Public housing rules to tighten to avoid dormant properties

Public housing rules are set to tighten and new rules will be introduced in a bid to avoid properties sitting vacant for up to a year while tenants went on vacation or served a prison term.

Housing Minister Tim Mander says rules under the old government allowed tenants to take holidays of up to 12 months without putting their tenancies at risk.

“These houses are there to house the most vulnerable members of society - they’re no good to anyone sitting there empty.

“This Government promised to revitalise frontline services, something that’s particularly important when we’re dealing with families on low or modest incomes,” says Mander.

Mander says there are more than 21,000 households on the social housing waiting list.

New rules to be introduced include capping holidays at four weeks and anything longer than this will require tenants to seek departmental approval.

Longer absence will be allowed for those who are away due to legitimate work or study commitments or are undergoing an extended stay in hospital.

Tighter rules also mean family and friends of an absent tenant will no longer be able to stay in the property rent-free.

“There are still too many households on the waiting list so it’s vital that our resources go where they’re needed, rather than being squandered where they’re not,” says Mander.

Last financial year alone public housing tenants took 285 breaks of between three to 12 months and were absent from their taxpayer subsidised homes for an average of 171 days.

Nicola Trotman

Nicola Trotman

With a penchant for the written word, Nicola has built a career doing just this – now Creative Director at thriving Melbourne-based PR agency, Greenpoint Media.

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