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Department of Human Services

South Australian Housing Trust

Visitors, other occupants and overcrowding policy

This policy sets out:

  • who’s considered to be a visitor or another occupant
  • when tenants need to tell Housing SA about other occupants
  • how Housing SA responds to overcrowding in public and Aboriginal housing properties.

This policy applies to tenants renting public and Aboriginal housing. It doesn’t apply to tenants renting public housing in Aboriginal Communities.

The tenant’s the person who signed the lease agreement, also known as the Conditions of Tenancy, with Housing SA.


Someone’s a visitor if they meet both of the below conditions:

  • they have their own residential address, separate from the tenant’s address
  • they’re staying at the property for 12 weeks or less.

A visitor’s income isn’t included when calculating rent.

A visitor becomes another occupant in the tenant’s household when either:

  • they stay longer than 12 weeks
  • their residential address is the same as the tenant’s.

Tenants are responsible for telling Housing SA when a visitor becomes another occupant.

Other occupants

Another occupant’s anyone living in the property who isn’t the tenant or a visitor. Their income’s included when calculating rent in line with the Rent policy.

Tenants must:

  • tell Housing SA when another occupant moves in or out of their household
  • provide proof of income and identity for anyone moving into the household aged 16 and over
  • get written approval from Housing SA, except if the other occupant’s a dependent child aged under 18 of the tenant or the tenant’s partner.

Housing SA approves other occupants provided there’s enough room in the property, and the other occupant meets all of the below conditions:

  • they haven’t been excluded from Housing SA’s services in line with the Antisocial behaviour policy
  • it won’t contravene the conditions of an intervention order
  • they don’t own or partly own residential property
  • they aren’t a Housing SA tenant at another address.

If the tenant allows another occupant to live at the property without Housing SA’s approval, they’re breaking the conditions of their lease agreement.


If there aren’t enough bedrooms in the property for the number of people in the household in line with the Occupancy standards in public housing, the property’s overcrowded.

Housing SA may be able to help the tenant by:

  • transferring them to a more suitable property in line with the Transfer policy
  • providing a portable sleepout or relocatable building
  • building an extension or converting a property
  • helping them access alternative accommodation - eg renting privately.

Portable sleepouts and relocatable buildings

Housing SA may provide either a portable sleepout or relocatable building if all of the below conditions are met:

  • it can legally and safely be positioned at the property in line with all applicable requirements - eg approval from the local council
  • the property’s overcrowded in line with the Occupancy standards in public housing, and providing the portable sleepout or relocatable building will relieve overcrowding
  • it’ll be used to accommodate an approved household member
  • the intended occupant is aged 13 or older
  • the tenant needs it for at least 18 months from the time of Housing SA’s assessment.

Housing SA has a limited number of portable sleepouts and relocatable buildings. They’re in high demand, and have wait times. Vulnerable and at-risk tenants are given priority. This can include, but isn’t limited to:

  • concerns about child safety
  • someone in the household has a severe disability or health issues
  • domestic abuse is verified in line with the Domestic abuse policy.

The tenant must agree to meet both of the below conditions if they’re provided with a portable sleepout or relocatable building:

  • it’ll be used as a bedroom, and not for any other purpose - eg not as a playroom
  • the area beneath and immediately around it’s kept free from any obstruction by any type of material - eg grass, wood, fuel.

Having a portable sleepout or relocatable building doesn’t affect the tenant’s rent.

Tenants must remain eligible for the portable sleepout or relocatable building while it’s at the property. Housing SA regularly reviews eligibility.

The portable sleepout or relocatable building’s either removed or demolished once the tenant stops being eligible. Tenants must give Housing SA staff and contractors access to the property for this purpose.

Extensions and conversions

Housing SA may build an extension to a property or convert two attached properties into one dwelling if all of the below conditions are met:

  • it’s cost effective
  • it can be done legally and safely in a way that complies with all applicable requirements - eg approval from the local council, Maintenance Accommodation Standards
  • the property’s overcrowded in line with the Occupancy standards in public housing, and the extension or conversion will relieve overcrowding
  • the tenant has a genuine need for it
  • it’s appropriate to the future planning intent for the property - eg the property hasn’t been selected for redevelopment.

The market rent for the property’s reviewed in line with the Rent policy. The tenant’s rent may change.

Related information

Controlling documents

This policy is based on and complies with:

Supporting guidelines

  • Visitors, other occupant and overcrowding guidelines v1

Related policies and other documents

Date this policy applies from

19 October 2018

Version number


The online version of the policy is the approved and current version. There is no guarantee that any printed copies are current.

State Government of South Australia © Copyright DHS [sm v5.4.7.1] .

Provided by:
SA Department for Human Services
Last Updated:
05 Jul 2018
Printed on:
17 Jun 2019
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