Public housing tenants given chance to act appropriately
ROWDY, destructive and party-going social housing tenants will have three chances to redeem themselves before they are kicked out of their state-owned homes in Queensland.
The recently enacted State Government policy will come as welcome news in bad tenant hot spots such as Mackay and the Sunshine Coast, where a significant number of breach notices were issued last year.
Housing Minister Tim Mander launched the policy on Thursday and said people needed to realise public housing was a privilege that came with certain responsibilities.
"At a bare minimum, people are expected to refrain from destroying the property or using it to conduct a criminal enterprise," he said.
"Similarly, there is an expectation that tenants won't behave in a way that is unnecessarily disruptive to others in the neighbourhood."
Housing Department figures show there were 24,529 complaints about anti-social behaviour in public housing last year and unruly tenants caused $5 million in damage.Social housing tenants who receive three strikes - including for damage to property, out-of-control parties or aggressive behaviour - in 12 months will be evicted.
They will then be barred from applying for further social housing for three months.
"After the first strike, tenants will be issued with a written warning," Mr Mander said.
"After the second, they will have to sign an acceptable behaviour agreement to demonstrate that they understand what is, and what is not, acceptable."
Over the 2011-2012 financial year, 479 notice to remedy forms were handed out to social housing tenants in Mackay - one of the largest numbers in the state behind Cairns and the Brisbane area.
In Maroochydore 316 notices were issued.
The Opposition questioned whether the new policy took away a right to appeal from a tenant evicted after only one serious strike.
"There are no details yet of the Newman Government's approach especially whether it is based on a Western Australia model that does not allow a tenant to appeal a 'strike' notice or enter mediation, where the current Queensland model does," Shadow Housing Minister Jo-Ann Miller said.
"This is another example of the Newman Government demonising disadvantaged Queenslanders and taking rights away from tenants who may already be in a position where they are unable to defend themselves."
Tenants who cause extensive damage to a property or found to be producing drugs will be evicted immediately under the new housing policy.