Our History

A cooperative is an autonomous association of people united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.

Rental Housing Cooperatives (RHCs) began in the 1980s as an alternative to public housing. Aligning with the ethos of the times, government properties were offered to RHCs under a headlease agreement to be managed using community development principles.

Click on the years below to discover our journey to becoming SouthEast Housing Co-operative:


As the largest Rental Housing Cooperative in Victoria, SouthEast moves to new premises at 9 Indra Road Blackburn South in July, premises previously occupied by Eastern Suburbs Rental Housing Co-operative.


SouthEast officially becomes the largest Rental Housing Cooperative in Victoria after merging with Eastern Suburbs Rental Housing Co-operative. SouthEast now owns and manages a total of 204 properties!


SouthEast achieved registration with the Housing Registrar as a Housing Provider.


The new structure worked so well that the Moorabbin Rental Housing Cooperative became part of the organisation.


SouthEast Housing Cooperative Ltd. was founded through the merger of the Ringwood/Croydon, Oakleigh, and Frankston Cooperatives. They sought to consolidate community assets and ensure members would have control over an effective and efficient housing management structure.


Residential Tenancies Act 1997.
Joint Housing Collective folds and is replaced by the United Housing Coalition. Community Housing Federation of Victoria formed as the peak member- based organisation representing the views of community housing organisations in Victoria.


Labor Government in Victoria establishes a Rental Housing Cooperative Unit within the Ministry of Housing.


Housing Cooperative.
Rental Housing Cooperative Program established by Minister of Housing in Victoria to place full management control over public housing to tenant occupiers. Houses are to be leased by cooperatives. Fitzroy Collingwood Rental Housing Association is established under Companies Act with board of local government, professionals and tenants.


David Scott convenes a Rental Housing Cooperative Committee and a proposal for cost rental housing associations is submitted in September to the Australian Housing Corporation.


Following a visit to England, the Director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Victoria, David Scott, was convinced that rental housing associations could make a valuable contribution by providing a new form of housing management in Australia. He published two booklets – Housing Associations in the United Kingdom: Why they are Needed and How they could Function in Australia and Cost Rental Housing Associations: A New Initiative to meet Housing Need. The idea was taken up by SHELTER and a Rental Housing Association Subcommittee was formed.

From humble beginnings to becoming Victoria’s largest housing co-operative, empowering communities through affordable, sustainable, and inclusive housing solutions.

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