Antisocial behaviour in public housing
Last published 30 Nov 2018
How FACS manages antisocial behaviour, how to report it and what to do if a complaint is made against you
How do I report antisocial behaviour?
There are many ways to report antisocial behaviour. You can:
What does DCJ do when a complaint is received?
If DCJ receives a complaint relating to a breach of tenancy agreement for antisocial behaviour, DCJ will investigate the matter.
DCJ may contact the complainant to gather evidence of the claims being made and may speak with other witnesses and agencies, including NSW Police.
DCJ will contact the subject of the complaint by writing to them and inviting them to attend a scheduled interview to discuss the allegations.
The tenant accused of the antisocial behaviour will be provided the opportunity to reply to the allegations made against them and DCJ will determine, based on the investigation and evidence provided, whether or not the complaint is substantiated.
DCJ will then respond to both the complainant and the accused tenant notifying them of the action DCJ has taken. This may include issuing a warning, strike notice or action being taken through the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) to seek termination of the Tenancy Agreement.
If three strike notices are issued within a 12 month period, DCJ may take action to end the tenancy. If the type of Antisocial Behaviour is considered severe illegal antisocial behaviour or serious antisocial behaviour, DCJ may take action at the NCAT to end the tenancy.
What can a tenant do if a complaint is received about them?
If a complaint is received about your tenancy DCJ will send a letter inviting you to attend a scheduled interview.
When you get the letter, you should:
- contact DCJ immediately
- follow the directions set out in the letter you have received
- attend the scheduled interview
- provide evidence to DCJ
- cease any antisocial behaviour immediately.
You can also find details of support services at your local office or online at HSNet. Accessing support may assist you to meet your tenancy obligations and reduce the risk to your tenancy. For independent and free advice you can contact:
Appealing a strike notice for antisocial behaviour
If you believe the decision to issue a first strike or second strike notice is wrong you should first discuss your concerns with your local office. If you still believe the decision made was wrong, you can ask to have the decision reviewed.
A request to review this decision must be made within 21 calendar days of the decision to issue a first or second strike notice. If you do not lodge an appeal within that period, no other appeal to DCJ or the Housing Appeals Committee will be available.
To do this fill in the review of decisions (first tier appeal) application form. Read more information about appealing and reviewing decisions.
What is antisocial behaviour?
Antisocial behaviour includes:
- criminal and illegal activities
- behaviour that places the safety of others at risk
- inappropriate behaviour by tenants, other household occupants and visitors that cause deliberate or reckless damage to a DCJ property.
Categories of antisocial behaviour
DCJ has defined antisocial behaviour into three categories which are treated differently for the purposes of regulation.
- Severe illegal behaviour is behaviour which poses a risk to the safety or security of residents or property and may result in criminal charges and/or conviction; or significant damage to a DCJ property.
- Serious antisocial behaviour involves activities that severely disturb neighbours; place the safety or security of a tenant, other household members, neighbours or DCJ staff at risk; or cause damage to a DCJ property.
- Minor and moderate antisocial behaviour involves activities which disturb the peace, comfort or privacy of other tenants or neighbours.
How we manage antisocial behaviour
We want to provide a better social housing experience for our tenants and for the surrounding communities. This includes living somewhere that is safe.
While the majority of social housing tenants are good neighbours and law-abiding people, there are a small number of tenants whose antisocial and illegal behaviour puts the safety and security of their neighbours at risk.
We have introduced laws to crackdown on criminal and antisocial behaviour in social housing properties across NSW to better protect tenants and the wider community.
To support these laws, policies and processes have been developed which will ensure the system is fair for all.
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 (see below). This policy change will help to address antisocial behaviour before it escalates and create an incentive for tenants to access services to sustain their tenancies.
DCJ can issue strike notices to tenants engaging in antisocial behaviour such as playing loud music or hosting wild parties. Tenants who receive three strikes for antisocial behaviour within 12 months may face eviction.
If a tenant engages in severe illegal behaviour – such as serious drug crimes or storing an unlicensed firearm - DCJ can apply directly to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal which will have less discretion to stop the tenant being evicted.
Tenants, neighbours and the community can have a voice in the Tribunal with the introduction of Neighbourhood Impact Statements. Neighbours will have the opportunity to contribute to a Statement which will help the Tribunal understand how a tenant’s antisocial behaviour has affected them and the broader community.
Most new tenants will be put onto a 12 month probationary lease when they come into public housing. Probationary leases set expectations of tenants from the start of their tenancy to pay rent, show respect for neighbours and meet the other conditions of their lease.
What's changed for tenants
From 30 November 2018, the process for managing minor and moderate antisocial behaviour has changed.
A text alternative to the flowchart is available.
DCJ encourages tenants found responsible for antisocial behaviour to engage with a support service to address their behaviour issues. Tenants with a first instance of substantiated minor and moderate antisocial behaviour are asked to refer themselves to a support provider and provide evidence to DCJ within 14 days that they have done so. Tenants who do refer themselves to a support provider and provide evidence of this within 14 days, will be issued with a warning. Tenants who do not, will be issued with a first strike. This provides tenants with an incentive to seek support, resolve behaviour issues and sustain their tenancies.
If the support service is full or do not think they can help, the tenant will not be disadvantaged. As long as tenants provide evidence that they have attempted to refer themselves, they will still receive a warning. Similarly, if there is no support service available in their area, tenants will get a warning.
For more information please go to www.facs.nsw.gov.au or call the Housing Contact Centre on 1800 422 322.