Get it Fixed! Prompting NSW Public Housing to repair the system

Are you living in a rundown pubic housing in NSW? Have you lodged numerous complaints with­­­ the NSW public housing department or even undertaken legal action to no avail? If yes, you are not alone! There are many of others tenants who have shared similar housing issues and stories on a newly launched website called Get it Fixed!

Get it Fixed! is a web site created by community-based organisations and tenants who are concerned about the poor standards of NSW public housing as a result of inactive state housing departments and corporations providing services to an unsatisfactory standard. Through this website, NSW public housing tenants can share stories about their house repair process and the problems they face. Some of the problems include:

Ineffective bureaucracy and long delays in the repairs process.

The current system requires tenants to call a Repairs and Maintenance hotline, where a customer service representative contacts an asset team in the Department of Finance. The asset team then engages a contractor who arrives to fix the problem. However, if the problem returns or is not fixed in a reliable manner, the tenant then has to seek help through a different channel, this time Customer Service Officer of Housing NSW in the Department of Family and Community Service.

Confused? You are not alone! It’s roundabout and ineffective.

An inefficient system.

Despite the high number of work orders requiring recalls of repairs work, the housing department has not taken any action against contractors that have delivered sub-standard work.

The public housing authority ignoring court orders.

In the past, Housing NSW still hasn’t commenced repairs even when they are ordered by the Consumer Trader & Tenancy Tribunal.

The Get it Fixed! website provides useful information in the hope it will increase the chance of the tenant’s voice being heard and acted on. The web site’s creators have released a position paper arguing that the public housing authority and NSW government should:

  • put more funding for house repairs,
  • conduct an audit of current house repairs contracting arrangements to identify inefficiencies and lack of accountability in the private contracting system,
  • reform the repairs process to be more efficient, and
  • ensure Housing NSW complies with court orders made by the Consumer Trader & Tenancy Tribunal.

If you are faced with these problems, here’s what you can do:

  • Equip yourself with information on tenants’ rights and the housing repairs kit.
  • Contact tenant’s advice and advocacy services for housing problems.
  • Seek legal service assistance.
  • Talk to your local parliament member about your housing problems.
  • Share written and video stories on housing problems with Get it Fixed!

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