Information for Queensland public housing tenants
Everyone has the right to enjoy reasonable peace, comfort and privacy in their home.
Your responsibilities as a tenant are outlined in the State Tenancy Agreement you signed at the start of your tenancy.
As a tenant, you must :
- pay the rent as stated in the tenancy agreement
- tell us within 28 days when anyone moves in or moves out of your home
- keep the home you rent as clean, as it was at the start of the tenancy
- not maliciously damage, or allow someone else to maliciously damage the home
- not use your home for illegal purposes
- not cause a nuisance to other tenants and neighbours while in your home
- not interfere with or disrupt the reasonable peace, comfort and privacy of your neighbours.
You are responsible for the behaviour of anyone you let into your home, including any behaviour which might disrupt the peace and privacy of other tenants and your neighbours.
Fair expectation of behaviour
Most public housing tenants do the right thing, however, sometimes people do disrupt the peace in their neighbourhood.
We receive complaints from minor neighbourhood concerns through to more serious complaints that involve other agencies such as the police.
Our approach is to work pro-actively with tenants and other government and community support services to resolve concerns early. We will take immediate action to end tenancies when severe and dangerous behaviours occur which put the safety of others at risk, causes injury to others, damages the home or involves illegal or criminal activity.
There are many ways we will work with you to address behaviour so you can keep your tenancy and live in harmony with your neighbours. These include:
- discussing the consequences of your behaviour on your tenancy
- reminding you about your tenancy obligations
- issuing Warnings and/or a Notice to remedy breach
- connecting you with a network of other government and community support services to help you address your behaviour .
We respect your choice about whether to engage with support services, or not, however, if the disruptive behaviour continues, your tenancy will be at risk and we will take further tenancy action..
Everyone has a right to feel safe. If we receive reports about domestic, family or sexual violence, we will act and offer support to the household including referrals to support services.
Dangerous behaviour that puts others at risk or illegal activities will not be tolerated, and we can 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 outside of reasonable hours or local laws, or that requires police attendance.
- 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, abusive or obscene language, or damaging the home.
- 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, physical assault or acts of violence against other tenants, neighbours or departmental staff, or extensive malicious damage to the home.
Warnings can be issued for any confirmed incident of these types of behaviours. We may also issue a Notice to remedy breach requiring you to stop the behaviour. For dangerous or severe behaviours, a Notice to leave may be issued or we may immediately apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) 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.
Depending on the circumstances and severity of the behaviour, the impact on neighbours and any other contributing factors, the warning can be issued with a Form 11—Notice to Remedy Breach under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.
We will contact you to discuss the behaviour, your tenancy obligations, what steps you can take to change the behaviour and the consequences of this behaviour on your tenancy. We will connect you with government and community support services who can support you to meet your tenancy responsibilities.
If you disagree with a warning being issued, please contact your nearest Housing Service Centre to discuss the matter. If you still disagree with this decision, you can lodge a complaint about our actions or service.
We may also enter into a Tenancy Management Plan with you to outline how you can stop the disruptive behaviour.
What happens if the disruptive behaviour continues?
You may be issued with additional Warnings and Notices to remedy the breach. When deciding what tenancy action to take, we will work with community support services who may be helping you to stop the behaviour. We may work with you on a 12-month tenancy management plan to outline how we will work with you and support services to stop the disruptive behaviour.
For serious or repeated disruptive behaviour, we may ask you to sign an Acceptable Behaviour Agreement which records the agreed actions that you will take to stop the behaviour and the consequences to your tenancy if the behaviour continues. This agreement also records the support that may be provided to you by community support services. 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?
We will take immediate action to end your tenancy without issuing you with any prior warnings or breach notices. We will issue you with a Notice to leave or seek to end your tenancy through the Queensland Civil and Administration Tribunal (QCAT).
Where illegal or criminal activity is suspected or witnessed, this should be immediately reported to the police and then to the department.
What if I don’t agree with the action taken by the department against my tenancy?
If you disagree with the action taken by us, please contact your nearest Housing Service Centre to discuss the matter. If after you have spoken to our staff, you still disagree with this decision, you can lodge a complaint about our actions or service.
Help for tenants who are evicted
If you are evicted from public housing, we can help you to find alternative housing in the private market, for example, through a bond loan or our RentConnect service. We will provide you with details of emergency accommodation and other housing and support services and notify your support services.
The Homeless Hotline may also be able to assist—1800 47 47 53.
If you seek further public housing assistance after being evicted for disruptive behaviour, and if you are offered another tenancy at a later date you will need to sign a Tenancy Management Plan or Acceptable Behaviour Agreement. Your tenancy will be closely monitored and we may connect you with community services who can support you in your tenancy.
How are complaints investigated?
We investigate complaints about disruptive behaviour that may be a breach of your State tenancy agreement or your tenancy 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:
- identify if the complaint falls within the department’s authority to investigate and action or should be directed to another agency (for example, Council or the police)
- let you know a complaint has been made and is being investigated and give you the opportunity to tell your side of the story
- if required investigate the issues raised by gathering relevant information and evidence about the complaint from other sources including police, neighbours, witnesses, and support services where there is authority to contact
- 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.
To protect your right to privacy under the Information Privacy Act 2009, we will not tell the person who made the complaint about the specific details of any action taken. . 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 factual, accurate, truthful, and relevant information is considered. When we receive a complaint, we consider the information provided and decide whether more information or investigation is required. We will also contact you to talk about the complaint and get your side of the story. For alleged illegal or criminal activity, we may also ask the police for information about the matter.
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 where 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.
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. When talking to staff, you can have a support person with you. You can also provide your own evidence to dispute the claim, including witness statements and contact or letters from your support services.
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.
If needed, we can help you respond 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, we can arrange an advocacy service for you if you agree.