ALBURY’S homelessness situation could worsen under new laws in NSW which would see social housing tenants more easily evicted from their homes.
STRICT POLICY: The state government has cracked down on criminal and anti-social behaviour in social housing after a survey of NSW housing tenants shows 78 per cent think antisocial behaviour is a problem.
Almost 3000 people in the Murrumbidgee Districtare homeless or at risk of homelessness annually.
A new one strike policy means the tribunal wouldterminate a tenancy where a serious criminal offence has been committed.
Other minor breaches of tenancy would see a person evicted if they receive three notices within 12 months.
The Tenant Union of NSW senior policy officer Ned Cutcher saidthe NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal could be forced to make unjust decisions to evict people.
“These changes may exacerbate the problem, these people may end up sleeping on couches in the very neighbourhood they have been evicted from,” he said.
“While there are some people who are calculated in criminal conduct, most people I’ve come across were in a bad situation or made an error in judgement.
“Landlords being able to issue strike noticesencourages neighbourhood issues to be dealt with through complaint rather than a more effective meanslike mediation.”
Housing Pathways data shows Albury had 1161 residential social housesatJune 30 2014.
In the 12 months prior,180 applicants were housedand 546remained on the waiting list.
The average expected waiting times were two to five yearsfor a one or two bedroom house and up to two years for a three and four bedroom house.
A FACS spokesman said the government was sending themessage criminal behaviour in social housing was unacceptable.
“The vast majority of social housing tenants do the right thing and deserve to live in a safe environment,” he said.
“Tenants who are evicted under these reforms will have access to the same types of support services that currently exist.
“Where appropriate they may be provided with assistance to rent in the private rental market.”
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