Every tenant is expected to be a good neighbour.
Being a good neighbour is a mutual compromise as everyone is entitled to peaceful enjoyment of their property.
Tenants in public housing properties have responsibilities and obligations under their tenancy agreements and the Residential Tenancies Act 1987. Tenants must not:
- cause intentional or reckless damage to the property
- injure any person occupying or permitted on adjacent properties
- use, cause or permit the property to be used for an illegal purpose
- cause or permit interference with the reasonable peace, comfort, or privacy of those who live in the immediate vicinity of the property.
What is disruptive behaviour?
Disruptive behaviour is ongoing or unreasonable nuisance or disruption that occurs at or near a public housing property managed by Communities that negatively impacts those residing in the immediate vicinity. This can include:
- excessive or ongoing noise
- threats, intimidation, offensive behaviour or assault
- unlawful trespass
- noise and disturbance from household arguments.
Resolving concerns with your neighbours
The best way to resolve concerns or disagreements is by talking to your neighbours and making them aware of the disruption and the impact on your household. You may be able to reach a reasonable compromise that is acceptable to everyone.
If you cannot reach an agreement with your neighbour, Legal Aid Western Australia provides information and assistance in dealing with common problems, your rights and options, and where you can find help.
You can report disruptive behaviour at a public housing property online or on 1300 597 076.
Investigating disruptive behaviourShow more
The Department of Communities has streamlined the way it manages complaints to make it easier for people to raise concerns about disruptive tenants.
There are three severity categories of disruptive behaviour:
- Dangerous behaviours – activities that pose a risk to the safety or security of residents or property, or have resulted in injury to a person in the immediate vicinity of the premises. This includes a common area or adjacent premises when the person is in occupation or is a permitted visitor.
- Serious behaviours – activities that intentionally or recklessly cause serious disturbance or damage to a person or property in the immediate vicinity of the premises. This includes behaviour that could be expected to cause concern for the safety and security of a person or property.
- Disruptive behaviours – activities that cause an ongoing or unreasonable nuisance. This includes unreasonable interference with the peace, privacy and comfort of a person in the immediate vicinity of the premises.
The Department of Communities can only investigate and take action against tenants in public housing properties if the disruptive behaviour breaches the conditions of their tenancy agreement or the Residential Tenancies Act 1987.
Some activities or behaviour may be concerning but cannot be investigated by the Department, including:
- unpleasant or annoying neighbours
- personal disputes or disagreements you may have with a neighbour
- noise and activity associated with normal daily life e.g., children playing
- barking dogs
- incidents that take place away from the tenant’s property.
To help achieve the best outcome, it’s important to report issues to the appropriate agency.
Managing disruptive behaviourShow more
The Housing Authority, operating within the Department of Communities, manages disruptive behaviour in accordance with the Disruptive Behaviour Management Policy.
Once a report of disruptive behaviour is received and determined as falling within the Residential Tenancies Act 1987, the Department will investigate the incident in accordance with principles of procedural fairness. This includes giving the tenant an opportunity to respond to the complaint.
If the incident breaches the Residential Tenancies Act 1987, the Department will take appropriate action. Communities action will be proportionate to the behaviour, which may include seeking to terminate the tenancy.
Support for tenants
The Department of Communities works closely with tenants, other government and support agencies and community organisations to assist and encourage tenants to meet their tenancy obligations and sustain their tenancies.
The disruptive behaviour management strategy is based on the principles of providing tenants with the opportunity to resolve tenancy concerns and modify behaviour (with relevant assistance), while also providing clarity and standards for tenants and the community on the consequences of ongoing disruptive behaviour.
The strategy includes appropriate referrals to support services, including Thrive, and the Department of Communities’ Child Protection and Family Support services where relevant.
If you are a public housing tenant and would like more information about available support services, please contact your local Communities Housing office.
Terminating a tenancy
If the behaviour is in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987, a strike may be issued against the tenancy. If a final strike is issued, the Housing Authority may begin the process to terminate the tenancy.
The Housing Authority does not have the authority to evict a tenant without a court order. The decision to evict a tenant is exclusive to the Magistrates Court. When seeking to evict a tenant, the Housing Authority must produce evidence which corroborates the incidents of disruptive behaviour, and the Magistrate must be satisfied that the behaviour justifies terminating the agreement.
Reporting disruptive behaviour at a public housing propertyShow more
You can report disruptive behaviour at a public housing property:
- Report Disruptive behaviour form
- or by phoning 1300 597 076
- or in person at your local Communities Housing office.
Communities will investigate to determine whether the tenant has breached the Residential Tenancies Act 1987.
There are several agencies who can assist with disruptive behaviour at a public housing property, depending on the issue.
If you are concerned about your safety or the safety of others, loud music or parties (occurring at the time) or suspected illegal activity, you should contact:
- WA Police in the first instance on 131 444 (000 for all emergencies).
- Communities’ Disruptive Behaviour Reporting Line on 1300 597 076 or online.
Department of Communities
You can also let us know about any of the following issues at a public housing property:
- rubbish, parking, property condition, dividing fences – at your local Communities Housing office
- concerns about child welfare – to Child Protection.
Your local council
You can let your local council know about:
- noise (including construction and power tools)
- trees, rubbish or concerns and the condition of your neighbour’s property
- issues to do with neighbourhood animals (including noise from barking dogs)
- abandoned vehicles and street parking.
Contact details for your local council can be found the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.
You can report any animal welfare concerns to the RSPCA on 1300 278 3589 or using their online form available at www.rspca.org.au.
Reporting suspected illegal activity at a public housing property
Suspected illegal activity at a public housing property must first be reported to WA Police on 131 444 before reporting it to the Department of Communities (Housing) online or on 1300 597 076. In an emergency, call 000.
The Department of Communities will investigate this alongside any criminal investigation by Police to determine whether the tenant has breached the Residential Tenancies Act 1987.
Your details are kept confidential. If you choose to remain anonymous the Department of Communities will not be able to inform you of the outcome of your complaint. It will also make it difficult to take action if no witnesses are identified.