Preliminary comment: Antisocial Behaviour Bill 2015


The Tenants’ Union of NSW holds strong concerns about the Residential Tenancies and Housing Legislation Amendment (Public Housing – Antisocial Behaviour) Bill 2015. The bill, which will make significant changes to certain processes for ending social housing tenancies, among other things, has been introduced into the NSW Legislative Assembly without consultation. The Tenants’ Union takes this opportunity to issue a preliminary comment in relation to the bill. We will produce a substantial comment addressing the bill in detail at a later time.

The bill intends to ‘amend the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and the Housing Act 2001 to facilitate the termination of public housing tenancies for antisocial behaviour and for other purposes’. The primary means by which it will achieve this is by removing the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s ability to properly act as the independent dispute resolution forum in cases involving social housing tenancies.

It will do this in two ways:

  • By removing the Tribunal’s discretion regarding termination of tenancy agreements in certain cases, in circumstances where discretion is necessary to avoid injustice.
  • By restricting the Tribunal’s ability to consider evidence in certain matters, other than evidence tendered in support of applications by social housing landlords.

If passed, the bill will render the Tribunal incapable of delivering just outcomes in many cases. Rather than consider and determine social housing tenancy disputes as the independent arbiter, the Tribunal will be reduced to an administrative tool for social housing landlords.

Update: See also our Further Comment here.