Application process

If you're referred for assessment, the interview will take about an hour. We’ll discuss your situation and the type of housing you need. If you can’t come to an interview, we may be able to talk to you over the phone.

What the assessment is based on

The assessment of your housing need is based on the household composition, housing circumstances and housing history. This includes five main criteria.

  • Adequacy: takes into account your current living situation, the accommodation’s physical condition/structure or lack of basic facilities, over-crowding or lack of security of the tenancy of your current accommodation.
  • Suitability: your need to move due to a disability or for medical or personal needs or where there’s household or neighbourhood tension, family violence or other violence relating to your current living situation.
  • Affordability: ability to afford alternative, suitable housing in the private market.
  • Accessibility: the ability to access and afford suitable and adequate housing as a result of discrimination, lack of financial means to move and availability of alternative, affordable suitable housing in the private market.
  • Sustainability: financial management difficulties, and difficulties in social functioning and lack of social skills.

What you'll need to apply

We'll need information to confirm your identity and that you're eligible for public housing. If we don’t already have the following information about you, you may be asked to bring it to the interview.

  • Proof of who you are, for example your birth certificate, passport or driver licence.
  • Proof of any before-tax income for the 52 weeks before your application, for example, wages, holiday pay and any other income.
  • Proof of your assets and their value.
  • Your business accounts, if you have your own business.
  • Trust documents, if you're involved in a trust, for example, trust deed, deed of debt, gift statements, or accounts.
  • Full birth certificates for each dependent child in your care.
  • Proof of your current housing situation (for example your tenancy agreement).

We may ask you to bring the same information about other members of your household who are moving with you. You also need to tell us at least three areas where you prefer to live so you can be matched to a suitable property.

Household members are people who permanently live with you, and can include extended family and boarders.

If you qualify for public housing, you’ll probably have to wait for a suitable house to become available. A suitable property for you is one that meets your housing needs as agreed during your assessment.

People with the greatest needs are placed first. While you’re waiting for public housing it’s a good idea to keep looking for other housing. We can help you with that.

What if I don’t qualify?

If you don’t qualify for public housing, we’ll help you to get the information you need to find a place to live.

For more information on housing options and how we can help you find the right house for your needs please visit the housing options section of this website.

Reviews of decisions

If we’ve made a decision that you don’t understand or agree with, please talk to us first. We’ll be pleased to explain the decision and put things right if there’s been a mistake.

If you still disagree with our decision, you can ask for it to be reviewed. We have forms available for you to use or you can write to us.

Decisions relating to social housing that can be reviewed include:

  • the assessment or reassessment of
    • your eligibility or continued eligibility for public housing
    • your housing needs
  • calculation of the rate of income-related rent
  • the establishment and recovery of income-related rent debt.

You need to make your request for review within three months of the decision. When there is good reason for the delay a review may be possible after this time.

You don’t have to use legal language. Just state what decision you disagree with and anything else you think we should know.

If your decision is upheld by the Benefits Review Committee, you may then be able to appeal this decision with the Social Security Appeal Authority, an independent judicial tribunal.

Up until 14 April 2014 these appeals were heard by the State Housing Appeal Authority, administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The State Housing Appeal Authority will continue to hear appeals in relation to income-related rent debt established before 14 April 2014. Housing New Zealand (HNZ) is authorised to investigate and collect existing income-related rent debt from former and current HNZ tenants.