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Public housing tenants admit to rorting system

02 October 2013 Reporter

Hundreds of public housing tenants in South Australia have come forward and admitted to rorting the system during a month-long amnesty in August.

At least 860 tenants revealed they had been living rent-free in public housing or not paying enough rent, costing the state about $1 million a year.

Housing SA gave tenants a month to provide details of undeclared income or household members, without being penalised.

However, they would be required to pay rent based on their true income or household size after the amnesty ended.

The housing body’s data revealed 510 people self-reported undeclared tenants and 368 reported earning more than they had first advised them of.

Another 102 members of the public made reports about public housing tenants living close by, with the most reports made about tenants in the Salisbury area.

The state government has estimated that the information revealed from the amnesty would allow Housing SA to recover about $1 million more in revenue.

Family First MLC Robert Brokenshire told The Advertiser she praised the amnesty initiative but said it exposed Housing SA’s failure to properly manage its properties.

“This just confirms that Housing SA is not doing anywhere near enough compliance,” he said.

“They should be having a look at the reasons why they have found so many [undeclared tenants].

“If it’s because people are desperate for housing, that’s a major concern.”

Mr Brokenshire added that some tenants could even be trying to benefit from the system by renting rooms out to make extra money.

Housing Trust Tenants Association assistant secretary Julie Macdonald said she was surprised so many people admitted they were “rorting the system”.

She told The Advertiser neighbours of tenants would often report them if they had extra people living in the home or there were signs of extra income, such as a brand new car.

Public housing tenants admit to rorting system
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