Information for Queensland public housing tenants
We believe that everyone has the right to enjoy reasonable peace, comfort and privacy in their home. We will support our staff to make proactive decisions to resolve difficult situations as early as possible and with sensitivity to people’s differing needs.
Your responsibilities as a tenant are outlined in the State Tenancy Agreement you signed at the start of your tenancy. As a tenant, you are required to:
- pay the rent as stated in the tenancy agreement
- keep the property you rent clean, as it was at the start of the tenancy
- not maliciously damage, or allow someone else to maliciously damage the property you rent
- not use your property for illegal purposes
- not cause a nuisance whilst in your property
- not interfere with the reasonable peace, comfort and privacy of your neighbours.
Fair expectation of behaviour
This policy balances the rights of tenants, neighbours, service partners, departmental staff and the community.
Most social housing tenants do the right thing, however, sometimes people do disrupt the peace in their neighbourhood.
If tenants have complex needs or mental health concerns, we will help them connect to extra support from the appropriate agencies. We will respect a tenant's choice and control as to who provides such support, however if they do not accept that support and the disruptive behaviour continues, tenancy action may be taken. Disruptive behaviour will not be tolerated.
We will not accept domestic and family violence and will offer support and referral when appropriate.
Dangerous behaviour that puts others at risk or illegal activities will not be tolerated, and we will take immediate steps to evict anyone engaged in those activities.
What is disruptive behaviour?
There are 3 categories of disruptive behaviour:
- Minor (general or nuisance) behaviours—these are activities that could reasonably happen occasionally in a household, but which disturb the peace, comfort or privacy of other tenants or neighbours. For example, excessive noise from televisions or stereos or a loud party.
- Serious behaviours—these are activities that intentionally or recklessly disturb neighbours, or could reasonably cause concern for the safety or security of a tenant, household member, neighbour or their property, or damage to the public housing property. For example, harassing neighbours, intentional disturbances including using aggressive or obscene language, or damaging departmental property.
- Dangerous or severe behaviours—these are activities that pose a risk to the safety or security of residents or property and may result in Police charges, and/or conviction, or significant damage to the public housing property. For example, illegal or alleged illegal activity at the property such as drug production, supply or trafficking, domestic and family violence or physical assault or acts of violence against other tenants, neighbours or departmental staff, or extensive malicious damage to departmental property.
Warnings can be issued for any confirmed incident of these types of behaviours. For dangerous or severe behaviours, a Notice to Leave will be issued and immediate action taken to end your tenancy.
What is a warning?
A warning is issued when there is a confirmed incident of disruptive behaviour and will clearly indicate that your tenancy is at risk, if your disruptive behaviour continues.
When a confirmed incident of disruptive behaviour occurs, we will give you a warning about the incident. Depending on the circumstances and severity of the incident, impact on neighbours and any other contributing factors, the warning can also be issued with a Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 Form 11—Notice to Remedy Breach.
Following each warning, we will contact you to ensure you are aware of the consequences of your behaviour, reconfirm your obligations under your tenancy agreement, discuss how you can change your behaviour and reduce the risk to your tenancy. We will link you with support agencies who can support you to meet your tenancy responsibilities. We may also enter into a Tenancy Management Plan with you to outline how you can reduce your disruptive behaviour.
What happens if the disruptive behaviour continues?
We may take action to end your tenancy if there are repeated incidents of disruptive behaviour.
What happens if the disruptive behaviour is dangerous or severe?
Where the disruptive behaviour is severe or dangerous, immediate action may be taken to end your tenancy without issuing you with any prior warnings or breach notices.
Will the department assist tenants who are evicted?
If you are evicted from public housing, we may help you to find alternative housing in the private market, for example, through a bond loan or a referral to your local RentConnect service. We may also notify your support agency (if you give permission and there is a support arrangement in place) and provide you with details of emergency accommodation and other crisis support providers.
The Homeless Hotline may also be able to assist—1800 47 47 53.
If you have previously received public housing assistance and were evicted for poor behaviour, you will be asked to sign a Tenancy Management Plan or Acceptable Behaviour Agreement, if at a later date you are offered another tenancy.
Tenancy Management Plans or Acceptable Behaviour Agreements may be used by our staff during your tenancy as a way to assist you to sustain your tenancy.
How are complaints investigated?
We only investigate complaints about disruptive behaviour that may be a breach of your State Tenancy Agreement or obligations under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.
If someone makes a complaint about you, a member of your household or visitor, we will:
- let you know a complaint has been made and is being investigated and give you the opportunity to tell your side of the story
- investigate the issues raised by gathering relevant information and evidence about the complaint from other sources including Police, neighbours and witnesses
- decide whether the behaviour is a breach of your tenancy agreement and what action should be taken
- let you know the outcome of the investigation, for example, whether the complaint was dismissed or whether further action will be taken and what that action will be.
In most cases we will not tell the person who made the complaint about the outcome of the complaint, in order to protect your right to privacy under the Information Privacy Act 2009. The personal information of the person who made the complaint is also treated as confidential wherever possible.
How am I protected from being wrongly accused of disruptive behaviour?
We investigate all complaints of disruptive behaviour thoroughly, ensuring that only accurate, truthful and relevant information is considered.
When a complaint is received, we consider the information provided and decide whether further investigation is required. We will not investigate complaints that are not based on statements of fact or have been made in bad faith. We will also not investigate if further complaints are received about the same issue and no new evidence or material has been provided.
What if I don't agree with the complaint?
When investigating a complaint about disruptive behaviour, we will ensure you are given an opportunity to tell your side of the story.
When a complaint about disruptive behaviour has been received, we will contact you to discuss the issues raised in the complaint and seek your response.
You can tell your side of events either by talking to staff at your Housing Service Centre or in writing, including information about anything you think contributed to the incident and prevented you from meeting your tenancy obligations. You can also provide your own evidence to dispute the claim, including witness statements and letters from support agencies.
We will then send you a letter detailing your response to the complaint and give you the opportunity to let us know if any information is not correct.
The department will provide assistance if you require help responding to a complaint of disruptive behaviour at your home. Interpreter services are available for tenants from a non-English speaking background and tenants with a hearing and/or sight impairment.
If you have a disability or medical condition and have a formal or informal decision maker, support provider or advocate in place, we will contact the support/s in place to assist in obtaining your response to the complaint. If you have difficulty communicating your response due to a disability or medical condition and have no support in place, the department can arrange an advocacy service for you if you agree.