The Victorian Government has amended the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to define affordable housing. This is to encourage an increase in affordable housing through local councils seeking a voluntary affordable housing contribution, as part of planning approval processes.

The definition of affordable housing in the Act includes social housing.

A responsible authority and or land owner may voluntarily agree to the provision of social housing as part of Section 173 under the Planning and Environment Act 1987

The responsible authority is the body or person responsible for administering the planning scheme, including granting permits. In most cases the council is the responsible authority.

What is affordable housing?

The Planning and Environment Act 1987 defines affordable housing as ‘housing, including social housing, that is appropriate for the housing needs of very low, low and moderate income households’.

Further information and resources are available on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

What is social housing?

Social housing is housing that is provided to eligible households, with rents subsidised to ensure that households pay an affordable rent.

For information on the eligibility limits, application process and rent setting policies, see  the Social housing page on

Social housing is housing that is owned by the Director of Housing (public housing) as well as housing that is owned or managed by registered housing agencies (community housing).

Both public and community housing provide secure and affordable housing to a range of individuals and families and are regulated by the Housing Act 1983. Community housing providers are also registered and regulated by the state government through a regulatory framework overseen and implemented by the Registrar of Housing.

Who should I talk to?

Public housing and different community housing providers have different requirements, policies and capacity to deliver social housing as part of a Section 173 Agreement. Some community housing providers focus on specific geographical areas, or client groups.

To understand the requirements of different housing agencies, and to discuss your proposal, please refer to the following information.

Public housing

For more information on public housing requirements and who to contact, see:

Community Housing

For further information on community housing providers and who to contact, see the Community Housing Industry Association Victoria website.

How does social housing respond to matters outlined in the Ministerial Notice?

Social housing meets the criteria that should be considered in determining whether affordable housing is appropriate as defined in the Specified Matters Under Section 3AA(2) – Ministerial Notice.  

Both public and community housing:

  • Have in place policies and procedures that regulate the rent charged to tenants in social housing properties
  • Have robust procedures to ensure only eligible households are allocated to social housing properties
  • Retain investment in social housing for the long term
  • Provide appropriate security of tenure arrangements
  • Consider the needs of tenant groups when determining the type of housing they provide
  • Deliver housing in locations where there is demonstrated need from the client group that they support, and where there is access to services transport and employment opportunities
  • Seek to integrate social housing dwellings with the surrounding communities, as much as possible, so that they are not unnecessarily distinguishable from other homes in the area.