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Australia : Public housing P plates could go State-wide.

The Liberal National Government is considering a State-wide rollout of its probationary tenancies initiative.

Housing Minister Brendon Grylls said results from the ongoing 'P plates' trial, announced in June 2015, for new tenants in the Housing Authority's south metropolitan zone had been encouraging.

During the trial, potentially troublesome tenants were offered six month tenancies, on the basis that disruptive behaviour or non-payment of rent during that period would see the tenancy not renewed and the tenant required to vacate. A trouble-free first six months would see the tenancy moved to an ongoing periodic tenancy.

Mr Grylls said the P plates initiative further reinforced the 'three strikes' policy which was introduced by the Liberal National Government in 2009 and strengthened in 2011.

"Tenants are expected to follow three simple, basic rules: pay the rent, look after the property and respect the neighbours," he said.

"This trial is building a greater understanding among new tenants that housing assistance is conditional on them meeting those obligations."

The trial has been run from the Housing Authority's Fremantle office for all new tenants, with the exception of people 55 years and older who have been proven good tenants. The trial saw 179 tenancies participate, with 124 (69 per cent) of those tenancies successfully progressing from a fixed term tenancy to a periodic tenancy.

A small number of tenancies in the trial - less than 13 per cent - did not have their fixed term tenancy renewed for breaches of their tenancy agreement including accrued debt, disruptive behaviour and poor property standards.

"Lessons learned through the trial have informed the need to consider further conditions on tenancies that are having difficulty maintaining their tenancies, rather than face eviction," the Minister said.

A small number of tenants (three per cent) were referred to the Support and Tenant Education Program (STEP), a voluntary early intervention program for tenants to provide support to those who are having difficulties sustaining their tenancy and who may otherwise face eviction.

A final decision on how the Housing Authority can use tools such as probationary tenancies to help build tenant capacity is expected to be made in the next three months.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Sep 24, 2016
Words:369
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