Family of seven facing eviction
A YOUNG Southside family will be forced on to the street if a Department of Housing threat to evict them is carried out.
Crystal Sharrock has lived in her four-bedroom Helen St home for the past four years, and was joined three years ago by her partner Dale Ludcke, and 18 months ago by their baby daughter Mia. Six months ago Crystal's other four children, ranging in age up to seven years, moved into the family home.
Crystal has not had an easy life. She has not seen her own family since she was a young girl, has done her time on the streets and does not want to go back there.
Dale and his extended family are the best thing that has ever happened to her, she says.
Dale's mum Leanne lives in a department home just over the back fence with her three daughters and granddaughter.
Leanne doesn't pull any punches.
She doesn't like the way her son and daughter-in-law have been treated by the department over the last six months, and she has let the department know it.
Now she is worried she has made the family a target.
"For the last month or so an inspector from Housing has been coming around to (Dale and Crystal's) house," she said this week.
"They have been told by this inspector that the yard is untidy or unmowed, which it isn't. Now she (the inspector) is saying the house is untidy because of the kids' toys on the floor in the bedroom. This inspector told them that even though they are trying to keep the place tidy they will probably be evicted."
Leanne says there are many Department of Housing homes in Gympie that have unmown lawns, including Dale and Crystal's neighbours.
She has pointed this out to the Department of Housing.
Dale is on a pension and he and Crystal get by on their combined welfare payments.
They are stressed about their situation and are not sure what they must do to avoid being evicted.
A car they recently replaced, but had left parked beside the carport, has been removed after a request from the inspector, and the lawn mowed.
The inspector is returning next month.
"I would be out on the street (if evicted)," Crystal says.
"I wouldn't know what to do because I have got no family and nothing. I've had nothing to do with my family since I was a little girl.
"We have worked so hard to get all the kids together in one place."
A spokesman for Housing said yesterday the family had not been evicted but that departmental policy allowed for breach notices and Notices to Leave to be issued in line with breach procedures.
"Only the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal can order a termination of tenancy," the spokesman said.
"The department can advise that they are working with the client and an NGO to assist them in remedying outstanding property matters in relation to their tenancy. The department expects social housing tenants to uphold their obligation to care for their rental accommodation."
Tenants who breach the rental rules are issued with a Notice to Remedy form, and if they fail to fix the breach within 10 days they are given a Notice to Leave form and 14 days to vacate.
The Department of Communities has a list of "breaches" that could lead to tenants being evicted. Here are some:
- rent arrears
- causing damage to the premises
- causing a nuisance by the use of the premises
- interfering with the peace, comfort or privacy of neighbours
- failing to keep the inclusions clean, eg dirty or untidy premises, broken glass or wall panelling, long grass or car wrecks
- keeping animals or large birds inside
- breaching local government laws
- exceeding the approved number of residents living in the house