‘No deCoram’

Housing tenants claim they’re being terrorised

TENANTS of a Homeswest complex in Knutsford Street say they are being terrorised by drug dealers, addicts and alcoholics and feel their concerns are being ignored.

Coram Court is a block away from Monument Hill, and the residents say at times it resembles a war zone.

“There are about three known drug dealers on the block, and it has become quite dangerous,” one resident told the Herald. “It’s truly outrageous some of the stuff that goes on in here.”

Those the Herald spoke to requested anonymity for fear of reprisals.

They say Coram Court was originally established for over-55s, but the elderly residents who still remain are being put at risk by the erratic behaviour of their neighbours.

Thrown brick

A tenant in her 80s recently had a brick thrown through her window at midnight, while some newly-refurbished units have had their windows smashed and flowerpots are being thrown off balconies.

Another resident said a younger person was spotted throwing his furniture off second-storey balcony above a walkway, which could have seriously injured someone.

Disruptive behaviour has become so bad an 83-year-old man has taken to sleeping in his car because the resident living above him bangs on the floor all night. 

He has reported the noise on numerous occasions, but the residents say no action has been taken. 

They fear the complex’s reputation is now so tarnished it can’t attract good tenants, as they drive straight past when they recognise the building. Even friends are hesitant to visit.

The tenants say getting Homeswest contractors to fix the damage can take ages, making the complex look even worse.

“You used to be able to leave them a message in the morning and by the afternoon they’d fix your plumbing or whatever that was wrong,” one said.

”Once they shifted to one of these international bigwigs, everything went to pot,” one said.

“Now I had a girl sit with me and we waited an hour and half for someone to pick up the phone.

“All the efforts that we have made to try and contact Housing  WA have led to virtually no help at all. 

“The place has gone to rack and ruin; the cleaners weren’t doing their jobs – there’s rubbish everywhere. 

“Everyone denied what was going on, they must have thought it was all our fault.”


The residents recently asked Homeswest, now part of the Department of Communities, to install CCTV cameras but got knocked back.

“We said to them to just need to put up one camera on each corner of the building and you’ll be able to see everything that’s going on,” a resident said.

The department told the Herald it didn’t install cameras in its complexes because of the high cost of monitoring, recording and servicing them.

“It is also important when considering the placement of security and surveillance devices that they do not infringe on the rights of other tenants to privacy in line with legal considerations under the Surveillance Devices Act 1998,” a spokesperson from the department said.

“Tenants may install additional security measures such as security cameras at their own expense after seeking written approval from Communities.”

The spokesperson said the department did not have the power to investigate illegal activities.

“Law and order issues or criminal matters, such as vandalism, should be reported to WA Police in the first instance, who are the appropriate authority to investigate criminal matters and concerns for citizen safety,” they said.

“Communities advises residents all complaints regarding any alleged criminal behaviour should be directed to WA Police.”

The tenants have also pointed the finger at accommodation supplier Housing Choices, which manages four tenancies in the complex, saying problems had become worse since they became involved. The organisation aims to provide a roof for rough sleepers who’ve been without shelter for extended periods.

WA general manager Natalie Sangalli wouldn’t reveal if they’d received any complaints for residents, citing the Privacy Act, but said “every effort” is made to match new tenants to their neighbourhood.

“With almost 20,000 people on the joint waitlist for housing and about 2000 people sleeping rough in Perth, sometimes we will house people with complex needs,” Ms Sangalli said.

The Housing Choices team try to connect tenants with support services if issues emerge, but it is on a voluntary basis.

“The current housing crisis in WA, and across the nation, means that support services are also stretched to the limit,” she said.

Responding to the other residents’ claims, she said Housing Choices had a policy on antisocial behaviour, but not drug use, which was a police matter.

“We do require sufficient evidence to be sure that if the case [for eviction] appears before a magistrate, we have taken all the correct steps.

“In the current environment we are working harder than ever to sustain tenancies as there are really no options for people who are evicted from social housing and there is a risk that we are simply exacerbating homelessness and all the consequent costs to the individual and the system,” Ms Sangalli said.


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