Lease agreements

Broken lease agreements

A lease agreement is a legal document that sets out your rights and responsibilities, as well as those of Housing SA. These responsibilities are the conditions you agree to at the start of the tenancy when you sign a lease agreement. Lease agreements in public housing are known as Conditions of Tenancy.

If you fail to meet the conditions set out in your lease agreement this is called a breach. Breaches can include:

  • not paying rent, maintenance, water or other charges
  • intentionally causing or allowing the property to be damaged
  • disruptive behaviour from household members or guests - eg excessive and continuous noise
  • not maintaining the property to an acceptable standard.

Difficulties meeting your agreement

If you're having problems meeting the lease agreement Housing SA will try to help you rectify the issue. This help can include:

  • connecting you with organisations and services who can help you resolve the issue
  • negotiating a debt repayment schedule you can afford
  • providing advice and information on your responsibilities and what else you can do.

For more information contact Housing SA.

Receiving an eviction notice

If the breach is severe and can't be resolved by negotiation then the eviction process will begin. An eviction notice will be sent to you.

This notice will outline which conditions have been breached, how you can resolve them and the date they must be resolved by. If the issues aren't successfully resolved before the date on the notice and you haven't moved out, Housing SA will request a hearing with the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) for your eviction.

If you have already received an eviction notice and want to resolve the matter without involving SACAT contact Housing SA.

Tribunal hearings

SACAT is the independent body that holds formal hearings and makes legally binding decisions, including eviction orders. Hearings give you and Housing SA an opportunity to put forward evidence about the issue.

Hearings are informal and are open to the public. You can bring friends, family members or other support people - eg social workers, with you. Legal representation is usually not required.

You should make every effort to attend the hearing as a decision can be made even if you're not there.

Contact SACAT as soon as possible if you:

  • are unable to attend the hearing
  • have any questions about the process
  • need an interpreter.

A copy of any decision reached will be given to you in writing, either at the end of the hearing or by post.

Advice, support and information on your rights and responsibilities at a hearing is provided by Consumer and Business Services.

Support and advocacy

If you need help negotiating with Housing SA or at a tribunal hearing the Tenants Information and Advocacy Service may be able to help. This is a free independent service that provides advice, support and advocacy to tenants.

You can get free legal advice from the Legal Services Commission.

The eviction process

If SACAT determines you are to be evicted they will set a date by when you must move out. You and your household will need to leave the property by this date.

If you haven't moved by this date a bailiff will attend the property and have the locks changed. If you didn't have enough time to remove all your belongings from the property you can arrange a time to collect them within 48 hours of the eviction by contacting Housing SA.

Anything left in the property will be treated as abandoned goods.

You can not apply for and will not be offered another property by Housing SA for 12 months if any of the below occur:

  • you are evicted
  • your probationary lease with Housing SA has not been renewed
  • a serious complaint about disruptive behaviour has been substantiated against you while you were living in public housing.

You may not be rehoused by Housing SA if you have been evicted for:

  • causing damage to the property
  • risking the health and safety of your neighbours
  • intentionally injuring a Housing SA staff member or contractor.

Related information

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    Page last updated 23 June 2017

    Provided by:
    Department for Communities and Social Inclusion
    URL:
    http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/housing/public-and-community-housing/tenants/lease-agreements-for-public-housing-properties/tenancy-obligations-and-what-happens-if-they-are-broken
    Last Updated:
    23/06/17
    Printed on:
    17/12/17
    Copyright statement:
    SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016