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They destroy, you pay.

By Mike Jeffreys - 7 November 2014 35

vandalise-stock

What to do with the ferals?

We don’t seem to have much by way of answers in this part of the world.

I’m talking about the wreckers who cost us money and make damned nuisances of themselves but not to the point where we are prepared to put them in gaol – in this case those who vandalize their taxpayer provided accommodation.

ABC Online reported recently that “According to an ACT Government department, public housing properties in the ACT received nearly $73,000 worth of damage each week last financial year.

ACT Housing and Community Services figures show in all more than $3.7 million in damage was reported at properties due to vandalism, misuse or neglect in 2013-14.

That amount was on top of damage caused through normal wear and tear.”

So, it’s deliberate – or certainly avoidable – damage.

Housing and Community Services executive director David Matthews sought to dilute the issue with some meaningless maths.
He averaged out the damage bill – to no point whatever – and told us that it worked out to $320 per property.
In doing so, he contradicted his previous position that most tenants are responsible types.

On the one hand Mr Matthews presumably wants us to believe that only a small proportion of the tenants are deliberately destructive but then goes on to amortise the cost over the lot.
This seems hardly fair to the people who look after the properties they live in, and I am prepared to believe Mr Matthews when he says this is true of the majority.

It acknowledges the real world position where in any given example a small number of miscreants usually cause most of the trouble.
He goes on to say “But in the context of 11,800 properties and the over 20,000 people who live in public housing, the amount is not unreasonable.
“I think we experience exactly the same issues as everywhere else in the country and even in the private rental market generally.”
Neither of those statements is correct.

It’s not reasonable for a few ferals to needlessly waste money paid in tax by the reasonably law abiding just because they hate the world, don’t value what is given to them free or are so lazy and dissolute they simply don’t care to keep their habitat in good order.
As to his second comment, apparently Mr Matthews’ Granny never told him that two wrongs don’t make a right.
Also I dispute the idea the private rental market operates the same way.
Bad tenants get found out, get evicted, lose their bond money, find it hard to rent again and so on.

When I was in Canberra I remember getting phone calls on the air from public service employees who told me that the files on the consistent troublemakers used to get put to the bottom of the pile (these days I assume figuratively speaking) because it was just all too hard.
I don’t think we’re really going to see anything much done, but for entertainment purposes only, let me recount what was told to me by a radio announcer from Singapore years ago.
He said that when the administration needed factory fodder to keep the production lines rolling, they encouraged thousands of what were described as “hill people” to leave their mud huts and move to where the urban action was.
They were provided accommodation in government buildings at a nominal rent.
These were people to whom indoor plumbing and cooking was a new adventure.

But here’s the clever bit: the authorities would leave them alone for six months or so to give them enough time to get used to enjoying the pleasure of having money to spend on all the goods and services a developed modern city can provide.

In other words, they trained them to become good, dependent members of the consumer society.
Then the housing inspectors would call.

For every careless use (or non-use) of the bathroom facilities, for all the nasty stains, rips, tears, holes in the carpet, the walls or whatever – they were heavily fined.
This meant that our by now committed consumers had their consuming curtailed because of the sharp decrease in disposable income as a result of having to pay those heavy fines over months and years.

My informant assured me that the next time the inspectors called, there would be hardly a burn mark to be seen or stain to be explained.
Of course I don’t expect anything like the above to happen in the ACT.

I’m just offering what I hope is a pleasant mental picture of what might be done in an alternate universe if the thought of your hard earned being deliberately wasted makes you angry.

What’s Your opinion?


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They destroy, you pay.
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Genie 4:42 pm 10 Nov 14

HenryBG said :

Antagonist said :

*All damage that is not fair wear and tear.* That means if I lock myself out of my house and need a locksmith to let me in, it will be reported in the Annual Report as ‘vandalism, misuse or neglect’. Or the $500+ sliding door window that was broken by my kids playing cricket is an act of ‘vandalism, misuse or neglect’. And no matter how much noise you or Mike Jeffreys make, the money is still recovered from the tenant (or former tenant as the case may be). It is not lost revenue. There are no free rides.

This is just bizarre.

If I lock myself out and have to smash a windown, or if my kids whack a cricket ball through a window, I fix it.

Apparently, if you have been successfully attached to the Housing Commission teat for 37 years, you believe the taxpayers have to pay for these things on your behalf.

The sense of entitlement is actually quite horrifying.

Well said Henry ! Although the reality is it’s probably the minority who we actually hear about.

My mother’s elderly neighbour currently lives along in a 3 bedroom house. Despite being asked to, she refuses to move because it’s “her house”.

She also has someone from the Government come mow her lawn monthly, rubbish removal monthly and all sorts of other entitlements. Sad reality is, she is more than perfectly capable of mowing her lawn by herself as over spring/summer she does just this every couple of days. Sends my mother batty having to listen to a lawnmower every other day.

Also made for a good laugh when the paid contractors rocked up for her monthly mow, scratching their heads at a lawn that didn’t need mowing.

Antagonist 10:23 am 10 Nov 14

gazket said :

“Housing and Community Services executive director David Matthews sought to dilute the issue with some meaningless maths. He averaged out the damage bill – to no point whatever – and told us that it worked out to $320 per property.
In doing so, he contradicted his previous position that most tenants are responsible types.”

$320 a fortnight is way more than the Gov get in rent per property. Most Tennants would be paying under $200 a fortnight.

Bulldust. Source? I do not know anyone in public housing paying under $200 per fortnight. My family and I are paying more than $320 per fortnight.

gazket said :

Most if not all are on the dole so we won’t even get $5 a week payment from them.

More bulldust. While some people in public housing do receive the dole (Newstart), there are far more who are actually on disability/carer payments – which is LESS than the dole. And some people in public housing who are in low income jobs who get paid a comparable amount to the dole for their work. I have a fair idea of where you are pulling these imaginary figures from.

gazket 9:29 am 10 Nov 14

Antagonist said :

If a public housing tenant damages or destroys their house, they have to pay for it. Not the taxpayer. Which renders your entire article redundant.

They only pay if they don’t leave the ACT. If they leave the ACT the tax payer pays . The ACT gov don’t chase these people interstate to pay the bill. Most if not all are on the dole so we won’t even get $5 a week payment from them.

gazket 9:27 am 10 Nov 14

“Housing and Community Services executive director David Matthews sought to dilute the issue with some meaningless maths. He averaged out the damage bill – to no point whatever – and told us that it worked out to $320 per property.
In doing so, he contradicted his previous position that most tenants are responsible types.”

$320 a fortnight is way more than the Gov get in rent per property. Most Tennants would be paying under $200 a fortnight.

Antagonist 8:53 am 10 Nov 14

HenryBG said :

Antagonist said :

*All damage that is not fair wear and tear.* That means if I lock myself out of my house and need a locksmith to let me in, it will be reported in the Annual Report as ‘vandalism, misuse or neglect’. Or the $500+ sliding door window that was broken by my kids playing cricket is an act of ‘vandalism, misuse or neglect’. And no matter how much noise you or Mike Jeffreys make, the money is still recovered from the tenant (or former tenant as the case may be). It is not lost revenue. There are no free rides.

This is just bizarre.

If I lock myself out and have to smash a windown, or if my kids whack a cricket ball through a window, I fix it.

Apparently, if you have been successfully attached to the Housing Commission teat for 37 years, you believe the taxpayers have to pay for these things on your behalf.

The sense of entitlement is actually quite horrifying.

I have not lived in public housing for 37 years. Not even close to that long.

Living well below the ACOSS poverty line means I do not have the income to immediately pay for a glazier to fix this kind of problem. It would take me several pays to save up and pay for it. I cannot afford insurance that might otherwise pay for it either. I am *grateful* that ACT Housing have a glazier that can come and fix it. And charge me Sunday rates for that *privilege*. It is not ‘entitlement’. I entered into a repayment agreement so that I can pay the debt off at a rate my pathetic household income allows – and it is a LOT more than $10 per fortnight.

I care for three disabled household members, while balancing a full-time study load. My caring responsibilities interfered with my old career so much that I was unemployable. Maybe when I finish my degree next year and attempt a new career, I will be able to afford to move my family out of public housing. Then when somebody breaks a window and does not have the income to pay for it up front, I can be arrogant and condescending about it too. Just like you, Henry 🙂

JC 12:20 am 10 Nov 14

HenryBG said :

Antagonist said :

*All damage that is not fair wear and tear.* That means if I lock myself out of my house and need a locksmith to let me in, it will be reported in the Annual Report as ‘vandalism, misuse or neglect’. Or the $500+ sliding door window that was broken by my kids playing cricket is an act of ‘vandalism, misuse or neglect’. And no matter how much noise you or Mike Jeffreys make, the money is still recovered from the tenant (or former tenant as the case may be). It is not lost revenue. There are no free rides.

This is just bizarre.

If I lock myself out and have to smash a windown, or if my kids whack a cricket ball through a window, I fix it.

Apparently, if you have been successfully attached to the Housing Commission teat for 37 years, you believe the taxpayers have to pay for these things on your behalf.

The sense of entitlement is actually quite horrifying.

Sense of entitlement my a#se. My mother has looked after her housing commission house (not that we have a housing commission in the ACT) for 37 bloody years. Never asked for anything, never received anything either, paid her rent etc. As mentioned she accidentally dropped a bloody cistern lid. End result now is rather than her attempting to clean the gunk that gets into the cistern from the water tank, she now leaves it along, which in turn fouls the flushing system and it leaks. She calls maintenance and they come fix it, every 6 months like clock work. Who do you think this is going to cost in the long run?

As I said sense of entitlement my a#se.

Rustygear 11:29 pm 09 Nov 14

Check out the 2009 film “Harry Brown” starring Michael Caine, set in a London housing estate, for a fantastic solution to the problem.

HenryBG 7:52 pm 09 Nov 14

Antagonist said :

*All damage that is not fair wear and tear.* That means if I lock myself out of my house and need a locksmith to let me in, it will be reported in the Annual Report as ‘vandalism, misuse or neglect’. Or the $500+ sliding door window that was broken by my kids playing cricket is an act of ‘vandalism, misuse or neglect’. And no matter how much noise you or Mike Jeffreys make, the money is still recovered from the tenant (or former tenant as the case may be). It is not lost revenue. There are no free rides.

This is just bizarre.

If I lock myself out and have to smash a windown, or if my kids whack a cricket ball through a window, I fix it.

Apparently, if you have been successfully attached to the Housing Commission teat for 37 years, you believe the taxpayers have to pay for these things on your behalf.

The sense of entitlement is actually quite horrifying.

dungfungus 7:06 pm 09 Nov 14

Realm said :

JC said :

HenryBG said :

Realm said :

JC said :

But they do go after some tenants too. Like my 71 year old mother who lives in a new build purpose built seniors housing complex who dropped a porcelain cistern lid whilst cleaning the tank (due to the filthy water that comes from the rainwater tank. The whole cistern had to be replaced as lids cannot be purchased separately so total cost $400. Never mind mum has been a tenant since 1978 with no previous damage reports and glowing reports of who well she has maintained the two properties she has lived in.

She had the option of upfront repayment or $10p/f. She took the latter but it was stopped after a strongly worded letter to the minister from me. Funny they also fixed some other stupid non senior friendly build issues that I raised with the minister but only on her property not the other dozen in the complex.

So wait, she broke something that wasn’t hers, she was asked to pay for it, and you complained about that?

Yeah, *normal* people should pay for the damage they cause, but *he* is special and shouldn’t have to.

Welcome to the wonderful post-modern world of personal exceptionalism. Infects everything.

So typical a snide comment from someone who didn’t even read what was written. For one I am not an act housing tenant I own my own place. Secondly the story was about my mother and to be honest a tenant of 37 years with no previous damage I think it was a bit rich considering it was accidental and considering the cistern in my opinion was not fit for purpose. Heavy in a unit designed for old people connected to a rainwater rank that is filthy. That was the argument I used and housing agreeded. They also agreed with some plain dumb design and build issues with her place that they have fixed.

But if you want to be like that I would say over the past 37 years ACT housing and it’s predecessors has got out a lot of maintenance they were responsible for that me and my family did. All the while neighbouring houses got trashed and upgraded time and again.

Besides the purpose of that story was to show they will go people over relativily minor issues but trash the joint they will give you a new place and you get off Scott free.

If it were her own house, or a privately rented property, she would be expected to repay the costs of repairing the damage, or fix it herself if it were indeed her own property. Why because it is an ACT Housing property, should that mean the government should pay for it? It’s her damage.

She could have had contents insurance which probably would have covered it.

JC 6:35 pm 09 Nov 14

Realm said :

If it were her own house, or a privately rented property, she would be expected to repay the costs of repairing the damage, or fix it herself if it were indeed her own property. Why because it is an ACT Housing property, should that mean the government should pay for it? It’s her damage.

If it were her house it wouldn’t have a porcelain cistern tank. If it were a private rental then I don’t think all landlords would charge for accidental damage. I know in my own home that is being rented out at present I have covered accidental damage by tenants. So long as they are honest with me and I value them as tenants then the good will is prepayed 10 times over. Case in point my tenant damaged a shelf in the wardrobe by using it as a step. They shouldn’t have and I could have charged them to fix it, but didn’t. They have repayed that kind by replacing washers in taps and also a couple of lights, which again by rights I as the owner am responsible for.

JC 6:30 pm 09 Nov 14

tooltime said :

JC,

Enough of the blame someone else thing. Even if you have a new home built, there’s still “issues” – nothing is perfect, even in a brand new house that cost the owner $600 000 – you’re blowing up over a few hundred bucks toilet cistern. Get on with your life dude…

The amateur cricketers? What happened to no ball games in the house? A reasonable person would foresee that broken glass from that activity would be a probable/possible event. Of course it is. Point being, if I drop my new Ipadunder warranty and break it – I call it an accident, Apple call it abuse. Tough luck hombre…

Think you have missed the point. My issues with the new build house is two fold.

For one I do not like how ACT housing couldn’t have given a stuff about the defects that mum raised. If it were my house I would be hounding the builder to rectify the issues yet ACT housing just didn’t care. In the long run these issues will cost the ACT government when they could have been rectified by the builder. Now mum lives in a complex of 15 or so, at the same time they built another 100 odd, imagine all the issues in those places too.

With the cistern yeah I could be blaming, but with cause. The whole thing is fucked to put it simply. It is connected to a rain water tank that deposits dirt into the cistern which over time causes the thing to leak. My mum made an effort to clean the bloody thing and ACCIDENTALLY dropped the lid. I mean to say how bloody stupid putting in a heavy porcelain tank in a house SPECIFICALLY built for the elderly and the disabled. Only damage in 37 years of being a tennant, yet gets hounded, but if she had of trashed her house like may do the probably would have come and fixed it all with no recourse. So massive double standard.

End result is mum no longer cleans the tank since the lid broke. Twice now plumbers have been out to ‘fix’ leaks. The family no longer takes care of other minor maintenance issues as we had done in the past. Again at the end of the day it is going to cost the ACT government more, for what?

Antagonist 10:14 am 09 Nov 14

tooltime said :

The amateur cricketers? What happened to no ball games in the house? A reasonable person would foresee that broken glass from that activity would be a probable/possible event. Of course it is. Point being, if I drop my new Ipadunder warranty and break it – I call it an accident, Apple call it abuse. Tough luck hombre…

Antagonist said :

One of my kids broke the glass in a sliding door playing cricket in the back yard at a cost of over $500.

Key words: In the back yard. Nobody was playing cricket indoors. Playing cricket outdoors is in no way an act of “vandalism, misuse or neglect” and your analogy does not hold up to scrutiny. The label given in reporting is misleading, but was explained by the head of ACT Housing. Mike Jeffreys beat-up of the issue is pathetic and shameful.

tooltime 8:42 am 09 Nov 14

JC,

Enough of the blame someone else thing. Even if you have a new home built, there’s still “issues” – nothing is perfect, even in a brand new house that cost the owner $600 000 – you’re blowing up over a few hundred bucks toilet cistern. Get on with your life dude…

The amateur cricketers? What happened to no ball games in the house? A reasonable person would foresee that broken glass from that activity would be a probable/possible event. Of course it is. Point being, if I drop my new Ipadunder warranty and break it – I call it an accident, Apple call it abuse. Tough luck hombre…

Realm 11:33 pm 08 Nov 14

JC said :

HenryBG said :

Realm said :

JC said :

But they do go after some tenants too. Like my 71 year old mother who lives in a new build purpose built seniors housing complex who dropped a porcelain cistern lid whilst cleaning the tank (due to the filthy water that comes from the rainwater tank. The whole cistern had to be replaced as lids cannot be purchased separately so total cost $400. Never mind mum has been a tenant since 1978 with no previous damage reports and glowing reports of who well she has maintained the two properties she has lived in.

She had the option of upfront repayment or $10p/f. She took the latter but it was stopped after a strongly worded letter to the minister from me. Funny they also fixed some other stupid non senior friendly build issues that I raised with the minister but only on her property not the other dozen in the complex.

So wait, she broke something that wasn’t hers, she was asked to pay for it, and you complained about that?

Yeah, *normal* people should pay for the damage they cause, but *he* is special and shouldn’t have to.

Welcome to the wonderful post-modern world of personal exceptionalism. Infects everything.

So typical a snide comment from someone who didn’t even read what was written. For one I am not an act housing tenant I own my own place. Secondly the story was about my mother and to be honest a tenant of 37 years with no previous damage I think it was a bit rich considering it was accidental and considering the cistern in my opinion was not fit for purpose. Heavy in a unit designed for old people connected to a rainwater rank that is filthy. That was the argument I used and housing agreeded. They also agreed with some plain dumb design and build issues with her place that they have fixed.

But if you want to be like that I would say over the past 37 years ACT housing and it’s predecessors has got out a lot of maintenance they were responsible for that me and my family did. All the while neighbouring houses got trashed and upgraded time and again.

Besides the purpose of that story was to show they will go people over relativily minor issues but trash the joint they will give you a new place and you get off Scott free.

If it were her own house, or a privately rented property, she would be expected to repay the costs of repairing the damage, or fix it herself if it were indeed her own property. Why because it is an ACT Housing property, should that mean the government should pay for it? It’s her damage.

Masquara 6:14 pm 08 Nov 14

How do you know all the damage was wreaked by residents? There are an awful lot of empty ACT Housing properties with windows for breaking.

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