Evictions rise in SA public housing

·1-min read

Evictions from public housing in South Australia have more than doubled following the introduction of tough new rules for tenants who continually do the wrong thing.

Latest Housing SA figures show a spike in evictions since April 2019, when the new rules were introduced to deal with people who engage in illegal activity, damage the property or refuse to pay rent.

Evictions rose from 143 in 2017/18 to 297 in 2018/19 and 299 in 2019/20.

The new policies provide for three warnings in relation to persistent antisocial behaviour though tenants who engage in illegal activity, such as drug production, can be removed immediately.

Warnings or strikes remain in place for 12 months.

Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink said Housing SA made every attempt to help people avoid eviction but tenants needed to meet their obligations.

"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.

"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, antisocial and unacceptable behaviour to stop or risk being evicted."

Ms Lensink said Housing SA would help to arrange early intervention support for tenants, but it was up to them to engage with the support to help them change their behaviour.

Housing staff also worked with outside support agencies when other issues were in play, such as mental illness or domestic violence.