29/07/2020 | Michelle Lensink MLC | Better Services

Six times more tenants have been evicted from public housing under a new Liberal Government policy cracking down on people who engage in serious and ongoing antisocial behaviour.

The SA Housing Authority’s new antisocial behaviour policy has resulted in 146 tenant evictions in 12 months since the policy was announced in April 2019, up from 20 the previous year – a 630 per cent increase.

The new policy gives up to three warnings (one verbal, two written) in relation to antisocial behaviour that is persistent.

It reduces the number of “steps” before seeking eviction from around seven warnings previously, to just three. Illegal activity will lead to immediate moves to evict.

In April this year, the antisocial behaviour policy was toughened further. When a tenant receives a strike, it now remains active for 12 months, rather than the previous six months.

Antisocial behaviour eviction examples in 2019-20 include:

* Drunken/drug affected large parties and gatherings * Cultivation of illegal substances

* Intimidating and aggressive behaviour/tenants threatening to injure/harm neighbours

* Targeted abuse, property damage and assault

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the data clearly showed the Government does not tolerate tenants who repeatedly do the wrong thing.

“The data clearly reflects we unequivocally do not tolerate the minority of tenants who repeatedly do the wrong thing and flout the law – and these are the people this policy is targeted at,” said Minister Lensink.

“All South Australians, including our public housing tenants, have the right to live peacefully at home, without being subjected to antisocial behaviour by their neighbours.

“I need to stress that the majority of our public housing tenants do the right thing, respect others and their property and pay their rent on time and I urge those who defy these simple measures to stop – and seek help if they need it, or risk being evicted.

“The Liberal Government’s new antisocial behaviour policy makes it crystal clear tenants who engage in serious and ongoing antisocial behaviour will get fewer warnings and face stronger, swifter action and eviction if they do not improve their behaviour.”

For serious antisocial behaviour that impacts on a person of the community’s safety or for serious alleged illegal activity, immediate referral to SACAT for eviction may be taken.

If eviction occurs, the tenant will not be able to seek housing with the Authority for 12 months. Tenants who are evicted are offered support by homelessness services, if they want it.

Where a customer’s tenancy is affected by a mitigating circumstance like mental illness or DV, housing staff will work with NGOs and other support services to put in place support series to help modify the behaviour.

“Where appropriate, staff can arrange support services and early intervention to help people to take the steps they need to maintain their tenancy and staff are working to identify at-risk tenants earlier so that supports can be put in place sooner,” said Minister Lensink.

“All tenants are expected to be accountable for their behaviour and respect the rights and privacy of their neighbours. It is also their responsibility to ensure appropriate behaviour by their family and any visitors to their home.”

For more information about the policy: https://www.housing.sa.gov.au/