The Right to Quiet Enjoyment in Social Housing
Hunter Community Legal Centre
The Hunter Community Legal Centre (HCLC), with the support of Community Legal Centres NSW, recently researched the issue of neighbourhood disputes in social housing. The research involved surveying clients of the HCLC who lived in social housing who had identified as having had issues with a neighbour in the past, and reviewing the current Housing NSW policies that relate to neighbourhood disputes.
The research suggests that the most common neighbourhood issue in social housing is verbal abuse, including threats and harassment, though survey participants also reported experiencing physical abuse, vandalism, theft, property damage, stalking, and noise complaints. The HCLC found that Housing NSW had a non-transparent complaints policy, was often reluctant to take action in response to tenant complaints, and participants felt that they “passed the buck” to police, often resulting in a cycle of referrals.
The HCLC recommends that Housing NSW improve their complaints procedure and their communication with tenants, for example by way of a Housing Coordinator. Further recommendations include extra support for tenants with high needs, more attention paid to allocation of tenants and greater collaboration between tenants, landlords and the police.
Download the report.