New reforms should stop public housing tenants being slugged unreasonable costs for damages and repairs, writes the Victorian Public Tenants’ Association’s Raoul Wainwright.
Over 5,000 Victorian families vacate public housing properties each year, and many of them are saddled with massive maintenance bills for matters that are not their responsibility. For many former tenants, the debt means it is impossible for them to get back into public housing. Many have also had problems with debt collectors.
Last year, the Victorian Ombudsman launched an ‘Own Motion’ investigation into this issue. This was welcomed by the Tenants Union of Victoria, community legal centres, Justice Connect, Legal Aid and the Victorian Public Tenants Association, who all provided the Ombudsman with real life examples of tenants who had been overcharged.
Today, that investigation has been concluded and the Ombudsman has tabled her report in the Victorian Parliament. The report contains 18 recommendations for change, all of which have been immediately accepted by the Office of Housing.
The main thrust of the report is that issues between the tenant and the Government should be able to be resolved efficiently and amicably, without the need for litigation.
SOURCE: Wainwright, Raoul. “Hope of a Better Deal on Public Housing Repairs.” VCOSS Guest blog, 30 October 2017.
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