Welcome to the CENSW website.


CENSW is a not-for-profit Registered Community Housing Provider established in 2009,

who supports the NSW Cooperative Housing Program in providing social and affordable rental cooperative housing.

Common Equity New South Wales (CENSW) is a registered Community Housing Provider; it is a not-for-profit company established for the purpose of supporting housing co-operatives across NSW. Our aim is to provide secure and affordable tenancies for cooperative members. CENSW provides information and assistance on forming a housing cooperative as well as resources and technical assistance. CENSW runs workshops and produces materials to support Co-operatives through their development. Most importantly CENSW leases properties to Housing Cooperatives providing a range of support services to manage tenancies.
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What is a Housing Cooperative?

Housing cooperatives are a very different housing model from other forms of social housing as members enjoy equal rights in the decision-making process. Tenants are also expected to be involved in the management of the Cooperative and embody the qualities of being a good neighbour and make a positive contribution to their housing cooperative and work with other members of the cooperative in the spirit of cooperation.

A housing Co-operative is a legally registered organization which collectively manages a dwelling or group of dwellings in which its members live. It has some of the benefits of other forms of social housing, yet it gives tenants greater control over their housing and how it is maintained. Tenants gain affordable long-term secure housing but they do not have a financial stake in the dwelling and cannot make any capital gains when they leave.

Who does what in housing cooperative?

In the CENSW model, housing is managed by the cooperative and the members undertake significant responsibilities ere carrying out tasks associated with running a housing cooperative these include:

  • financial administration
  • collecting rents
  • arranging property maintenance
  • selecting new tenant
  • keeping all associated records
  • reporting to CENSW and the NSW Registry of Community Housing

CENSW leases properties to the Cooperatives and support them in managing their tenants, ensuring compliance with Residential Tenancy Act and the requirements for the Registrar of Community Housing.

Tenants of Co-operatives pay 25% of their gross income plus 100% of Commonwealth Rent Assistance (if they are eligible) or up to 75% market rent (whatever is the lower of the two amounts).

Who does CENSW support?

CENSW supports a diverse a range of community groups to manage their own tenancies. Our Housing Cooperatives range in size from a few households to over fifty dwellings units. Examples of groups who successfully participate in cooperative housing include:

  • Seniors Communities from non-English speaking backgrounds
  • People with disabilities
  • Single women on low incomes
  • Single parent families
  • Students
  • Artist based coops
  • Large Families
  • Cooperative linked to community associations

How can we take the next step?

CENSW is currently looking to help grow the cooperative housing sector and to support the development of new housing cooperative in your area. If you are interested in being part of a housing cooperative in your area then please contact us.

  • Annual Report 2014
    2014 Annual Report is available online, please click the link underneath or find it in Category: NEWS & PUBLICATIONS -> Annual Report.
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  • Newsletter October 2014
    Our last Newsletter for 2014 is available here online under: News & Publications > CENSW Newsletters
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  • AGM Minutes
    Here is Annual General Meeting 2013 minutes available to download in PDF format!
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  • Public Service Mutuals White Paper
    The Abbott Government is committed to building community capacity and resilience in Australia by encouraging the growth in civil society. Civil society is based on the relationships and institutions that are neither created nor controlled by the State. Through these activities we can build character in individuals, foster social cohesion in communities, address…
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