Crackdown on public housing tenants with investment properties
Housing SA is establishing a new team to identify public housing tenants who own residential property outside the terms of their tenancy agreements.
Social Housing Minister Zoe Bettison said the new Property Ownership Review Team will look into cases where public housing occupants are thought to own residential property.
"Tenants who own residential property will face potential eviction unless they can prove extenuating circumstances for their ownership," Ms Bettison said.
"An example of extenuating circumstances could be a person escaping domestic violence who has co-ownership of the house their former partner is living in.
"Other examples include property that has a life estate granted to a third-party, a property that is uninhabitable and has limited or no value, and cases where a tenant has specific housing needs which could not be met through private housing."
Since 1989, public housing conditions of tenancy have prohibited tenants from owning property. Until now, cases where public housing residents have been identified as property owners have been investigated on a case by case basis.
"Recent advancements in data matching technology have significantly enhanced Housing SA's ability to conduct large-scale audits to identify public housing residents who own residential property," Ms Bettison said.
"A successful trial of this technology resulted in 24 property owners vacating their public housing tenancies because they owned other properties.
"A broad scale review of all Housing Trust tenancies has now been commissioned through the PORT program.
"The team will conduct detailed investigations to identify public housing residents who own residential property, assess their circumstances, and seek eviction if they are in breach of their tenancy conditions."
Minister Bettison said South Australia had more public housing per capita than any other state but there is still considerable demand.
"Public housing is not a right, it is a privilege afforded by the South Australian taxpayer to those in our community who are genuinely struggling," she said.
"Public housing is intended for our most vulnerable citizens. This includes victims of domestic violence, people with disability or those on low incomes.
"It is simply not acceptable for people to have an investment property when they are also receiving taxpayer-subsidised rent."