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The purpose of this glossary is to define terms commonly used in our research as well as in housing, homelessness, urban and cities policy. It is a useful reference to help you familiarise you with housing-specific terms used across our publications and on our website.

This glossary is limited to terms and acronyms most used by Australian academics and governments.

If there is a term you would like to see included in the AHURI Glossary, please contact us at



Rapid rehousing

A service response for people experiencing homelessness. The aim is to obtain housing immediately and provide tenants with support services to address their needs and enable them to sustain their tenancy.

See homelessness

Real Estate Investment Trust

An investment entity that bundles together investors’ contributions so as to invest in a number of rental dwellings. In Australia, REITs are one type of the larger category of Managed Investment Trusts (MITs) and are used in the commercial property sector but not in the residential sector. MITS are expected to have a ‘passive, pass-through character’ in their investments, for example in commercial properties they rely on rents to make a profit rather than through expecting capital gains on buying and selling properties (which is more prevalent in the private rental sector).

Remote Indigenous housing

Housing which contains one or more people who identify as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin and experience great difficulty accessing the services they need and the products they wish to purchase. Remoteness refers to being located at a distance from a specified or significant point of reference. As such it has both quantitative and qualitative meanings. Quantitatively, the Accessibility/ Remoteness Index of Australia Plus (ARIA+) measures remoteness in terms of a community’s distance along a road network from each of five categories/sizes of service centres. Qualitatively it can refer to the perception of isolation in relation to family and to cultural experiences and expectations.

Rental stress

Residential Aged care

Residential Tenancy legislation

Tenancy legislation formally defines the rights of tenants to occupy dwellings, the length and terms of their tenure, and the grounds for termination. These legislative provisions, which can also include regulation of rent increases and minimum amounts for advance rent and bonds, are critical to security and affordability of rental housing. They also affect rental supply and rental costs.

Residual income approach

Residual income method

The residual income method is a housing affordability measurement which calculates how much is left over for housing (such as rent, mortgage or other housing costs) after paying for a standard budget of household goods and services relevant to different household types and sizes. The advantages of the residual income method (over the 30:40 rule) are that it incorporates local housing costs and income levels; covers households earning in a wider range of income levels; and can include private rental market tenants, home owners and those renting in affordable housing programs.

Retirement village (self-contained)

Retirement villages can operate under a number of different legal ownership and leasing structures, but generally they involve an individual (with a restricted lower age limit, often 55 years) buying a form of ongoing accommodation usually from a for-profit housing provider. Housing may be provided in multi-storey buildings, semi-detached low level residences or even stand alone detached housing.

Risk of homelessness

Rooming house

Rooming houses are buildings that contain multiple bedrooms or units that are supplied on a furnished basis, often with shared access to communal facilities such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundries and living areas. They are usually let on a weekly basis to multiple, unrelated residents and are considered a form of marginal housing (i.e. relatively insecure housing with limited legal housing rights).

Rough sleeping

A term describing people experiencing homelessness living mostly on the street, in parks or other forms of non-sheltered or insecure places.

See homelessness