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$1.4 million owed in public housing rent

By Barcham - 26 June 2013 8

ABC News have reported that documents revealed under the Freedom of Information act show quite a large amount of rent is owed by public housing to the ACT, most of it from the southern suburbs.

The Freedom of Information request also asked for the number of tenants facing termination orders but the request was denied, saying it was unreasonable to manually search the records of each of Housing ACT’s more than 11,000 tenants.

The documents also reveal Housing ACT spent $88,000 in 2011-2012 on legal retainers to deal with residential tenancy matters, increasing to $110,000 this financial year

Shane Rattenbury says that this is not the result of some epidemic of public housing tenants not paying their rent.

We receive 99 per cent of the rent that we charge public housing tenants,” he said.

“These figures are comparable to the private sector rental market and we’ve also got a program where a tenant who does get four weeks behind in their rent or with a debt exceeding $500 is required to enter onto a payment plan.”

The FOI documents are available here.

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8 Responses to
$1.4 million owed in public housing rent
thehutch 9:24 am 27 Jun 13

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

Tenants know that it’s highly unlikely they will be kicked out and even if they are they are put on top of the emergency list and housed straight away. Not sure about rent but there are many human trash families living in a new or refurbed house for only a couple of years before it is trashed so bad it’s deemed unlivable. Their dept is wiped and they get to trash a nice new place that should be going to one of the many family’s on emergency list who would appreciate it and look after it.[/quote

Whilst the above rings true sometimes, the majority of public housing tenants are pretty good tenants. Some of them are terrible. Its worth noting that some people wait on the list, get a house and then trash it (or their ‘friends’ do)… waiting on the list does not equal appreciation of having a roof over their head. waving debts to gov (except for small amounts) goes through treasury – not an easy thing – to my knowledge anyway.

thehutch 9:12 am 27 Jun 13

nazasaurus said :

My friend worked in this area and confirmed that you CANNOT be expelled or even compelled to pay your debts. One particular tenant on northbourne ave was thousands in arrears.. after much toing and froing the guy basically told them, I cant pay rent AND make the weekly payments on the new Commodore he had, so basically shove it.

I suggest you’re friend may have slightly exaggerated that story.

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 8:38 pm 26 Jun 13

Tenants know that it’s highly unlikely they will be kicked out and even if they are they are put on top of the emergency list and housed straight away. Not sure about rent but there are many human trash families living in a new or refurbed house for only a couple of years before it is trashed so bad it’s deemed unlivable. Their dept is wiped and they get to trash a nice new place that should be going to one of the many family’s on emergency list who would appreciate it and look after it.

Mr Evil 8:36 pm 26 Jun 13

Yeah, but I’m sure when all these public housing people become an surgeons, lawyers, senior public officials or airline pilots, they’ll pay it all back then……….

breda 5:45 pm 26 Jun 13

In the Bega Court thread, I just posted about ‘perverse incentives’. Here is a classic example. In the real world, if you don’t pay your rent, you get evicted. Why would anyone ever leave public housing, where you pay a pittance and get threatened with a “payment plan” if you don’t cough up?

How long does someone have to be behind before they get evicted?

$1.4 million doesn’t sound like much, but assuming the average rent to be $140 per week (a generous estimate) that is 10,000 weeks of unpaid rent. Sounds a bit different to the 99% figure quoted by the Minister, doesn’t it?

no idea 5:00 pm 26 Jun 13

Geez and they just busted the ar*e to remove the people paying market rent, well played…….

switch 3:56 pm 26 Jun 13

Priorities come first.

nazasaurus 3:33 pm 26 Jun 13

My friend worked in this area and confirmed that you CANNOT be expelled or even compelled to pay your debts. One particular tenant on northbourne ave was thousands in arrears.. after much toing and froing the guy basically told them, I cant pay rent AND make the weekly payments on the new Commodore he had, so basically shove it.

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