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Calls to make tenant evictions harder

By Staff Reporter
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The Western Australia government is being called on to remove its policy of evicting public housing tenants for minor disturbances.

Shelter WA is urging housing minister Bill Marmion to abandon its policy of evicting tenants for minor disturbances such as excessive noise, minor property damage or domestic disputes.

The government’s ‘three strikes’ policy introduced in 2011 has led to the eviction of more than 120 tenants.

Shelter WA executive officer Chantal Roberts told ABC Online that councils could resolve noise disputes, but by threatening people living in public housing with eviction, tenants were being held to an unreasonable standard.

She said many of the complaints did not justify eviction.

"What our report is asking for is those minor criteria - such as children being overly noisy - to be removed because they don't exist in the private sector," she said.

"People are not evicted because of noise complaints in the private sector. There are other avenues for people to complain about that."

According to Ms Roberts, the hardline policy would lead to more problems in public housing.

"The homelessness actually leads to overcrowding, usually in public housing tenancies," she said.

Mr Marmion said the minor disturbances category simply defined the number of strikes required before eviction is sought through the magistrates court.

He added the policy was consistent with the law and would not be changed, and the government would not apologise for defending the rights of neighbours to live in safety and comfort.

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