Public housing bonds: Getting blood out of a stone

Tenants in private rentals pay it, so charging public housing tenants for bonds sounds like a reasonable idea. But is it really?

Proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 would allow the NSW Government to charge public housing tenants a bond of up to four weeks rent.

The responsible Minister commented that 'when a tenant damages their property, the Government has to spend money that could have been used elsewhere in the social housing system...[this] reinforces tenant responsibility and encourages behavioural change'.

It is true that this would bring tenancy experiences more in line with the private rental market but at what cost?

One of the main reasons people live in public housing is because they have low incomes.

From Age Pensioners to young unemployed people, everyone in public housing has to make do with an income that at best is just enough and at worst completely inadequate.

To demand four weeks rent as a security from people who don't have any money is just silly.

CPSA and other community groups responded to the NSW Government's proposals by outlining concerns about the additional costs this would put on households already experiencing financial hardship.

Public housing tenants are one of the most vulnerable people in the community.

This policy will also create further barriers for people already struggling to access housing.

Punishing everyone for the sins of a few is unfair and ineffective.