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In addition to identifying requirements for registered housing agencies, the Housing Act 1983 (the Act) establishes a role for the Registrar to investigate complaints by tenants or prospective tenants of registered housing agencies whose complaints have not been satisfactorily resolved by an agency within 30 days.

In practice, complaints to the Registrar are reviewed by Housing Registrar staff to initially determine whether the matter has actually been through a registered agency’s formal complaints process. In many cases an issue has been raised, but not then taken to the complaints process if the person has been unhappy with the result from raising the issue.

Once it is determined that a complaint has been through an agency’s complaints process without satisfactory resolution Housing Registrar staff focus on whether an agency’s handling of the complaint and the outcome have been appropriate and reasonable. If a positive conclusion is reached, then a complainant will be informed that the Registrar is taking no further action.

The Registrar is able to refer the complaint for external investigation if this is appropriate. The Registrar also has powers to direct agencies to remedy the complaint or take action to ensure that the likelihood of a future similar complaint is reduced.

The Housing Registrar has published complaints management guidance(pdf 457KB) for agencies.

Complaints outside the Registrar’s jurisdiction

Complaints referred to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 fall outside the Registrar’s jurisdiction.

Complaints made by neighbours and parties other than tenants or prospective tenants fall outside of the Registrar’s complaints jurisdiction. The matters being raised by such a party can, however, fall under the broader role of the Registrar with registered agencies and may be looked at outside of the complaints management process (e.g. poor tenancy management of anti-social behaviour).