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This document defines Homes North’s approach to ensuring appropriate prevention and early intervention procedures are applied to ensure situations do not escalate.
This policy guides decisions about the appropriate responses to behaviours which threaten the wellbeing of residents within a community. The community incorporates all residents whether Homes North Community Housing tenants or otherwise. This policy acknowledges our aim to contribute to the wellbeing of the wider communities in which we operate.
The policy also acknowledges Homes North’s legal responsibilities as a landlord.
3. Policy Statement
Homes North aims to resolve neighbourhood disputes and behaviours which impact adversely on other residents in a manner which is respectful of the rights of all parties. Homes North will aim to determine the relevant issues without judgement and will attempt to find a resolution which seeks to improve the outcomes for all parties involved. Homes North commits to working in partnership with other services to enhance community wellbeing through shared skills and resources where appropriate.
This policy will work in conjunction with Homes North’s Antisocial Behaviour Management Policy which outlines the process of dealing with cases that do escalate beyond the capacity of this policy to manage.
Homes North recognises the need to embrace a holistic approach to enhancing community wellbeing through resident participation, partnering with support services and mediation. Homes North will adopt a range of methods which will include prevention, intervention, support and enforcement, as outlined below, to manage negative behaviour in the community.
Ensure new and existing tenants understand their contractual responsibilities to their neighbours as specified in the Residential Tenancy Agreement.
Communicate acceptable standards of behaviour to new tenants using our tenancy sign-up procedures, tenant handbooks, information leaflets, newsletters and our website.
Encourage resident feedback, communication and participation.
Work with tenants to improve their environment through property and maintenance inspections.
Identify and support tenants needing assistance by providing support directly or by referring to specialist agencies and support groups.
Use sensitive and flexible local allocations approaches where necessary.
Promote and encourage neighbourhood strategies which enhance resident satisfaction.
Sustain tenancies through early intervention and resolution rather than termination.
Use mediation to resolve disputes where the parties are willing to participate.
Refer residents to support services and programs where appropriate.
Transfers may be considered where other measures, such as mediation and referrals have failed to resolve issues, but will only be recommended where considered an appropriate response.
Provide a confidential and non-judgemental method to report disputes and behaviours which compromise community wellbeing.
Contact or refer residents to appropriate support services where applicable.
Provide feedback where possible of proposed actions taken to resolve issues.
Encourage and support residents to resolve neighbourhood disputes directly in a constructive and non-confrontational manner.
Establish and maintain effective working relationships with partner agencies including, but not limited to, welfare services, education, police and health services.
Use enforcement where prevention, intervention and support measures have failed or were deemed to be inappropriate. Homes North’s Antisocial Behaviour Management Policy outlines the various levels of antisocial behaviour and what steps should be taken to address the behaviour where early intervention and prevention are not successful.
Homes North appreciates the importance of supporting complainants. Homes North staff will respond promptly to tenant complaints and keep complainants informed of progress while we are dealing with the complaint. Complainants have the right to expect that personal information will be dealt with in a sensitive and confidential manner. Wherever possible, Homes North will maintain confidentiality as a fundamental principle, however, we may not be able to do this where the complaint involves child protection issues, risk of violence or harm, criminal activity, fraud or legal proceedings.
All reported incidents will be investigated; however enforcement action can only be taken where incidents are able to be substantiated, are in accordance with Homes North’s Antisocial Behaviour Management Policy and where the behaviour is a breach of the current Residential Tenancy Agreement.
6. Work Health and Safety Issues
The personal safety of residents, staff and contractors will be prioritised in the application of this policy.
All staff investigating complaints must consider all associated risks and check tenancy database information prior to an investigation commencing.
It is the responsibility of all staff members to withdraw from any potentially dangerous situation and report immediately to their manager. The incident should also be recorded on CompliSpace and, in consultation with the manager, be escalated to a future two person visit on the tenancy database where appropriate.
Appropriate service restrictions and boundaries may be imposed on residents where deemed necessary, according to delegation.
Threats, abuse, intimidation or harassment to staff or contractors by residents are not acceptable to Homes North. Action may be taken under the current Residential Tenancies legislation if warranted.
7. Equal Opportunity Issues
The policy will ensure that all clients are treated in a fair, equitable and transparent manner.
If a client believes Homes North has made a wrong decision they should ask for a formal review of the decision. To do this, the client needs to complete an Appeals Form stating why they disagree with the decision. Homes North have an Appeals Policy, Appeals Factsheet and Appeals Form.
If the client is dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal appeal process they can proceed to make an appeal to the independent Housing Appeals Committee (HAC). Homes North will advise the client how to lodge an appeal with HAC. Alternatively, they may access the HAC website or free call on 1800 629 794. The HAC is an independent appeals agency for all NSW community housing clients.