Rental Housing Co-operatives are governed by two main pieces of legislation:
- Housing Act 1983 (Vic); esp. Part VIII to the Housing Act 1983 – Housing Registrar.
- Co-operatives National Law Application Act 2013 (Vic).
Housing Act 1983 (Vic)
The Co-operative’s business of housing is governed by the Housing Act. The objects of the Housing Act include:
- to ensure that every person in Victoria has adequate and appropriate housing at a price within his or her means by encouraging the provision of well-maintained public housing of suitable quality and location. This includes the participation of non-profit bodies in the provision of well maintained, affordable rental housing of suitable quality and location;
- to expand and develop the role of the public sector in the provision of housing;
- to provide a regulatory framework to encourage the development of rental housing agencies serving the housing needs of low-income tenants by providing for the registration of those rental housing agencies and the regulation and monitoring of registered agencies; and
- to promote security and variety of tenure.
Co-operatives National Law Application Act 2013 (Vic).
The Co-operatives Act aims to:
- enable the formation, registration and operation of co-operatives;
- promote co-operative philosophy, principles, practices and objectives;
- protect the interests of co-operatives, their members and the public in the operations and activities of co-operatives;
- ensure that the directors of co-operatives are accountable for their actions and decisions to the members of co-operatives;
- encourage and facilitate self-management by co-operatives at all levels; and
- encourage the development, integration and strengthening of co-operatives at local, regional, national and international levels by supporting and fostering State and national peak organisations and co-operative instrumentalities.
Other important legislation which directs Co-operatives include:
- Residential Tenancies Act (1997) which details the rights and duties of landlords and tenants of rented premises in Victoria.
- Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission Act 2012
- Disability Act 1992 (Vic);
- Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic);
- Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic);
- Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic);
- Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (Vic);
- Child Wellbeing and Safety Amendment (Child Safe Standards) Act 2015 (Vic).
Constitution of the United Housing Co-operative
UHC’s Constitution (2015) is the foundation document governing the Co-operative. The rules contained within the Constitution are based on and compliant with the Co-operatives National Law Application Act 2013 (Vic). The original Constitution was revised in 2014/2015 to accommodate changes in national legislation and approved by the membership at a General Meeting in August 2015.
Policies of the United Housing Co-operative Ltd.
The United Housing Co-operative Ltd. has a number of policies which guide the governance and operations of the day to day management of the Co-operative. These are policies are subject to regular review and update and the membership is involved in the review process through consultation forums.
Lease Agreement with Department of Health & Human Services
The General Lease Agreement between United Housing Co-operative Ltd. and the Department of Health and Human Services was officially signed off on the 7/9/2015.
The term of the lease is 5 years extending from 1st July 2015 to 30th June 2020.
The General Lease Agreement pertains to the lease arrangements for the properties owned by DHHS and sublet to UHC, who assumes responsibility for all aspects of property and tenancy management.
To satisfy the Governments regulatory requirements and to ensure the Co-operative continues to operate effectively and ethically there are a number of reporting requirements that UHC is required to meet each year. These requirements are documented in the UHC Governance Manual.