This policy sets out:

  • when and what type of maintenance Housing SA will carry out at South Australian Housing Trust properties
  • the tenant’s responsibilities when making alterations or modifications
  • who’s responsible for paying for costs associated with maintenance.

This policy also applies to housing managed by Housing SA in Aboriginal communities, except where otherwise specified.

Housing SA may provide maintenance on occupied Homeland properties in remote areas of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands at the owner's request if both the below conditions are met:

  • it's within 30 kilometres of an Aboriginal community
  • there's a risk to an occupant's health or safety.

Housing SA modifies properties to meet the needs of people with disabilities in line with the Housing modifications for people with a disability policy.

Tenants may appeal maintenance decisions and charges in line with the Appeals policy.

Maintenance standards

Work is carried out in a trades-like manner, for example work is completed to the same standard as a tradesperson, or a registered or licensed person, for example electrician, where required by law.

All maintenance work complies with:

  • relevant legislation and regulations
  • all work, health and safety requirements
  • all relevant South Australian Housing Trust policies and procedures.

Responsive maintenance is unplanned, reactive work, to restore an item or area to an appropriate standard in line with this policy, for example dripping taps, blocked sewers or drains.

Programmed maintenance is targeted maintenance that’s part of a planned program, for example external painting, kitchen or wet area upgrades.

In Aboriginal communities, programmed maintenance is scheduled during the year and may include plumbing, hot water service and electrical safety checks. Responsive maintenance requests may be addressed during programmed maintenance, depending on timeframes.

Fair wear and tear

Fair wear and tear is deterioration or damage associated with age and reasonable use, for example worn vinyl, dents and scratches to timber flooring, deteriorating fly screens.

Non-fair wear and tear is any damage caused by mistreatment or neglect, regardless of intention, for example broken windows, holes in walls and doors.

Housing SA’s responsibilities

Housing SA's responsible for:

  • maintaining the property to a suitable standard as set out in the Maintenance accommodation standards
  • determining if damage is caused by mistreatment and neglect
  • paying for maintenance costs associated with fair wear and tear
  • investigating and managing insurance claims
  • managing maintenance issues related to domestic abuse in line with the Domestic abuse policy

Tenant’s responsibilities

Tenants are responsible for:

  • the basic maintenance of the property, for example replacing light globes
  • keeping the property and surrounding area clean and in good condition, for example cleaning, removing rubbish
  • developing and maintaining garden areas that are their responsibility, for example mowing lawns, controlling weeds
  • keeping plumbing fixtures, pipes, water tanks and drainage systems clean and sanitary, for example not flushing sanitary items down the toilet
  • telling Housing SA about any damage, blockage, breakage or deterioration in or around the property as soon as possible
  • providing access to the property so maintenance can be carried out, in line with the Maintenance non-access procedures
  • paying a non-access call-out fee if they report emergency maintenance but are not at home when the contractor arrives
  • paying Housing SA for costs incurred to fix non-fair wear and tear, unless it's the result of illegal activity caused by someone who isn't the tenant, another occupant or a visitor, and a Police Incident Report number for the incident is provided.

Tenants living in Aboriginal communities aren’t charged non-access call-out fees.

Prioritising maintenance

Maintenance is prioritised depending on how urgent it is.

Priority 0

Maintenance requested by Housing SA to make a site safe in an emergency event, in line with emergency service attendance at a site, for example a gas explosion, vehicle impact, major fire.

Work starts within 45 minutes of it being reported and is completed within 5 hours. This response time is not available in all locations.

Priority 1

Maintenance that may affect someone’s health and safety or makes a site unsafe, for example blocked or broken sewerage systems, broken door locks or no hot water.

Work starts within 4 hours of it being reported and is completed within 5 business days.

Priority 2

Maintenance that causes a serious inconvenience to the tenant, for example a partially blocked toilet, or has the potential to be dangerous, for example absence of power, gas or water to the site.

Work starts within 24 hours of it being reported and is completed within 7 business days.

Priority 3

Maintenance work that’s not urgent, for example refit a cupboard door or ease a door.

Work starts within 10 business days of it being reported and at a time agreed to with the tenant. It's completed within 20 business days.

Priority 4

Repairs with a specific start or completion date as determined by Housing SA, for example programmed maintenance, vacant properties or maintenance that needs a specific start time.

Prioritising maintenance in Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands

Priority is determined by the Maintenance Field Officer.

Priority 1 work generally starts either:

  • the same day if it’s reported to the contractor before 1pm
  • the next business day if it’s reported after 1pm.

Priority 2 work starts within 2 business days of it being reported.

Priority 3 work starts within 5 business days of it being reported.

Priority 4 and 5 relates to work that causes inconvenience, for example a dripping tap, or could affect the value of the property long-term.

Priority 4 work starts within 7 business days of it being reported.

Priority 5 work starts within 30 business days of it being raised by the Maintenance Field Officer.

Priority P is assigned to repairs carried out annually or bi-annually with a specific start or completion date as determined by Housing SA, for example electrical safety or water checks.

Home improvements and alterations

Tenants must apply to Housing SA for approval to carry out their own home improvements or alterations.

Housing SA assesses the tenant’s request, taking into account:

  • the property’s Future Planning Intent
  • if the alteration’s suitable for the property
  • looking at the property’s certificate of title
  • any encumbrances or easements.

Tenants are responsible for:

  • getting Housing SA’s written approval to carry out the work before starting
  • getting all other relevant approvals, for example from the local council
  • paying for all costs associated with the work, for example paying contractors
  • making sure work is carried out in a trades-like manner by appropriately qualified and licensed professionals, for example electrician
  • providing Housing SA with all documents relating to the approval and installation, for example certificate of compliance, council approval
  • maintaining and repairing improvements or alterations
  • removing the improvement or alteration, and repairing any damage this causes when they leave the property, except if Housing SA agrees otherwise.

Related information

Controlling documents

This policy is based on and complies with:

Supporting documents

  • Maintenance accommodation standards
  • Maintenance non-access procedures
  • Maintenance programs procedures
  • Maintenance tenant charges procedures
  • Property incidents and personal injury procedures
  • Tenant alterations procedures

Related policies and other documents

Date this policy applies from

1 January 2023

Version number


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