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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (16 May) . . Page.. 1792 ..

Public housing-tenants facing eviction

(Question No 161)

Mr Cornwell asked the Minister for Urban Services, upon notice:

(1) How does the Essential Services Consumer Council (ESC) assist public housing tenants facing eviction.

(2) What procedures are in place to prevent the problems leading to eviction recurring.

(3) If eviction problems do recur will eviction proceed.

(4) What steps are taken to ensure non-payment of rent is addressed if the ESC intervenes to prevent eviction upon this ground.

(5) What was the total amount owed by those facing eviction for non-payment of rent in (i) 2001 (ii) 2002 to date; how many tenants are involved in each category.

(6) How many tenants were or are facing eviction for other reasons and what were those reasons in (1) 2001 (ii) 2002 to date.

Mr Wood: The answer to the member's questions is as follows:

(1) Essential Services Consumer Council (ESC) does not become involved in ACT Housing's eviction process.

(2) ACT Housing consults with the tenant when their rent account is in arrears about:

- arranging for a Housing Manager Specialist to discuss their particular circumstances with them;

- negotiating an agreement for repaying the debt in manageable instalments;

- budget counselling - CARE;

- direct debiting of rent though their bank or Centrelink, if they are receiving Benefits or pensions;

- negotiating agreements with advocates or guardians; and

referral to appropriate support agencies.

(3) If arrears problems recur ACT Housing will follow the same process as mentioned in (2) above unless the tenant is on an order from the Residential Tenancies Tribunal (RTT). In the latter case, the RTT will make the decision as to whether eviction proceeds.

(4) HACC does not become involved in ACT Housing's eviction process.

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