Driven out

Car blaze last straw for terrified tenant

A CAR that was set alight in an alleged arson attack belongs to a man who was last week involved in a fracas with neighbours at Fremantle’s Cold Stores housing complex (“Residents besieged,” Herald, February 13, 2016).

A 43-year-old fellow tenant of the WA Housing complex between Queen Victoria and Beach Streets has been charged with criminal damage by fire.

The victim was hospitalised last week following a psychotic outburst he says was brought on by the stress of living in the complex, and constant arguments with drug-dealing neighbours.

Now recuperating with his parents in Mandurah he is too frightened to return to his unit and fears he may be charged himself over last week’s incident: having barricaded himself in his unit he’d thrown a mobile phone at a police officer, thinking it was a drug dealer, and is worried about possible assault charges.

The Murdoch University student says he suffers from psychosis and depression, but had lived hassle-free in the complex until the suspected drug dealer moved in six months ago.

He says constant screaming and fighting slowly built up the pressure in his head before he lost his temper. He says he’s embarrassed by the incident but has received support from neighbours and police who understand what he’s been through.

“I am putting in for an emergency transfer, but I need a certificate from my doctor and I can’t get in to see him to get that until next week,” he told the Herald.

Late last week Housing told the Herald one of two known problem tenants had been given their marching orders, and the other was hanging on by a thread.

“The tenant of one of these units has two current strikes against his tenancy,” Housing general manager Greg Cash said.

“Housing is currently investigating several other disruptive behaviour complaints against his tenancy for incidents in recent weeks.”

The Herald understands there are six complaints against the tenant, and if just one sticks Housing will be straight down to the magistrates court to get him evicted under its three strikes policy.

Mr Cash said the other problem tenant had already been issued an eviction notice, which would be enforced if he wasn’t gone by the required date.

Another tenant had been kicked out in November.

“It is worth noting that the Cold Stores complex consists of 101 social housing units, and the vast majority of those tenants meet their tenancy obligations to respect their neighbours,” Mr Cash said.

Neighbours agree, saying that until the dealers arrived, it was a great place to live.

“You could hear a pin drop at night,” one told the Herald.

Another said Housing should avoid putting problem tenants into dense complexes like the Cold Stores because their behaviour affects too many people and turns the place into a powder keg.

by STEVE GRANT

Jensen Auto 10x2

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