Thursday, August 18, 2011

HNSW breaches tenant's privacy

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.


From the Mutual Exchange Form DH3003:
If you are approved for Mutual Exchange, Housing NSW will send
a letter with your name, application reference number, address and
phone number to other tenants matched by the computer system to
your property so they can contact you.
A Mutual Exchange Register, listing your property details and phone
number, will be available to other tenants at Housing NSW local
offices. Your name and address will not be listed. Tenants may look
at this Register to find a suitable swap and may make contact with
you to talk about swapping homes. If you do not give us a phone
number, your address will be provided by staff to tenants interested
in swapping with you, if they ask for it.
If you do not agree - your application cannot be registered for Mutual Exchange

Surely in this electronic day & age it should only be necessary to provide a contact phone number or email address! Names, addresses and reference numbers should remain private until initial contact has been made and all parties are satisfied that hoaxers, stalkers or time wasters have been weeded out.

One tenant has already reported strangers turning up on her doorstep late at night demanding to "inspect" their new house.


  1. They don't HAVE to - they just do it coz they are so tied up in their own bureaucracy.

    They don't care about our wellbeing - what if some loony comes to my door - who's accountable?

    I like the Our House Swap system MUCH BETTER. Let the tenants do the work themselves and swap details once you know you are interested. Much safer way of doing things!

  2. This is SO WRONG!!

    My ex found out I was trying to swap because the other people turned up in our street without calling first and started talking to my ex mother-in-law.

    My ex went ballistic and put his fist thru the door.

  3. This is a great concern - we need to (en mass) scream out to public housing offices (or the police?)about this potential crime enabling disfunctional system set up by public housing , and/or the fact that every tenant has a right to know about this OurHouseSwap website.

  4. Just recently spent a whole day on this, phoning head office, then this and that and even freedom of information, finally got someone who phoned the local housing office because I am concerned about a swap letter that goes out to others and I never get it, this kind person phoned them 3 times to see why they hadnt phoned me as they said they would, local office finally phoned and was suprised that we don't give our addresses and names on OurHouseSwap. Having been asked to take a copy of the letter with my name on it that another tenant brought to me, to this office, they promise to get back in touch when they "sort it out". If by some miracle they do, I will let you know, but, please, everyone, THIS IS A SECURITY BREACH, let them know that YOU KNOW it is and that your lives could be in danger!

  5. Excellent!! Well done for chasing this up and I would be EXTREMELY interested in any follow up. You can email me directly on

    This is what we want - an army of tenants willing to stand up for their rights!

  6. unfortunately having had looked at thier policy, you sign an agreement to them sharing information when you sign up for the Mutual Exchange program. Read before you sign. They are covered that way.

  7. well i was shocked when i got a letter not realizing that they gave out all your details its disgusting as i am here because of crime and the person who did it could of been getting my details ! for goodness sake get it right all they need is a phone number especially when all the listings they sent me didn't match my requirements they just don't get it right ? i did tell them that it was a breach of my privacy only to be told that's how it is its up to you if you want this or not , still don't get them at all.

  8. In Woy Woy, our Christmas message does not arrive in the post box, it is plastered on the wall for all passersby to see.


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