Lisa Cox June 29, 2012
Public housing tenants evicted for antisocial behaviour will be put on probationary leases as part of an ACT government crackdown on repeat offenders in the territory's housing developments.
From next month, tenants who are rehoused after an eviction will be given a provisional 12-month lease that imposes more frequent property inspections and conditions such as limits to noise and visitors.
Community Services Minister Joy Burch said the plan was to deter tenants with a history of antisocial behaviour from reoffending.
The new system will also allow Housing ACT to terminate the lease of a tenant who reoffends without having to take the matter to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
But Ms Burch said eviction would remain a last resort and tenants who misbehaved would receive warnings and assistance from Housing ACT's support team before having their lease terminated.
''Really it's a supportive or management tool saying we'll support you through public housing but we'll help you with those things that resulted in you being evicted previously,'' she said.
''I don't think it does tenants any benefit to evict them and then just bring them in next door without offering any other means of support.''
Tenants who meet the terms of their probationary lease will be given a standard tenancy after 12 months.
ACAT ordered 19 evictions in 2011-12 and 14 evictions in 2010-11.
Ms Burch said disruptive tenants were one of the most common causes of complaints to her office and the probationary leases would send ''a clear message'' that antisocial behaviour would not be tolerated.
''It could be drug and alcohol related, noise or damage to property,'' she said. ''We know that a disruptive neighbour affects the amenity of a whole neighbourhood.''
The probationary leases will apply to evicted tenants who reapply for public housing and not to existing tenants who have previously had a lease terminated.
Ms Burch said that the government would brief ACAT, welfare, legal and tenancy services and the Joint Champions Group Tenants union about the changes.