Images show homes strewn with rubbish, graffitied and doors smashed, as new figures show the number of evictions has doubled.
Images show homes strewn with rubbish, graffitied and doors smashed, as new figures show the number of evictions has doubled.

Shocking pictures show homes trashed as evictions rise

Eviction of rogue Housing Trust tenants have doubled as a harsh crackdown on bad behaviour bites.

And the Trust has released shocking photographs of trashed taxpayer properties to prove its case that some tenants cannot be rescued.

Housing Minister Michelle Lensink has released to The Advertiser the most recent statistics on evictions, showing how the tough stance promised by the Liberal Party in the 2018 State Election has increased compliance.

Evictions rose from 143 in 2017-18, before the new policy, to 297 on 2018-19 and 299 in 2019-20.

Hoarding at a Housing Trust property. Picture: Supplied.
Hoarding at a Housing Trust property. Picture: Supplied.

Ms Lensink said the figures reflected tough new rules around anti-social behaviour which were introduced by the Marshall Liberal Government in April 2019.

"We unequivocally do not tolerate the minority of public housing tenants who repeatedly do

the wrong thing or flout the law and that includes unacceptable hoarding, abusing and

threatening neighbours, refusal to pay rent and illegal activity such as cultivating drugs,"

she said.

Damage caused to Housing Trust properties which let to evictions. Picture: Supplied.
Damage caused to Housing Trust properties which let to evictions. Picture: Supplied.

"Let's be clear - the majority of SA Housing customers are fantastic tenants who pay their

rent on time, respect others and their property.

"However, we want to send a clear message to the minority of South Australian public

housing tenants who continually engage in illegal, anti-social and unacceptable behaviour to

stop or risk being evicted."

The centrepiece of the State Government's crackdown is a "three strikes and you're out" policy which replaced a system in which tenants were warned up to seven times before eviction.

The policy is responsible for around half of evictions, compared to only several dozen each year under the old model.

Damage and hoarding at a property. Picture: Supplied.
Damage and hoarding at a property. Picture: Supplied.

Examples of tenant evictions - the worst of whom are not given any warnings - include:

■ Police finding 122 cannabis plants on a property;

■ Property used to store rifles and stolen property;

■ Threatening to harm/kill neighbours, verbal abuse and swearing;

■ Property in unhygienic state, including animal faeces and rubbish throughout; and

■ Excessive hoarding/squalor conditions unresolved by a tenant.

Ms Lensink said illegal activity led to immediate moves to evict.

In April 2020, the anti-social behaviour policy was toughened further. When a tenant

receives a strike, it now remains active for 12 months, rather than the previous six months.

Excessive hoarding and squalor conditions at a Housing Trust property. Picture: Supplied.
Excessive hoarding and squalor conditions at a Housing Trust property. Picture: Supplied.

Ms Lensink said tenants who were evicted were offered support by homelessness services, if they wanted it.

But they are not be able to seek housing with Housing SA for 12 months.

"Staff actively help arrange early intervention support for tenants, but it is up to tenants to

engage with the support they need to help them change their behaviour and meet their

obligations as a tenant," she said.

"When a customer's tenancy is affected by a mitigating circumstance like mental illness or

domestic violence, housing staff will work with welfare groups and other support services to put in place support to help modify their behaviour and identify at-risk behaviour sooner."

 

Unhygienic conditions at a Housing Trust property. Picture: Supplied.
Unhygienic conditions at a Housing Trust property. Picture: Supplied.

Housing SA customers mainly live on Centrelink payments, and are required to pay 25 per cent of their income towards rent.

Community members experiencing anti-social behaviour or have concerns about property

condition can make a report to the Housing SA contact centre on 131 299.

Originally published as Shocking pictures: Housing Trust homes trashed as evictions rise

A toilet door damaged at a Housing Trust property. Picture: Supplied.
A toilet door damaged at a Housing Trust property. Picture: Supplied.
Graffiti and damage at a property. Picture: Supplied.
Graffiti and damage at a property. Picture: Supplied.
Damage caused to Housing Trust property bathroom. Picture: Supplied.
Damage caused to Housing Trust property bathroom. Picture: Supplied.


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