authority website

Volunteer Member-Tenant Managed Organisations Listings

A list of Volunteer Member-Tenant Managed Organisations can be obtained via the following link to the South Australian Government website.

Click on the “View the List of Organisations” button below.  You can either read this list online or printout a PDF for future reference.

Please refer back to this listing on a regular basis as this list is updated regularly.

Register your Interest

To register your interest in Volunteer Member-Tenant Managed housing, you can visit the SA Government website direct or contact us for more information on 08 8362 1022.  Alternatively, you can download a VMTM Housing Registration Pack direct from the link below.

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