Not enough done to help neighbours correctly report problem tenats say McGurk

Not enough done to help neighbours correctly report problem tenats say McGurk

CONFUSION reigns around the complaint process when dealing with public housing tenant behaviour, according to Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk.

In her grievance at the last sitting of Parliament for the year, Ms McGurk said not enough was being done to ensure neighbours had all the information they needed about how to report problem tenants, and that there was not enough communication between the police and the Housing Authority when complaints were made.

“I have read the authority’s disruptive behaviour policy and seen the behaviour management flyer online,” she said.

“On reading the flyer, the steps seem logical, but in practice people who are forced to endure unruly, disorderly and often frightening behaviour are often left feeling frustrated and unheard when they contact the authority and ask for action to be taken.”

She said this was evident in East Fremantle, with police last year receiving 41 complaints about tenants at one address, many more than the Housing Authority said they had received.

“This highlights the disconnect between the Housing Authority and local residents; people just don’t seem to know how to make a complaint about public housing disruptive behaviour,” she said.

“It appears that currently there is a lack of clarity and communication between residents wishing to bring matters to the police, the police and the Housing Authority.

“All residents are asking for is that when an incident occurs, there will be a clear course of action from the Housing Authority as well as from the police.”

Housing Authority service delivery general manager Greg Cash said there had been a drop in the number of strikes issued to unruly tenants since the Disruptive Behaviour Management Strategy was strengthened in 2011.

Despite this, he said the Housing Authority was trialling a more intensive management approach at four complexes in the Fremantle region with a “higher than usual number of complaints about tenant behaviour”.

“The trial includes more frequent engagement with problematic tenants to try to improve behaviour and to support tenants in these complexes who are not a problem,” he said.

“The Housing Authority also has a Memorandum of Understanding with the WA Police to enable exchange of information for investigation of disruptive behaviour complaints about current tenancies.”

Locals can report disruptive behaviour at www.housing.wa.gov.au/contactus/disruptivebehaviour or by calling 1300 597 076.