Lease agreements in public housing

Your lease agreement, also known as the Conditions of Tenancy, sets out your rights and responsibilities, as well as those of Housing SA. These responsibilities are the conditions you agree to at the start of your tenancy.

The tenant is the person who signs the lease agreement. Only one person can sign a public housing lease agreement. It’s the tenant’s responsibility to make sure everyone living in or visiting their home abides by the conditions of the lease agreement.

There are three main types of lease agreements in public housing:

  • probationary lease agreement
  • fixed term lease agreement
  • ongoing lease agreement.

Probationary lease agreement

All new tenants are placed on a probationary lease agreement for the first 12 months.

If you meet all the conditions of that lease agreement, you’ll be offered a fixed term lease agreement.

If you don’t meet all the conditions:

  • you may be offered a second probationary lease agreement
  • you may not be offered another lease agreement and you’ll have to leave the property.

Fixed term lease agreement

How long a fixed term lease agreement is for depends on your personal situation, and how well you’ve met the conditions of your probationary lease agreement.

Fixed term lease agreements can be for 1, 2, 5 or 10 years.

Housing SA takes into account:

  • if you’re older or have a long-term disability or medical condition
  • if you have a debt to Housing SA, and if you successfully maintained a debt arrangement
  • the number, frequency and seriousness of any complaints upheld against your household for disruptive behaviour such as excessive and continuous noise
  • the condition you kept the property in
  • whether you told Housing SA about anyone moving in or out of your household
  • whether you told Housing SA about the full amount of income your household receives
  • if there’s been any illegal activity at your property.

Ongoing lease agreements

Ongoing lease agreements don’t have an end date. These agreements aren’t being issued anymore, and only apply to:

  • people who were housed before 1 October 2010 and still live in the property
  • people who were housed before 1 October 2010 and were transferred to another property for reasons other than disruptive behaviour
  • people who were the partner of a tenant in the household before 1 October 2010, and had the tenancy transferred to them.

You’ll continue on this type of agreement provided you meet all the conditions of your lease agreement.

Lease agreement reviews

Housing SA regularly carries out lease agreement reviews to:

  • allow Housing SA to inspect the property
  • make sure you’re meeting the conditions of your lease agreement
  • give you an opportunity to talk to Housing SA about any problems or questions you might have.

Housing SA will contact you to organise a time to visit you at home:

  • after the first six months of a probationary lease agreement
  • shortly before a lease agreement’s due to end.

You can see when  Housing SA has scheduled your lease review with your Housing Connect account.

You can choose to have someone with you during the review such as a family member, friend, support worker.

If you can’t attend a lease agreement review, contact Housing SA as soon as possible to either:

  • reschedule your review
  • organise for a representative such as your partner or family member, to attend on your behalf if you have good reasons why you can’t attend.

If you want a representative to act on your behalf, complete a Consent for another person to attend a home visit on your behalf form. Return it to Housing SA before your lease review.

Your lease may not be renewed and you’ll be asked to leave if you:

  • don’t allow Housing SA access to your property
  • don’t attend the review, and Housing SA can’t contact you.

Housing SA will send you a letter telling you about the outcome of your review.

Difficulties meeting the conditions of your lease agreement

Contact Housing SA as soon as possible if you’re having problems meeting the conditions of your lease agreement.

Housing SA can try to help you fix the issue by:

  • connecting you with organisations and services who can help you
  • negotiating a debt arrangement, if you have a debt to Housing SA
  • providing information and advice on your responsibilities and what else you can do.

Breaking the conditions of your lease agreement

Breaking the conditions of your lease agreement can include:

  • not paying rent, maintenance, water or other charges
  • intentionally causing or allowing the property to be damaged
  • causing or allowing disruptive behaviour at the property
  • not maintaining the property to an acceptable standard.

If you’re breaking the conditions of your lease agreement, Housing SA may take steps to end your tenancy by applying to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT).

Contact Housing SA if you want to resolve the issue.

If you need help negotiating with Housing SA or at a SACAT hearing, RentRight SA may be able to help. This is a free, independent service that provides advice, support and advocacy to tenants.

You can get free legal advice from the Legal Services Commission.

Leaving the property

If SACAT decides you have to leave the property, they’ll set a date you must move out by. If you haven’t moved out by this date, a bailiff will attend the property and the locks will be changed.

Any belongings left behind at the property are treated as abandoned goods.

You won’t be offered another public housing property for six months if:

  • you’re evicted for reasons other than disruptive behaviour
  • your probationary or fixed term lease agreement wasn’t renewed.

If you were evicted or your lease agreement wasn’t renewed because of disruptive behaviour, you can’t register your interest in public housing, and won’t be offered public housing for 12 months.

If you want to voluntarily end your public housing tenancy you can advise Housing SA with your Housing Connect account.

Related information

On this site

Help to resolve disputes

Other websites


Easy English guide for tenants (4.7 MB PDF)

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Page last updated 1 July 2022

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SA Housing Authority
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