ASSET MANAGEMENT – COMMUNITY HOUSING
Assets of the company or an individual are important and need to be preserved – this
is fundamental to the balance sheet of a company. Likewise within a Community
Housing Company such as Common Equity Housing Ltd ( CEHL ) who have over
1600 properties it is equally important for the company, the co-operative and the
tenant to have a good focus on asset management.
A little about CEHL before we delve into the interests of asset management –
Common Equity Housing Ltd
‘A unique solution in affordable housing’
Common Equity Housing Ltd (CEHL) is a social housing provider with a
unique model: A Housing Association whose homes are tenant-run common
equity rental co-operatives (CERCs) of between 7 and 25 properties.
Tenant members manage rent collection, lettings, financial management and
Property maintenance with the support of professionals at CEHL.
We aim to provide secure, affordable housing across the whole life cycle.
Purpose-built and spot purchased homes in a wide variety of settings, mean that
we meet changing needs.
•STATE -WIDE: OVER 1600 HOMES SPREAD ACROSS
• SECURE & STABLE HOUSING MAKES FOR
• HOUSING WITH PARTICIPATION TO MAKE A
• HOUSES, UNITS AND RETIREMENT VILLAGES –
THE COMPLETE CYCLE OF HOUSING NEEDS
• ENCOURAGING AUTONOMY AND INDEPENDENCE
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CERC PROGRAMME
• The CERC’s are responsible under this model for minor maintenance –
cyclical with CEHL undertaking the major or emergency maintenance
• Cyclical maintenance includes – painting ( internal & external ),
replacement of appliances ( HWS, stoves, ovens etc ), fencing,
replacement of carpets, tap washers and other minor repairs.
• Programmed maintenance includes restumping, rewiring, refurbishment of
bathrooms and kitchens, reroofing and other major repairs.
• CERC’s receive 40% of their rent monies for cyclical maintenance – an
average of $1,100 per tenement.
• CERC maintenance is controlled by a Maintenance Director and/or a
Maintenance Committee who oversee the requests and action the works to
Asset Management for CEHL as a Community Housing Company incorporates the
following aspects –
• Good stock balance
- balance of property to support the needs of tenants that includes
family homes, units for smaller family units and for downsizing
and a range of independent living units specifically for the aged.
• Good inspection systems that records the conditions of the assets and an
equally good reporting system that provides the CERC with a total
building management report that can be acted upon with confidence.
• Preparedness to sell difficult stock
• Budget for ongoing maintenance
• A building program to renew the property stock
• Building designs for living today.
• Incorporating sustainable improvements that are economical for the
company, CERC and tenant.
Let’s look at these headings and analyse the methodology of good asset management
planning and maintenance as approached by CEHL.
• GOOD STOCK BALANCE
Good stock balance in community housing is about meeting the needs of
the CERC’s wherever possible. Our housing model programme started
over 20 years ago and basically was a spot purchase of properties by
CERC members who sought an appropriate property and location to meet
their needs within the financial constraints of that period.
The majority of the properties were 3 or 4 bedroom homes to meet family
needs at the time. However, over this period families have matured and left
home leaving the “Darby & Joan” couple in many instances requiring an
opportunity to downsize and leave behind the large allotment to be
maintaining. In addition, the CERC’s support many single parent families
who with one child find a 2 bedroom unit an ideal housing type.
Hence our latest move towards 2 bedroom units to assist CERC’s create
some diversity in their stock portfolio allows them the scope “to make
moves on the chessboard”.
The outcome of this diversity renews the CERC enthusiasm in the program
that takes note of their needs. This is a major difference between this
model of community housing and direct tenancy with the Office of
Housing – it is more responsive and better able to respond to the individual
through the CERC program.
• GOOD INSPECTION SYSTEMS
This process in CEHL has improved over the last 2 years and an excellent
reporting system has been developed to guide the CERC’s with their
programmed maintenance. CEHL has 5 Property Officers to cover the
State and they inspect each property within a CERC at least once every 3
An individual and collective report is prepared following the inspection
and presented to the CERC with time frames and approximate costs plus a
plan of action according to their financial standing.
The data from the asset inspection is compiled into our Property Master
File database for reference by Management to check from time to time on
the overall exposure to works required to be attended.
The CERC have an agreement with the Company called the CERC
COMPANY AGREEMENT ( CCA ) in which among other items requires
CEHL via the Property Officer to advise the CERC and tenant of the
timing of the major company repairs or refurbishments known as 3rd
schedule works. Therefore, the process of attending to major items are
prioritised and scheduled within the programmed maintenance report that
covers a 3 -5 year period
CEHL Property Officer’s are in continual contact from time to time with
the CERC’s to check their progress pursuant to the report and offer advice
upon the issues that they encounter and need guidance. Some group and/or
“one on one” training is encouraged with the CERC’s to ensure they are
confident with the maintenance process. This contact assists CEHL to
understand any issues that the CERC may encounter and also assists the
CERC in keeping the maintenance rolling along in accordance with their
The Company expenses on 3rd schedule items are recorded on our data
base to ensure that CEHL has a note of all property expenses. The CERC
keep their expenditure within their system, recorded either manually or on
a spreadsheet program. The CERC and CEHL work together and share the
details of their budget and expenditure to ensure good outcomes for the
tenants, the CERC as the tenancy Manager and CEHL as the owner of the
• PREPAREDNESS TO SELL DIFFICULT STOCK
Over the last number of years CEHL has sold approximately 35 properties
as a result of reporting from the CERC and submitting the property as a
“handback”. This situation is activated following a vacancy of the property
and the known data on the property from earlier reports that further monies
are not to be spent due to the poor condition. The exceptions of
expenditure on these properties are emergencies such as electrical wiring,
replacement hot water service or sewer blockage etc.
Selling stock follows a process that involves keeping all the stakeholders
advised – tenant ( if not vacant ), CERC and Property Officer. CEHL has a
requirement to backfill a sold property with another property either spot
purchased or a new build. The following steps are undertaken –
• Where a tenant is involved and the property is to be sold ensure that the
tenant’s rights and security of housing is understood – this process is not
unalike an owner selling and repurchasing. Dates of settlement need to be
set to provide sufficient time to locate another property to ensure the tenant
is continuously accommodated.
• An independent Valuation report is obtained
• The property is proposed with an agent at a negotiated commission fee.
• The property is sold providing it meets the set reserve.
• A settlement date is negotiated particularly if there is a tenant involved –
usually at least 90 days.
• The CERC is notified of the sale and advised of the amount available to
consider in regard to a spot purchase replacement.
• The CERC searches for a suitable property and in conjunction with our
Property Officer an inspection is arranged to check the property from a
building aspect and future maintenance.
• If the property is found to be suitable an independent valuation is arranged
and an offer is submitted and negotiated providing the valuation is at or
less than the independent valuation. The Valuation report is a reasonable
guide however the purchase price may sometimes exceed the valuation
amount if the property is a preferred property.
• The normal sale proceeds and a settlement date is arranged particularly if a
tenant is to be accommodated from the sold property.
• CEHL due to its “Charitable status and being a not for profit” does not
endure any stamp duty fees on the purchase.
BUDGET FOR ONGOING MAINTENANCE
• CEHL provide $700,000 in its current budget per annum for company
( major ) repairs.
• On going maintenance is a matter of setting priorities in relation to the
budget that each Property Officer administers as per the CCA agreement
referred to previously where CEHL needs to advise the CERC about the
timing of attending to these major repairs.
• In regard to setting these priorities CEHL usually has a predetermined
amount of works in the “pipeline” as a result of advising the CERC about
• All works are done in conjunction with the CERC but depending upon
some repairs the CERC may make a contribution if deemed necessary – an
example – where a window has not been repaired or painted and
consequently parts rot and require replacement – the CERC will need to
make a contribution for their lack of attention.
• The Property Officers keep in contact with CERC’s to ensure they are
keeping to the strategy of the inspection report notwithstanding the need to
undertake certain matters deemed necessary as emergency – such as a Hot
• On this matter it is worth noting that the Property Division has negotiated
special pricing for the installation of Hot Water Services ( HWS ) with a
company that has a “one stop shop contact” – one call and the HWS will
be co-ordinated – supply and install.
A BUILDING PROGRAM TO RENEW THE PROPERTY STOCK
• With the sale of some properties the realisation is limited and we are
unable to repurchase back into the market despite the often downsizing
that occurs from a 3 bedroom house to a 2 bed unit. Some prices within
poorer areas have a limiting factor therefore there is a need to pursue a
building program that provides for these replacements.
• Land is often purchased for this program or where possible CEHL will
pursue the development of new buildings upon existing land opportunities.
• The additional monies required to fulfil this new arrangement are
supplemented from reserves or small surpluses.
• Where possible CEHL will spot purchase but in some instances new builds
BUILDING DESIGNS FOR LIVING TODAY
• CEHL has a set of standards that are followed in regard to new designs and
building for today’s needs. They are set out below –
SPECIFICATION FOR DESIGN UNIFORMITY/CONSISTENCY
FLOOR STRUCTURE –
• Slab wherever possible
• Conventional floor – stumps etc depending upon site conditions and fall
• Conventional flooring – concrete pads where possible with span to outer
Consider the best values for each site
FLOOR FINISHES –
• Tiles to traffic areas and passages, meals, kitchen, & entrance area inside
front door. Tiles to be laid on a rubberised tile adhesive application.
• Vinyl sheeting of a quality that is easily cleaned etc
• Carpet to living & bedrooms
• Shower screen doors to be pivotal
• Mirror to wall to be 1metre x 1.2metre
• Floor – safety vinyl coved to the wall graded & drained to outlet – 100mm
• All villaboard linings
• Finishes to walls of shower – tiling, lamipanel or vinyl wrap – all joints to
be silicone sealed
• Tap mixers to shower & basin outlets
• Joinery – 3 colour finishes in laminex
• Standard tapware to laundry
• Laundry trough – vanity type with laminex bench – area at side to be clear
• Exhaust fan to laundry
• Roof tiles or colourbond metal roofs
• Fascia metal colourbond
• 2.5 + rating to roof and 1.5 + rating to walls
• Eaves to be minimum of 450mm
• Joinery – 3 colour finishes in laminex
• Check rangehood unit with in line fan ducted to external air.
• Flouro to meals & kitchen
• Appliances – wall or under bench oven
• Set up joinery cabinets for dishwasher install - plumbing & electrical
• Awning type – aluminium with flyscreens
• Security door to be fitted to all sliding doors
• Keyalike to all doors
• Night latch to entry door from garage.
• 2.5 + rating to roof and 1.5 + rating to walls
• Brick as much as possible
• Some cement plank “hardiplank” where necessary if brick is not possible
GENERAL DESIGN CRITERIA INCLUSIONS
• Floor plan – design to have an entry from garage to entry hall wherever
• Garage roller door to be auto operation
• Shower screen doors to be pivotal where possible.
• Lighting – sensor light to front porch
• Downlights to living area
• Dome type light to other areas – ie bedrooms, laundry etc
• Window furnishings – chain driven “Holland” blinds
• Fixing – skirtings/architraves to be “MDF” in lieu of hardwood
• Paint work – “Wattyl ID” for internal painting and Wattyl Solargaurd for
external or similar.
• Heating – space heater – Rinnai or similar to suit size of house/unit. A
similar unit to be provided for electric installations. Costs on the
installation of Inverta Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners have also been cost
effective and provide heating and cooling – often the CERC will cover the
additional cost of this unit in order to provide extra comfort levels.
• Hot water service – 315Litre for electric with twin element otherwise a gas
• TV antenna to be installed wherever possible in the roof cavity
• Phone points to living room & kitchen
• Power outlets – 2 doubles for each bedroom
• Clothesline – paraline for unit or rotary line for a house
• Paving – concrete or pavers to a mortar base depending upon site
conditions. Use F62 mesh in paving to incorporate path to clothesline
• Storage to be provided wherever possible as an extension to the garage.
Consider separate storage for volatile fuels.
• Fences – units 1.8m between units
• Garage openings to be min. of 2.7m
• Door bell and signage for house/unit to be on the schedule for installation
• Ensure that drainage around the site and the house/unit is fully considered
with pits and outlets depths to connect sub soil drainage
• Awnings to be provided to west facing windows
• Wherever possible weather protect the rear laundry door with an awning or
• Letterboxes to be brick pier type with paper & letter box built into
structure of brick panel
• Colour charts and boards to be provided wherever possible to demonstrate
finishes to CERC and proposed tenant
A typical design plan is shown here -
INCORPORATING SUSTAINABLE IMPROVEMENTS
• All new building require a 5 star rating to comply with the Building Code.
The following items or considerations are used to obtain the 5 star rating
or better –
Siting considerations – usually living areas facing north wherever
possible for the warm winter sun – orientation.
Concrete slab wherever possible for greater thermal mass.
Highlight windows to allow winter sun penetration.
Double glazed windows
Limit window exposure to the west side
Cross ventilation – passive cooling
Window shielding – awnings or tinting
Solar photovoltaic panels for hot water conservation.
Hot Water ring system – immediate hot water at each outlet to save
water – on an average house of 5 persons a saving of
approximately 17,000 litres of water. This is a manual or “on
demand” switch activation.
Thermostatically controlled heating system
Water tolerant or resistant landscaped garden plantings
Proper planting of trees for the best protection of the house – some
evergreen, other deciduous.
Low energy light installations
Insulation to walls and roof cavities
• The aim is to often exceed the 5 star rating and this can be done with
proper consideration and little effort and compromise.
In addition the construction site should be kept clean and tidy – the builder should
be encouraged to practice good housekeeping on the site with bins, signage, earth
pits for paint washes as well as good OH&S practices across the site – the
principals of a Green Building practice by all persons on site.