Selasa, 15 September 2009

Housing backflip: person "cannot be forced to move"

Still on the subject of moving "undesirables" away from all that is good and decent (see Chris' previous post), it's reported by the ABC today that the tenant in question does not want to move, and the NSW State Government is not in a position to force him. (Please note that this link is provided for reference purposes only... The Brown Couch does not endorse the naming of the tenant in question).

The Minister for Housing, Mr Borger, has changed his tune somewhat. He now says that, although he cannot force this tenant to move, he "will do all that we possibly can do to encourage that."

"This is a very difficult situation, it's not simple - we'll do whatever we can do within the law."

This might come as cold comfort for those on the wrong side of the Minister's sensibilities.

Mr Borger is in the unique position of having direct access to parliament, the law making machine. The law covering renters in NSW, the Residential Tenancies Act 1987, is already riddled with special provisions that relate only to social housing tenancies, and in particular those managed by Housing NSW. Most of these provisions have been added to the law by amendment, usually in response to some specific "problem" or other that the Government wanted to be seen to be taking a hard line on.

With enough political will, it is entirely within the bounds Mr Borger's position to facilitate an alteration to the law which would enable Housing NSW to relocate a specified class of tenant "by the end of the day".

Let's hope it doesn't come to that...

In the meantime, Housing NSW already has a pretty big stick. Their "Relocating Tenants for Management Purposes" policy is sufficiently vague to allow for the transfer of a tenant for any "compelling reason relating to the management of a particular tenancy". It might not happen by tonight, but if it's the Minister who wants you moved, chances are it will happen soon enough.

Whether or not that is a the best solution to this particular "problem" remains to be seen.