Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Trashy newspaper going to war on tenants, facts

We'd prefer to ignore the Daily Telegraph's latest attack on public housing tenants ('Going to war on trashy housos'*), but since we were so recently discussing the relevant facts and figures, we'll engage.

The Tele reports that 'taxpayers are slugged $10 million each year for public housing tenants wilfully trashing their properties', and that this is 'taking money away from necessary maintenance and the building of new houses'.

Some perspective, from the NSW Land and Housing's most recent annual report: in 2012-13, LAHC spent $203 million on repairs and maintenance (for its 145 248 properties).

So, repairs to 'wilfully trashed' properties represents less than five per cent of its repair bill.

That figure might be reduced further, if we could account for the cases where Housing NSW, at the end of a tenancy, writes up as 'Tenant Repair Costs' damage that properly should be called fair wear and tear or a defect for which the tenant is not responsible. We know from the TAASs that this sometimes happens.

Of course, it also sometimes happens that a tenant intentionally or negligently damages a property. It would be terrific if it never happened. But we should keep in mind that it represents a very small proportion of LAHC's repair bill.

As for paying the bill, also keep in mind that in 2012-13 LAHC received $762 million in rents and other charges from tenants – which is more than six times the amount of the grant it received from the NSW State Government ($126 million) – and that it ended the year with $163 million cash in the bank.

But the Tele wants to go to 'war', and reports that 'Government sources suggest a quicker eviction process is necessary for tenants who damage properties because the current investigation and termination process is so lengthy that tenants are simply disappearing, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill'.

What is the Tele – or its 'Government sources' – saying: 'no, don't disappear, that way we can't evict you first?' Changing the law in this regard would do nothing to increase the prospect of recovering the costs of repairs legitimately charged to tenants – in the small number of cases where that actually happens at all.

* We don't link to the Tele. Google if you want to read it.


  1. I thought the whole article to be a 'beatup' with little actual truth/fact in it.
    HNSW tenants get inspections, may not be as regualr as private but they have them.
    HNSW teants get bills at the end of their tenancies, and if they do not pay them then they get put on a list of never to be re-housed. Just because there are children involved does not mean they are automatically granted a property.
    The whole NCAT process makes it fair. 15 evicted out of 51 may suggest that there was not a strong case to evict, and these figures do not show the probably large number of tenants who actually leave when they are given the notice to vacate.
    A process brought in by the government that means tenants can be evicted ewithout an ncat hearing would need to be examined very carefully, I would rather one 'dodgy' tenant stayed to one innocent being evicted without due process.
    The comment about needing witnesses and they being to scared shows how out of touch these people are, you do not need a witness in a property damage hearing, you need evidence and if HNSW did proper ingoing and outgoing condition reports for every tenant they would have this evidence without needing a witness.

  2. Why do public housing tenants wreck their homes. They always have stolen shopping trolleys in their yard. Washing on the verandahs and toys everywhere. They are always so rough


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