One of the terms used often in legal language is "reasonable".
What would a reasonable person think.
How much is reasonable force.
How does a reasonable person behave.
But what happens when you are faced with a person who does not apply "reason" to a situation. Expectations are not met and frustration is incurred. In most cases, ie. relationships, you can have a big blow-up, argue it out and then get over it.
However, when faced with a bureaucrat who applies rules without compassion; who has no vested interest in the outcome; who is power hungry and using your situation to advance their career, things can turn nasty very quickly.
Several stories have emerged lately from Housing tenants who have been forced into disastrous situations by uncaring CSOs and Team Leaders. These tales range from the mildly stupid to the outright corrupt and vindictive.
Take the CSO who rocked up at a tenant's doorstep, interviewed the "boyfriend" who was visiting and then reported it incorrectly on the neighbours file as an Unauthorised Occupant. The neighbour was vigorously investigated and the CSO would not admit their mistake.
Or the CSO who failed to answer 12 emails over a period of 8 weeks - each asking the same question: "what further paperwork do you need?" The tenant zealously sought an answer but there was total silence from Housing. Two months later the tenant received an eviction notice for failing to provide paperwork. The tenant's file was marked with the comment "harassing Housing staff with emails..."
And what about the vindictive Team Leader - when reported for misconduct, set out on a path of retaliation, spending hours (and countless $$) digging up tidbits of gossip in a cruel and relentless pursuit of the accuser.
As more and more Housing tenants are drawn from the pool of desperation, with language barriers, mental illness and high-needs roadblocks; tenant's rights are eroded and the power of those behind the desk increases, placing vulnerable clients at the mercy of callous staff.
Is it reasonable to expect Housing staff to act with an ounce of humanity?
Monday, July 18, 2016
One of the terms used often in legal language is "reasonable".
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
When Housing NSW handed over large swathes of its stock to various Community Housing operators - one of the unforeseen disadvantages was the upset caused when trying to do a Mutual Exchange.
Anecdotal reports say that some have been successful, whilst others have been blocked. It seems that it depends on the mood of the officials involved and that there is no hard and fast policy to follow.
The officials with a sense of compassion and an ounce of common sense can see how it is ALWAYS beneficial to all parties when they find a suitable property to swap.
This is the latest missive to land in my inbox:
I am renting through Community Housing, i had no choice but to take this place because it was my second choice and you can't turn down your second choice (An unnecessary rule i think). I need to go back to the area i was in because my daughter goes to school there and i work there. I am wasting a lot of petrol going back and forth and my car doesn't have much life left. No buses leave early enough for me to get to work on time so i would lose my job if my car dies. I recently found a lady i can swap with,she is in the area i want and she wants to swap! Because she is with Housing NSW they won't let her swap with Community Housing. Who made up this ridiculous rule? I would love to hear from others if they have done a mutual exchange from Community Housing to Housing NSW? And if anyone was allowed to go from a 2 bedroom to a 3 bedroom with only 2 people?
Can anybody add to this discussion? Have you been successful with a Community to HNSW swap?
Have you been blocked by short-sighted bureaucrats?
Please comment below but remember, no names of tenants or staff.
If you'd like to be more involved with this issue, please send an email with contact details and a brief story of your situation to firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, June 29, 2015
With all the publicity lately about Queensland Housing failing to address anti-social behaviour problems, I have been flooded with emails asking where the CTTT story is.
It's in the archives - and Blogger doesn't make it easy to navigate.
So here are the relevant articles:
Where it all began - August 2009
The damage Ferals do to our community
Making Housing accountable
Saturday, March 21, 2015
As the Ferals increasing take over public housing and as the public servants stand by and watch the communities spiral into ghettos, we ask what can be done to properly MANAGE public housing and their occupants.
I can hear the bleeding hearts now - "but the Ferals will be homeless if we evict them". Well so be it. Perhaps that is exactly what is needed - a stint of homelessness - to make them appreciate what the State has provided for them. Why don't we round up the existing Homeless and swap them with the Ferals. I'll bet the Homeless will be so grateful for a roof that, given the opportunity, they'll become model tenants. If they genuinely believed that bad behaviour would leave them back on the streets, then behold a transformation.
Thursday, August 1, 2013
I have just finished reading the 42 page "summary" of the Auditor General's report on HNSW.
There was nothing surprising in it.
Too few houses plus too many people... no brainer that one!
Stock depletion and maintenance deficit... yep, situation normal.
Under-occupancy got quite a run - with very few practical solutions.
Monday, February 11, 2013
Monday, December 17, 2012
By Garry Mallard, for the
During the National Tenant Support Network’s 17 years of operation, I have successfully resisted the urge to use its reach to express personal outrage. That is about to change….oh, how it is about to change!
Upon returning from a brief trip to Sydney last Friday, I found in my letterbox, the Housing NSW Christmas greeting for 2012, attached for your information. It takes the form of an A4 sheet of paper bearing the Family & Community Services – Housing NSW logo, beneath which there appears a short message in blue, red and green; the traditional colours of Christmas.
By Ross Smith, for the
The regular reminder that Christmas is imminent for NSW’s Public Housing tenants has arrived in their letterboxes as per ordained schedule, courtesy of their landlord. It takes the now standard form of dire threats of eviction if the rent is not paid on time and solicits payments in advance of the legislated timeframe.
This year Housing NSW has added a new tone to the Christmas message.
Friday, August 10, 2012
There are many many comments on this blog about "banding together" and fighting "class actions".
Great ideas but as we all know, the time it takes to implement such processes and run them consistently with dedication, is often a burden upon one or two people.
To help spread the load and to address different concerns in the different states, three groups have set up on Facebook:
Friends of Public Housing Victoria
Friends of Public Housing NSW
Friends of Public Housing Queensland
Support them and learn from them and together we can attempt to change Public Housing in Australia.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Further to our story Something smelly in Queensland the case is going to court
From Helen Wedlake:
In a test case to reverse a common practice of putting the tenant at fault in disputes concerning the condition of housing, there is a Court Hearing on 29th March, 2012, in Court of Appeal, Supreme Court George Street Brisbane pertaining to the Matter of Underwood v Dept. of Communities. It is in the public interest and a matter of belief that all Landlords whether private or public have a duty of care towards their tenants. The premise for an Appeal to the Supreme Court relates to judgment in QCAT tenancy tribunal that did not consider that a structurally defective unit subjected to repeated inflows of storm-water mixed with raw sewerage should have an abatement of rent.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
This is an Open Letter sent to OHS and reprinted with permission.
I am ... taking this opportunity to share with you Helen Underwood's circumstances and Helen's
sustained fight for answers to her placements in housing that was unfit or barely fit for habitation, conditions by no means an exception in the system.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Saturday, September 3, 2011
A few facts...
Only a very small percentage of Public Housing dwellings are 1 bedroom units.
Consequently, there is a HUGE percentage of 2 bedroom dwellings being occupied by single people.
Fact 2: It is NOT EASY to find a swap. Even with the super efficient Our House Swap website it can still be hard to find something that suits your needs.
Fact 3: It is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to get a transfer through the official channels - the average wait being 2 years.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
How broken is the official Housing NSW Mutual Exchange system?
It's hard to tell because it's virtually impossible to get a straight answer from HNSW.
Apart from having to wait nearly two years to get a response, the official Mutual Exchange system requires the tenant to forgo all privacy in order to participate in the program.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
MORE than 72 per cent of public tenants currently affected by anti- social behaviour have not had their problem resolved or addressed appropriately by State housing departments, according to the OHSBlog survey.
A massive 65 per cent found Housing staff to be "unhelpful and disinterested", and most had been putting up with noisy neighbours for more than two years.
Anti-social behaviour, maintenance and mutual exchange are three of the bigger issues affecting tenants in public housing across Australia. As each sector of Housing is run by the State government, tenants in each state experience a different level of ineptitude from their "landlord".
Thursday, May 19, 2011
The Goldfields Indigenous Housing Organisation has welcomed new legislation proposed by the Western Australian Government to address unsuitable behaviour in public housing.
The legislation would allow the Department of Housing to call on the magistrates court to evict disruptive tenants.
Goldfields Indigenous Housing Organisation CEO Julia Shadlow-Bath says the new laws will give authorities more power to deal with troublesome tenants.
"We can issue you with breach notices and those breach notices could escalate to the point of an eviction notice," she said.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
From ABC News
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Come in and feel the noise: landlords to pay for rowdy tenants
Photocopies stickytaped to city lamp posts offering dirt-cheap, shared-room rentals in luxury apartments could soon be a thing of the past after a landmark court ruling.
Previously, landlords who crammed partying backpackers and students into houses and apartments could ignore complaints about noise, passing them back to tenants who changed so often no one could be held responsible. But in a game-changing move, a noise-abatement order has been served on the owners, rather than their tenants, of a Double Bay apartment. The downstairs neighbours had complained for years of noise and disturbance.