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The number of public housing tenants evicted from their properties grew by 115 in the first full year since the State Government introduced its strengthened disruptive behaviour management strategy.

Department of Housing figures reveal 402 tenants were evicted from their properties after they were issued with a termination notice or court order last year.

There were 47 evictions as a result of disruptive behaviour - up 14 on 2011 - and a further 59 tenancies were terminated because of property standards, debt, non-occupation and abandonment, up 21.

Last year, the department issued 850 first, 380 second and 131 third strikes under its three-strikes policy, introduced in May 2011. Under the policy, evictions occur after three offences, such as excessive noise, are committed in 12 months.

Department of Housing general manager of service delivery Steve Parry said the department saw the substantial fall between the number of first and third strikes as evidence its strategy was working.

There was a small drop in the damage tenants caused to taxpayer-funded homes last year, with the bill dropping $28,402 to $9,024,319.

The department said it had historically been able to recover about 85 per cent of the cost of damage by tenants in the past, but in some instances damage to public housing was not the responsibility of the tenant. Vandalism of public housing cost taxpayers more than $2.2 million, which was about $78,000 less than the year before.

There were 21,379 applicants on the public housing waiting list at the end of January.

Housing Minister Terry Redman said the Government's strategy sent a clear message to public housing tenants. "The Government's distruptive behaviour management strategy is a strong response to community anger over a perceived lack of action against tenants who have no regard for the taxpayer-funded home they live in, or their neighbours," he said.

Shadow housing minister Bill Johnston said though the Government had changed the rhetoric on public housing, it was unacceptable that there were still more than 50,000 people on the waitlist.

Shelter WA executive officer Chantal Roberts said she supported the three-strikes policy in that it gave tenants a chance to change.