The West

$11.4m cost to fix homes
Big mess: The Ellenbrook home. Picture: Supplied

Public housing tenants caused $11.4 million damage to taxpayer-funded homes last year - an increase of $2.4 million from 2012 and equivalent to more than $31,000 a day.

The Department of Housing yesterday released images of an estimated $15,000 damage to an Ellenbrook property.

The tenants were evicted in September because of poor property standards and refusing the department access for inspections.

The department also revealed tenants were evicted from a property in Wilson in December after causing an estimated $50,000 damage. The tenants also owed $6510.

Department general manager of service delivery Steve Parry said a number of factors, including improvements in the recording and reporting of damage and a rise in the number of tenancies terminated under the strengthened disruptive behaviour management strategy, was behind the increase in damage.

He said tenants were responsible for the cost of all repairs to a property as a result of wilful damage, neglect, misuse and some incidents of accidental damage.

Mr Parry said the department pursued debts and made significant attempts to negotiate a repayment arrangement before starting legal action.

Housing Minister Bill Marmion said tenants were also responsible for the cost of heavy cleaning and rubbish removal.

Shadow housing minister Fran Logan put the huge damage bill down to poor property management, saying he understood the department got around to inspecting public housing properties only about once a year.

The number of tenants vacated from their properties after being issued a termination notice, court order or bailiff rose to 453, up from 402 in 2012.

Meanwhile, the public housing waiting list is shrinking, with 20,472 applications on the waiting list at the end of last month - down from a peak of 24,734 applications in November 2010.

The West Australian

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