Were tenants satisfied with social housing services?

'My housing organisation responds promptly to requests and really encourages us to build a sense of community. They are very supportive of our needs as individuals and a community.'

'They are very responsive and I can contact them directly. They are thorough and prompt and generous with what they do to help us.'

'We have more stability, harmony and gratitude thanks to living in affordable housing.'

– Community housing tenants

'Public housing was the best thing that happened for me, it has given me a home. For many years I lived on the streets and now I have my own home and am very happy here. Thank you so much.'

'Overall the service which has been given has been excellent in terms of punctuality, quality and the caring towards the elderly.'

– Public housing tenants

'As soon as I contact them, it's easy for me talk to someone and it's quick service for what I need and easy help for me, thank you so much for helping me always.'

'I was looked after extremely well by office staff through the situation leading me to go into social housing. The house was very clean and in great condition.'

– SOMIH tenants

Tenant satisfaction with overall services provided by their housing organisation refers to whether tenants are generally happy with the services they received. It is a reflection of whether providers are delivering high quality social housing services while also capturing tenants’ perspective on aspects of social housing.

This section presents estimates of the proportion of social housing households who were satisfied with the overall services provided by their housing organisation. The estimates were calculated by applying weights to the NSHS sample responses. For more information on the NSHS methodology, see the technical notes.

NSHS question about overall satisfaction with housing services

Information about social housing tenants’ satisfaction was obtained from responses to the question:

'In the last 12 months, how satisfied were you with the overall services provided by your housing organisation?'

Respondents selected from the following:

  • Very satisfied
  • Satisfied
  • Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
  • Dissatisfied
  • Very dissatisfied
  • Not applicable.

Satisfied refers to ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ responses.

The term satisfaction rate refers to the proportion (%) of social housing tenants who were satisfied with the overall services provided by their housing organisation.

Satisfaction varied between states and territories

'Our accommodation manager is excellent. She responds very quickly to queries and issues and is happy to spend time with residents to ensure that everyone is happy with the result.'

'Because we are living in social housing we are treated like second class citizens and talked down to.'

'They are always open to discuss issues/concerns with me and follow up with courtesy phone calls or alternatives, such as to arrange a home visit.'

Almost three–quarters (73%) of tenants were satisfied with the overall services provided by their social housing organisation in 2021. The satisfaction rate varied by state and territory, with satisfaction highest among tenants in Queensland. Across all social housing programs (Figure Satisfaction.1, Table S1.1):

  • Queensland had the highest satisfaction rate at 83%, followed by Western Australia (80%), Northern Territory (79%), South Australia (79%) and Tasmania (76%).
  • New South Wales and Victoria both had a satisfaction rate of 68% and the Australian Capital Territory had the lowest overall satisfaction rate at 64%.

Figure Satisfaction.1: Tenant satisfaction (%), by housing program, states and territories, 2014 to 2021

This interactive bar chart shows the tenant satisfaction rate has been variable within each of the housing programs in each state and territory from 2014 to 2021.

Satisfaction varied between programs

'The staff are very friendly and helpful all the time with anything. They are very committed to help residents keep a roof over their heads and support with any individual’s life issues.'

'Department of Housing staff do not completely listen to tenant maintenance concerns. I personally feel that most staff that I have been in contact with do not care about the tenants. Their attitude towards tenants is we are poor, uneducated, sit at the lower rung of society and are a burden to Australia.'

'The housing service is reliable, punctual and very effective. The day to day service is always managed by professional staff and communication and interaction between the staff and myself are always cordial with mutual respect and tactful diplomacy making it a delight to interact with them.'

Nationally, tenants in community housing had a higher satisfaction rate (76%) than public housing (72%) and SOMIH (65%) in 2021. This pattern was observed in all states and territories except for Queensland, where the satisfaction rate was highest in public housing (83%) (Figure Satisfaction.1,Table S1.1). For the Northern Territory, public housing was the only housing program in scope for the NSHS.

Satisfaction rates with public housing ranged from 63% in the Australian Capital Territory to 83% in Queensland. Satisfaction rates with community housing providers ranged from 72% in Victoria to 84% in Western Australia. For SOMIH, New South Wales had a satisfaction rate of 54% compared with 80% in Queensland (Figure Satisfaction.1,Table S1.1).

It is important to note that the variance among social housing programs is related to other factors. See Which factors were significantly associated with tenant satisfaction? for further details on the underlying factors that explain the variation among social housing programs.

Satisfaction with services has declined over time

The overall satisfaction rate of 73% in 2021 decreased from 75% in 2018. The satisfaction rate decline in 2021 – while modest – contrasts with the trend of generally steady increase or stability since 2014 (Figure Satisfaction.1, Table S1.1).

Queensland had the highest tenant satisfaction rates in the surveys 2014 to 2021. The Australian Capital Territory had the lowest rate in 2021, with the satisfaction rate declining from 73% in 2018 to 64% in 2021, mostly due a lower satisfaction rate among public housing tenants (decreased from 73% to 63%) (Figure Satisfaction.1, Table S1.1).

In 2021, satisfaction rates in the Northern Territory and South Australia were stable (both 79%), while rates in Western Australia increased from 78% to 80%. Satisfaction rates declined in all others states and territories when compared with 2018 (Figure Satisfaction.1, Table S1.1).

'We are dissatisfied because our concerns aren't taken seriously as we would be in private rent. Several of our concerns we have not even heard back from housing and they haven't been addressed yet.'

'I have been extremely dissatisfied. Chronic issues have been reported for years and fall onto deaf ears.'