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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 6 Hansard (11 May) . . Page.. 2246..


Housing ACT—rental arrears

(Question No 182)

Mr Coe asked the Minister for Disability and Housing, upon notice, on 2 April 2009:

(1) What is the Government doing to minimise the amount of rental arrears in relation to public housing tenants.

(2) Over what timeframe does the Government expect to recover amounts of rental arrears.

(3) How much of the current rental arrears does the Government expect to result in bad debt write-off.

(4) What is the amount of bad debt write-off for (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09 until 30 December 2008.

Mr Hargreaves: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) Rental arrears are managed within a framework of sustaining tenancies. This is achieved by working with the tenant to negotiate a repayment agreement that is sustainable and that will address their outstanding arrears. Housing ACT actively assists tenant households to manage their debt and sustain their tenancies. Contact with tenants occurs when a rental account falls into debt. An additional output measure introduced last year is the requirement that 90% of tenants whose debt exceeds $500 enter into a repayment agreement.

Housing Managers and Client Service Co-ordinators continue to refer tenant households experiencing difficulty maintaining their rental accounts to advocacy groups such as Mental Health ACT, CARE Financial Counselling Service, the Public Trustee, Welfare Rights and Legal Centre and other community support agencies.

Housing ACT also funds the Sustaining Tenancies Program under the Community Linkages Program. Sustaining Tenancies Programs are provided by Woden Community Services on the Southside and Anglicare on the Northside. These programs assist public and community housing tenants where tenancies are at risk.

(2) The timeframe varies and is also dependent on the amount of the debt owing and the tenant's capacity to make repayments, taking into consideration that tenants are required to pay no more than 30% of their household income on rent and rental arrears.

(3) Approximately $1 million - this comprises rental arrears and tenant responsible maintenance charges. It should be noted that no rental arrears accrued by current tenants are written off whilst the tenant remains in public housing.

(4) (a) 2007-08 - $1.234 million; and

(b) 2008-09 until 31 December 2008 - $1.269 million.


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