A GOSNELLS man who refused public housing due to suspected asbestos and inadequate disability features has had his housing application reinstated.
Jacobus de Boer’s public housing application was withdrawn by the Department of Communities after an “unreasonable refusal” of a Kelmscott property.
Mr de Boer said he did not want to raise his one-year-old daughter, who has a pacemaker fitted, in the property after he suspected there was asbestos in a wall.
“When I rang the decision maker, my first question to him was ‘do you know about asbestos?’ and he said ‘yes,’” he said,
“I said ‘would you raise your children in a house you suspected contained asbestos?’ and he said ‘no I wouldn’t.’
“Having a little one…to me, it was an immediate no.”
Mr de Boer has been on a disability support pension since 2010 and said there were no handrails on the front steps to aid him and alleged there were rodent baits in the living room.
Despite being on the waiting list for three years, Mr de Boer and his girlfriend refused the house and soon afterwards, received notification from the Department of Communities their rental application had been withdrawn due to an “invalid decline of offer of accommodation.”
Mr de Boer complained to the Department of Housing, wrote to the Minister for Housing and spoke to a friend of his who had contacts in the department and said his application had been reinstated within a week.
Department of Communities assistant director of general housing Greg Cash conceded the accommodation did not meet Mr de Boer’s needs.
“The Department of Communities has reviewed its decision to withdraw Mr De Boer’s application and acknowledges the property offered to him in did not meet his specific housing requirements as it did not have a ramp,” he said.
Mr Cash said the department inspected the property and found no rodent issues and the asbestos was not dangerous.
“A large percentage of homes built before 1990 have asbestos containing material (ACM) present. Undisturbed ACM presents no risk to health,” he said.
Mr de Boer said he was forced to extend his current private rental lease for another twelve months, which was not ideal given his disability payments were his family’s primary form of income.
“If we get offered another house and it’s a suitable one, we’ve got to organise lease break, which could end up costly as well,” he said.