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.
The new tone is introduced by the Minister’s words “It is very important that properties managed by Housing NSW are kept in good condition; tenants need to take responsibility for reporting any maintenance needs as soon as possible” then wanders through “Under your Residential Tenancy Agreement you have agreed to take good care of your home and report any property damage as soon as possible.” and winds up at “If you are found responsible for the damage and the debt for this is not repaid, action will be taken to terminate your tenancy”.
Unfortunately Housing NSW’s newest best friend, the Department of Financial Services, does not exhibit the same fervour for promptness and timeliness when it comes to honouring the obligations created under the same Residential Tenancy Agreement, especially maintenance obligations.
The NSW Attorney General has shown on multiple occasions that in NSW there is a long historic record of not spending on maintenance and thus allowing the housing stock to deteriorate. It looks like the Department of Financial Services is set to carry on this tradition.
A similar pattern of non-spending on maintenance for a short-term money saving was the subject of a scathing report by the Victorian Auditor-General earlier this year. The audit found the department’s deferral of maintenance meant that one in six public housing properties would be obsolete by 2016, and more than 65,000 public housing dwellings in Victoria had reached critical status.
Perhaps the regular reminder for NSW’s Public Housing tenants that Christmas is imminent should also be sent to the NSW Department of Financial Services bean-counters to draw their attention to the dangers posed to the state purse by fostering deliberate dereliction of housing stock.
Monday, December 17, 2012
THE FESTIVE SEASON MESSAGE FROM HOUSING NSW
By Ross Smith, for the