ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

ACTCOSS calls for stronger rights and protections for social housing tenants

2 September 2022

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has today welcomed the proposal to end “no cause” evictions but has said that additional protections for private tenants must not come at the expense of social housing tenants.  

The ACT Government’s Draft Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2022 will remove “no cause” evictions for all tenants in the ACT. However, it will replace “no cause” evictions for social housing tenants with several new grounds for eviction that are excessively broad and often not subject to administrative review.

ACTCOSS Chief Executive Officer, Dr Emma Campbell said: “We are glad to see the abolition of “no cause” evictions to protect renters who make up around one third of the ACT’s households. 

“However, while this legislation introduces more protections for private tenants, it takes away security of tenure from social housing tenants, by introducing a raft of reforms that will allow social housing tenancies to be terminated with little or no consideration of the circumstances of the tenant. 

“Security of tenure for private tenants should not come at the expense of the most vulnerable in our community," Dr Campbell said.

In its submission to the inquiry into the draft bill, ACTCOSS has recommended that the ACT Government:

  • Introduces a standalone ‘reasonable and proportionate’ test based on the Victorian provisions
  • Limits the grounds for eviction rather than introduce a raft of broad grounds for eviction and clearly set out the grounds for eviction in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 
  • Removes the proposed ‘behavioural grounds’ for eviction from the Bill which are broad and subjective; and
  • Confirms that any new termination provisions will ensure that a landlord is required to apply to ACAT for an eviction order before a tenancy can be terminated.

Dr Campbell continued: “We applaud the ACT Government’s aspiration to make ‘renting a secure and sustainable option for those who rely on it’. However, this Bill is hindered by serious flaws that will weaken the rights and protections afforded to social housing tenants.

“We call on the ACT Government to ensure the most vulnerable are the most protected by this new legislation and to seriously consider the rights of social housing tenants to safe, secure and sustainable homes,” Dr Campbell concluded.

 

ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations. Follow us @ACTCOSS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910617