The 2014 National Social Housing Survey (NSHS) is the most recent in a series of surveys of social housing tenants and their experiences. The 2014 NSHS sampled tenants in public housing (PH), in state owned and managed Indigenous housing (SOMIH), and in community housing (CH) between May and August 2014.

How satisfied are tenants?

The majority of NSHS respondents (73%) indicated that overall they were satisfied with the services provided by their housing organisation and, for both public housing and community housing tenants, this has increased since 2012.

  • Tenant satisfaction with the services provided by their housing organisation was lower amongst tenants who had a disability or who lived in dwellings with structural problems or in dwellings that were overcrowded.
  • Consistent with previous surveys, community housing tenants were more satisfied than public housing or SOMIH tenants with the services offered by their housing providers.

What are dwelling conditions and use like?

  • The majority (82%) of tenants lived in a dwelling of an acceptable standard, with 4 or more working facilities and no more than 2 major structural problems.
  • As in 2012, a small proportion (5%) of social housing dwellings were overcrowded, but this was again considerably more common in SOMIH households (19%).
  • Underutilisation was more common than overcrowding in public housing and community housing dwellings. One in 5 public housing households were underutilised (with at least 1 surplus bedroom) as were 1 in 7 community housing households.

What is the labour force status of social housing tenants?

  • Between half and three-quarters of all social housing tenants aged 15-64 years were not in the labour force, despite a large proportion being of working age. Almost half of public and community housing tenants (49% PH and 47% CH), were 'unable to work', while almost two-thirds of SOMIH tenants were full-time parents or carers (62%).
  • Of those working part-time, unemployed or not in the labour force, the 3 strongest influences on employment status were the need for more training, education or work experience; the desire/need to stay home and look after children, and financial concerns.

How are tenants with disability faring?

  • Around one-third of households included at least 1 member who 'always' or 'sometimes' requires assistance with self-care, body-movement or communication activities.
  • Across all social housing programs, the majority of households with a person with disability indicated that 'modifications for special needs' were important to them and that this need had been met.

What are the benefits of living in social housing?

  • Social housing tenants reported many benefits of social housing, with the majority (more than 90%) feeling more settled and better able to manage rent or money.
  • The benefit least likely to be reported by tenants was feeling 'more able to improve job situation' (63% reported this benefit).