Three strikes and tenants are looking for a new home
THE State Government has introduced a tough new three strikes policy for misbehaving public housing tenants.
Under the policy, introduced yesterday, social housing tenants who receive three breaches within a 12-month period will be evicted.
The photos above, sent from Housing Minister Tim Mander's office, is one released of public housing properties in Nambour and Maroochydore.
In the Nambour incident, the tenant had embarked on his own series of "unapproved renovations" including removing load bearing walls and removing wall sheeting while trying to convert the laundry into a bathroom.
Mr Mander said public housing was "a privilege that comes with certain responsibilities".
Yesterday, there were 1644 people listed as waiting for public housing on the Sunshine Coast.
On average, public housing rent on the Coast is $107.64 a week, compared to the market rent of $370 a week.
"A small percentage of social housing tenants don't respect the property they are in, or their neighbours," Mr Mander said.
"The previous policy was a toothless tiger."
St Vincent de Paul has opposed the change, arguing it could leave the most vulnerable tenants at risk.
Northern diocese president Annette Baker said it was too "black and white".
"The arbitrary rules without sensitivity for individual circumstances may create more problems," she said.
"There are a lot of people (in social housing) who can't read or write and now they are going to be given a big set of rules they don't understand."
Mr Mander said the policy would be "firm, but also fair" and would give people an opportunity to modify their behaviour.
For Dicky Beach resident Tony Magrathea, who has lived in public housing for a decade, the changes could not come soon enough.
In the complex Mr Magrathea lives in, police have been called to address issues concerning one public housing tenant "58 times since January last year".
Despite numerous complaints about their behaviour over the past five years, they have been allowed to stay.
"If you are living in a community, you need to be part of it or move out," Mr Magrathea said.
Figures supplied by Mr Mander's office showed that of the 6400 breaches handed out to public housing tenants in the last financial year, 316 were on the Coast.
Nine Coast people were evicted from public housing during this time frame. A third of these (33.3%) were because they had fallen behind in paying rent.
A further third were due to behaviour issues.
St Vinnies northern diocese executive officer Jody Tunnicliffe said people in pub
lic housing had "the most complex needs and were the most disadvantaged".
"They are least equipped to deal with the complex structure," she said.