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ACT Government buying homes to top up existing stocks

By Thumper - 23 October 2006 24

According to the ABC, the ACT Government has bought 20 properties at the cost of roughly $6M as a tempory housing measure for destitute people.

Surprisingly, Minister Not Responsible, Katy Gallagher , seems to be making sense in saying, ‘The idea is that we use it, that people can transition out of crisis accommodation”

This is an admirable thing although I would like to hear some more about the scheme, including how long is such a ‘transition’? Who will be using these properties and for how much? And, should not these properties simply become part of the ACT Housing stock?

I must add, at $300K per property these are no hovels, considering they are transitional.

What’s Your opinion?


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24 Responses to
ACT Government buying homes to top up existing stocks
FC 11:04 am 24 Oct 06

I agree that what I said earlier was said with a lot of angst – and was generalising ACT Housing tenants more than is just.
I guess there are plenty of “problem neighbours” who are both home owners and private renters, but as mine are ACT Housing and are affecting my sense of security in my own house I was just being a bit extreme myself.
If it was a family of a different race/culture, and this thread was about that I would have probably ranted on about that (not that I’m proud of that though)
– I am too close to my personal issue to really see the wider issue objectively.

seepi 10:57 am 24 Oct 06

If the govt owns the public housing, they can sell it off if the place is totally trashed. If they rented houses from private landlords, it would cost them more than the value of the house to repairs the damage created by some tenants.
I dont’ know what the answer is for those tenants who really trash places. You can’t kick them out onto the streets, but it seems stupid to just give them another house to trash….

VYBerlinaV8 9:54 am 24 Oct 06

Fair call Simto, but it’s worth remembering that most humans won’t take care of something handed to them for zero effort on their part – which is exactly how some people get into public housing. We also can’t deny that public housing areas suffer from a lot more bad behaviour than expensive suburbs. I know, because I’ve lived in both. As a child I spent a number of years in public housing, and the sorts of things that went on around the neighbourhood were unbelievable. And it wasn’t just a few people doing it, it was lots of them. DISCLAIMER: Personal experience only.

simto 9:20 am 24 Oct 06

Fair enough – the tone felt slightly more like it was the type of tenants that bothered you. But if it’s “Housing doesn’t manage their tenants properly”, then fair enough. I’ve heard that about a few government agencies, actually – even the Defence Housing Authority, whom one would have thought would have well disciplined, polite tenants. But apparently not…

VYBerlinaV8 9:03 am 24 Oct 06

FC makes a good point – the socioeconomic status (wow, that’s really PC for me!) has nothing to do with the problem. The issue is one of compliance with accepted standards of behaviour. There needs to be an expectation that if they trash the place, they get kicked out on their arse.

FC 8:35 am 24 Oct 06

Hey simto, I am not saying anything about the poor being evil, I used to be on the doll, and live in Housing flats.
My point is that I wouldn’t rent to housing as I wouldn’t want to put my neighbours through the shit I have been through .
About a year ago Housing bought the place next door to me and there has been nothing but trouble – drug dealing, burnouts, domestics, punch ups, damage to property. Its bull shit because if it was private rental they would have been forced to clean up their act or get out.
That’s the way it should be no matter whether it is private rental or public.

Thumper 7:55 am 24 Oct 06

“Housing is a basic human right, we all need it. Doesn’t have to be flash, but we all need to feel a certain level of security”

Well said Miz.

miz 9:14 pm 23 Oct 06

emd, no low-income person paying rent could possibly buy in Canberra anyway!

Johnboy, these houses were for sale, not for rent, so I don’t think it will affect the private rental market. Destitute persons can usually only stay in crisis accommodation for a couple of weeks at most (eg Samaritan House), and in the current market would have difficulties finding a place to rent. It makes sense to, if you like, buy more time for getting their act together (eg saving for a bond, applying for termporary support services).

Also not all Housing tenants that are paying full rent are ‘high income earners’ – I am paying full rent (until the rent increase, when I will qualify again for a small rebate) on an APS3 wage. It’s killing me, because they are counting my gross which is before tax and HECS repayments, and they even include 10% of my family payment that the Feds are paying me ‘because I am on a low income’!!!! One hand giveth, the other taketh away. I could not possibly afford to rent privately and risk having to uproot all over again, find another bond, find another school, etc etc.

FC, you ask why stay in a govie house? Simple – I have had to move so many times while in the private rental market I NEVER want to move house ever, ever again – it is expensive and massively unsettling for the kids. That’s the problem with private rental, you are completely at the mercy of the market. Of course, as a good tenant (and a good neighbour) ACT Housing can utilise my rent for their other expenditure.

No offence people but a few of you seem to have no idea about how harsh life can be sometimes. Housing is a basic human right, we all need it. Doesn’t have to be flash, but we all need to feel a certain level of security.

emd 8:17 pm 23 Oct 06

ACT Housing do have a scheme where private investors buy a property and then lease it back to ACT Housing.

As for the current housing purchases, it makes some kind of sense to me. If it’s only “transitional housing”, the tenants can be kicked out when their income is high enough to pay market rent. Or when their name comes up for a long-term lease on another Housing property (the waiting list can be 4 years for some property types). Which frees up the property for another tenant in crisis.

I do think Housing should build some houses though. Better than buying up all the cheap housing and therefore pricing some low-income buyers out of the market.

simto 4:26 pm 23 Oct 06

I do love FC’s reasoning – “The poor must be evil, otherwise why would they be poor? Burn them, burn them all!!”.

We get some special people here sometimes…

FC 3:37 pm 23 Oct 06

No way I would rent to Housing.
I wouldn’t do that to the old neighbours.

VYBerlinaV8 3:24 pm 23 Oct 06

Why doesn’t govco simply rent the houses they need from the private market? That way they could vary their supply according to demand. Of course, they would need to provide surety of damage repair to landlords, and wouold probably need to have longer term (say 5 year) leases, but I’m sure it could be more effective than wearing the capital cost of all those homes. It would also give them the option of having a wider variety of properties ‘in stock’.

As a landlord, I’d be happy to rent some property to them long term…as long as I knew they would fix any damage…

FC 3:13 pm 23 Oct 06

Don’t you have to pay market value when you are a higher income earner anyway?? In that case why wouldn’t you just go private.
They should kick the junkie losers out that don’t pay their rent and then those houses would be freed up for “transitional housing”.
It’s bullshit that Housing tenants can get into thousands of dollars debt before they are evicted.
If they cant manage to pay $40 a week out of the money they get paid for sitting on their asses then they should just be taken out the back and shot – I don’t give a shit if they have “complex needs”
Screw ’em, they are a drain on the economy and a waste of resouces.

johnboy 2:07 pm 23 Oct 06

The problem is that Housing ACT’s properties are still clogged by high income earners with security of tenure.

They’re trying to address their ability to provide emergency accommodation (IMHO what should be their primary responsiblity) by taking more properties out of the private rental market.

So once again the hated private renters are screwed at public expense while the rorting secrurity of tenure senior public servants maintain their position.

Yippee!

Spectra 1:51 pm 23 Oct 06

I dunno, at $300k a pop, at today’s prices they’re not exactly salubrious either. Sure, they could buy all the cheapest ones they could find, but then there’s the question of how much it would cost to bring them up to a decent standard and keep them there. No point in buying cheap stuff if it’s going to cost you more to replace the floor someone fell through 6 months down the track.

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