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Head Lease program


The Head Lease Program forms a key part of the Aboriginal Housing Office’s Build & Grow Aboriginal Community Housing Strategy (The Strategy), offering providers a path to AHO registration and eligibility for property backlog funding under the Backlog Maintenance or Refurbishment Program. For further information about the Program refer to the original Head Leasing Frequently Asked Questions document.

The Head Lease Program aims to improve both the quality of housing, and the standard of property management, while helping Aboriginal Community Housing Providers (ACHP) to increase the scale of their operations.

Under head leasing, a provider that is not in a position to submit to a performance-based assessment for registration, can agree to transfer management of their stock to the AHO for a five year fixed term with an option to renew for a further five years, at the discretion of the AHO. The AHO then subleases the management of the properties to an AHO registered provider previously approved through a performance-based process.

The arrangement also allows for the progressive introduction of Build & Grow rents, as properties are upgraded, aiding longer-term sustainability through higher rental incomes.

Following a review of the Program in late 2014, the AHO Board approved an upgrade of over 202 properties which brought the backlog maintenance program to full capacity in the past few years. Some of the other Program improvements were the introduction of new rules to allow the ‘per property’ expenditure cap to be averaged across all properties in the portfolio, commencement of Infrastructure Subsidy payments for discrete communities head leased to the AHO from September 2014 and publishing of additional information about the Head Lease Program for both head lease and sublease providers.

Please note that the AHO is not facilitating any new arrangements under The Strategy.

Head leasing update

In the lead up to the cessation of the initial five (5) year Head Lease terms, the AHO is conducting a review and evaluation of the Program to assess the effectiveness of the Program to date and build on the value generated in shaping the future of the Head Lease Program and continuous growth and capacity of the Sector into the future.

The AHO will work individually with both owning and managing providers to evaluate the performance of the property and tenancy portfolios and determine owning and managing providers’ aspirations regarding future management of the portfolios.

To allow time to complete the review, the AHO will propose an extension of existing Head Lease/ Sublease arrangements to 30 June 2018 for affected owning and managing Providers where the initial five (5) year term has or will expire before 30 June 2018.

We look forward to working with Aboriginal Community Housing Providers in shaping the future of the Head Lease Program and continuous growth and capacity of the Sector into the future.

For further information, contact your AHO Regional Office or email your enquiry to