To better protect social housing tenants and the wider community, laws were introduced in late 2015 to crack down on criminal and antisocial behaviour in social housing properties across NSW.
It is recognised that the majority of social housing tenants are good neighbours and law-abiding people, but there are a small number of tenants whose antisocial and illegal behaviour puts the safety and security of their neighbours at risk.
In a survey conducted with social housing tenants across NSW, 78% think that antisocial behaviour is a problem and 51% reported that they had experienced it.
Additional feedback was provided as part of the responses to the NSW Government Discussion Paper on Social Housing in NSW, where antisocial behaviour was raised as an issue:
"Some housing areas have stressful environments, which, even if tenants are doing their best to live less stressful lives, their environments add to their demise. People need peace in their homes and to be able to rest. The Victorian ‘three strikes’ policy mentioned in the current discussion paper is worth considering."
Written submission, Social Housing Resident
"No one wants to live in places that are known for dangerous, anti-social behaviour."
Participant, District Consultation – Coffs Harbour
We’ve listened to what tenants and the community have said and we’re committed to addressing this issue. The new laws will make social housing communities safer by providing clearer rules to manage incidents of antisocial behaviour by social housing tenants.
To support these laws, policies and processes have been developed which will ensure the system is fair for all:
- a Three Strikes policy to enable a Notice of Termination to be issued if a tenant has received three strike notices within a 12 month period
- Tenants found responsible for minor or moderate antisocial behaviour will be encouraged to engage with a support provider following their first instance of antisocial behaviour. This will help to address antisocial behavior before it escalates and create an incentive for tenants to access services to sustain their tenancies
- the introduction of Neighbourhood Impact Statements for consideration by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) once a tenancy breach has been proven. These will assist the Tribunal member to understand the impact that antisocial behaviour has on neighbours and the community
- a One Strike policy in which the NCAT will be expected to terminate a tenancy where it is satisfied that a tenant has committed a serious criminal offence such as the manufacture of drugs or the storing of an unlicensed firearm
- Family and Community Services (FACS) to claim the money owed as rent arrears from tenants who fraudulently claim a rental subsidy and do not pay the money back
- FACS to recover the costs incurred for Tenant Damage using the FACS schedule of costs repairs when NCAT is making a decision on tenant repair charges.