ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Housing ACT must be held to the same standard as private landlords

27 July 2022

ACTCOSS today expressed its concern over proposed legislation that will weaken protections against eviction for Housing ACT tenants.

The ACT Attorney General, Shane Rattenbury MLA, today released the draft Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 aimed at increasing protections for tenants living in privately owned rental properties by removing the ‘without cause’ tenancy termination provision.

However, the Bill also creates a separate regime for public housing tenants through the introduction of new termination provisions to allow the Commissioner for Social Housing to evict tenants.

ACTCOSS CEO, Dr Emma Campbell said: “The proposed protections against ‘without cause’ evictions for private rental tenants responds to advocacy by ACTCOSS, ACT Shelter, Better Renting, Tenants Union ACT and others.

“We welcome these additional protections for private renters. Tenants should be able to be make their rental property a secure home, relying on robust and enforceable rights to privacy, quality, security of tenancy and usage,” said Dr Campbell.   

However, ACTCOSS said that under the Bill, public housing tenants will be significantly worse off than at present with fewer rights and protections than private tenants. The Bill also proposes to set up a mechanism to make it easier for the ACT Government to further reduce the rights of public housing tenants.

Dr Campbell said: “Housing ACT should be held to the same standard as private landlords.

“Through the Growing and Renewing Program, Housing ACT has shown that it is willing to ride roughshod over the rights of vulnerable tenants.

“This is a further worrying development with the ACT Government proposing legislation to make it easier for Housing ACT to evict vulnerable Canberrans.

“In the initial consultations for this legislation, the housing and community sector highlighted concerns about the potential for weakening the rights of public housing tenants.

“We urge the Attorney General and the ACT Government to listen to the experts and to ensure that public housing tenants are afforded the same protections and respect as private rental tenants,” Dr Campbell said.

More information on the proposed legislation and information on how to make a submission can be found on the ACT Government’s YourSay website.

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.