Frequently Asked Questions

Who can use the Housing Appeals Committee?

Those people who can appeal are:

  • Applicants for Social Housing in NSW - that is applicants of the FACS Housing Services or long term community housing accommodation or services; and
  • Tenants of Social Housing - FACS Housing Services or Community Housing in NSW.

If they remain unhappy with a decision of the housing provider after an internal review and it is an Appealable Issues.

What can I appeal about

  • APPLICANTS - Most issues related to eligibility to be on waiting lists, priority on those lists and the provision of other services, eg emergency housing.
  • TENANTS - Most issues related to transfer, disability modifications of dwellings, succession of tenancy, calculation of rental subsidy, mild/moderate Antisocial Behaviour Strikes 1 and 2. If an issue comes under Residential Tenancies Legislation it is dealt with by the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (formerly the Residential Tribunal) see Helpful Links.

See Appealable Issues for a more detailed list.

Is it worth appealing?

Yes - if you are unhappy with the decision of the housing provider you can and should exercise your right to have that decision reviewed. Appeals are free and the process is informal to ensure that appellants feel as comfortable as possible in making their appeal.

Does it cost to appeal?

No - it's a free service.

How do I lodge an appeal?

The housing provider should provide you with an appeal form (to the Housing Appeals Committee) when they inform you of the first level appeal decision. Complete and sign this form and then mail/ fax/ or deliver the form to the Housing Appeals Committee Secretariat.

If the housing provider does not provide you with the appeal form you can:

  • ask the housing provider for the form;
  • contact us, the Housing Appeals Committee Secretariat and indicate that you wish to lodge an appeal;
  • write a letter to the Housing Appeals Committee saying you wish to appeal. You will need to provide your contact details, the name of the housing provider and indicate the decision you are appealing.

Can I skip the first level (internal) appeal process?

No. The two level appeal process is central to the appeal model in NSW. The first level review will be conducted by a person (or people) senior to and separate from the person who made the first decision. This step is essential and often leads to a change of decision, making the second level review (to the Housing Appeals Committee) not necessary. The only exception is if the most senior officer has already made the decision and there is no-one else who can review it at the first level.

What if I don't speak English?

You can have an interpreter who will be arranged by the Housing Appeals Committee Secretariat prior to the hearing. The Housing Appeals Committee uses professional interpreters and does not allow relatives or friends to be interpreters for the hearing. Interpreters can also be arranged for people who are hearing impaired.

Can I appeal about maintenance of my home?

No - Not to the Housing Appeals Committee.

This is dealt with under Residential Tenancies Legislation by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) formerly known as CTTT.

The Housing Appeals Committee only deals with appeals about property modifications relating to disability and special needs - Appealable Issues.

Can I appeal more than once?

You can appeal to the Housing Appeals Committee about separate issues at different times. You cannot appeal the same decision more than once as it is finalised at the Housing Appeals Committee hearing.

Can the Housing Appeals Committee change the decision?

No - the Housing Appeals Committee has recommendatory powers only, at this stage. The Committee provides a detailed analysis and makes recommendations to the housing provider and it is up to the housing provider to make the final decision. The housing provider gives serious consideration to the issues raised by the Committee in its recommendations and mostly, recommendations are accepted.

What happens at the Committee hearing?

The Committee will be two or three members. The person appealing will speak to the Committee by conference telephone or in a face to face interview. The Committee has the file from the housing provider and will ask some questions to understand the appellant's situation a bit better. The Committee will give the appellant an opportunity to talk about the reasons they are unhappy with the decision of the housing provider. The interview is an informal process which takes about 30 - 50 minutes.

Will the housing provider staff who made the decision be at the Committee hearing?

No - the hearing is just for the Committee and the person appealing (and their support people or advocates if they wish). It is not a court or mediation process - see Appeal Process.

Can I bring someone with me to the hearing?

Yes - you can bring a support person or advocate to the hearing if you wish - see Advocate Information.

Can an advocate speak on my behalf?

Yes, but only if you provide written permission for them to do so. It is preferable for the Committee to speak to you as the appellant if possible even if the advocate also speaks on your behalf. This means the Committee has the best chance of understanding all the issues. Generally, the Committee will not accept lawyers as advocates as it is not a legally based review process - see Advocate Information.

What happens after the hearing?

Following the end of the interview, the Committee will reach a conclusion through discussing the policy, the evidence on file and the issues raised in the interview. They will write a report of their findings and recommendations to go to both the person appealing (the appellant) and the housing provider. This report is generally sent within two weeks of the hearing.

What if I am unhappy with the outcome of the appeal to the Housing Appeals Committee?

You have the right to raise the issue with the Minister for Housing or with other agencies such as the NSW Ombudsman. The Secretariat can advise you about this.

What is the Housing Appeals Committee's relationship with the FACS Housing Services?

The Housing Appeals Committee is independent of all social housing providers.

The Committee is appointed by Cabinet on the recommendation of the Minister. The Director of the Committee is accountable to the Minister – so it is consistent with our governance documents.

What's the difference between a complaint and an appeal?

  • An appeal relates to a decision made by a social housing provider to provide or not provide a service (such as housing, transfer or priority on the waiting list).
  • A complaint deals with dissatisfaction with the way you were dealt with as a client or unhappiness with the policy itself. This is not an appeal and is dealt with through separate processes by housing providers.