Queensland Government introduces fixed term leases for public housing tenants

ALL new public housing tenants in Queensland will be required to sign fixed term agreements as part of Queensland Government reforms that aim to tackle the state's social housing crisis.

Housing and Public Works Minister Bruce Flegg last week said all new public housing tenancies from 1 July 2012 would be for fixed periods of three years, as part of the long process of fixing the system.

"This is about reinforcing the message that social housing is not an entitlement for life and to ensure that it continues to be allocated to those most in need," Dr Flegg said.

"We will continue to regularly review a household's eligibility and housing entitlements during the tenancy."

Dr Flegg said the Department would examine ways to expand fixed term tenancies in the future, such as offering five year leases to elderly or long-term tenants and single year leases to tenants with a history of disruptive or anti-social behaviour.

"We will continue to be sensitive to the needs of our tenants though, and nobody will be left without a place to live or forced into share accommodation," Dr Flegg said.

The Minister said at the end of each agreement, a tenant's eligibility for social housing will be reviewed.

"They will be either offered a new fixed term lease or assisted to transition to the private rental market if their circumstances indicate public housing is no longer needed," Dr Flegg said.

Last month, the Queensland Government unveiled a number of proposed reforms that aim to improve the state's social housing system, which has 30,000 applications currently on the waiting list and is expected to record a $140 million deficit by 2015-2016.

Proposed reforms include addressing under-occupancy of current housing stock; changing and simplifying rent policy; reducing administrative and maintenance costs; and creating a stronger role for non-government housing providers.

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