Lax landlords fuel frustration of local residents

Shadow Minister for Housing and Works Mr John McGrath has called on the Department to become more stringent in ensuring Homeswest tenants do not escape punishment if they fail to comply with their tenancy agreements.

Mr McGrath said that complaints he received about anti-social behaviour and reports of unkempt properties were too often about Homeswest residences.

“Local communities are being disrupted and complaints about Homeswest tenants are seen to go unanswered,” Mr McGrath said.

“As it stands, my office is inundated with complaints about some Homeswest tenants and, at that; I am hearing repeated complaints about the same Homeswest tenants about issues that have been occurring for many years.”

The Minister for Housing and Works answered Questions this week, put on Notice by Mr McGrath in March, about the number of: complaints, warnings, court orders and evictions relevant to Homeswest tenants.

The Minister’s response indicated that approximately 22% of the court orders obtained from 2005-2007 resulted in eviction of the tenants.  The Minister explained the significant drop in numbers as being a result of tenants: vacating the premises; agreeing to participate in more intensive tenancy support programs; or implementing debt clearance arrangements with the Department.

“Only a small proportion of these limited Homeswest evictions are because of anti-social behaviour,” Mr McGrath said, “However, as the Minister could not provide certain figures, I was unable to trace the path from the number of complaints lodged through to the number of evictions effected – which is really the crux of this matter.

“There is clearly a breakdown between public complaints and Departmental action.”

“The State is providing a valuable service through Homeswest but it is not being managed properly.

“I acknowledge that not all problem tenants are in Homeswest homes,” Mr McGrath said, “but it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure the highest (tenant) standards for the service it provides, particularly now when the demands on public housing has increased so significantly.”

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