The Member for South Perth, John McGrath MLA, has called for a review of the Homeswest ‘Good Neighbour’ policy and for the Department of Housing and Works to be provided with greater resources, to address complaints about ongoing incidents of bad behaviour from Homeswest tenants.
In a recent speech to Parliament, Mr McGrath outlined how he continually receives complaints about some Homeswest tenants who are not being good neighbours.
“With the shortage of public housing in Western Australia, it is unacceptable that people who are not prepared to be good neighbours can reside in public housing,” Mr McGrath told Parliament.
Mr McGrath, who himself grew up in a Homeswest home in Hamilton Hill, stressed that the majority of Homeswest tenants are well behaved.
“Most Homeswest tenants are responsible, law-abiding citizens. It is an irresponsible minority of Homeswest tenants that we are concerned with,” he said.
Mr McGrath also related to Parliament the story of one of his constituents who, after buying and moving into a house in the electorate, was forced to move out because of the unruly behaviour of Homeswest tenants next door. Although the property is now being rented out, that tenancy is in doubt because of the ongoing bad behaviour of these same Homeswest tenants.
“We do not want to be evicting people all the time,” Mr McGrath said.
“But the current process has meant that there is no impetus for tenants to comply with their tenancy agreements, including the good behaviour requirements, because the threat of eviction does not have teeth.
“The policy that needs to be known is – if you don’t respect your tenancy it will go to someone who will.”
In addition to reviewing the Good Neighbour Policy, Mr McGrath suggested that the Department of Housing and Works needed to be given greater support to manage tenants with behavioural issues.
“Unfortunately eviction in many cases creates more problems for these tenants, particularly when the ‘bad’ behaviour itself is stemming from some personal or family problems.
“The Department does a great job but it is always under immense pressure. It needs assistance in dealing with Homeswest matters from other Government departments to be able to address the underlying reasons for this unacceptable behaviour.
“We need to see greater support given to the Department – to manage and rehabilitate unruly tenants; to the Homeswest tenants – to address the source of behavioural problems; and to other members of the community – who are dealing with unacceptable neighbours and currently feel like their right to peace and good orders are being ignored.”