WA Department of Housing - Compensation for Neglectful Maintenance?

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11 May 2015
1. We have lived in a homeswest house (Department of Housing) now for 13 years, my children were 6, 4 and 2 when we moved in and shortly after we moved in, the back fence was identified by homeswest contractors as blue asbestos, it is cracked, broken and neighbours has drilled thru it. According to homeswests' own website it was suppose to be covered with black plastic until it was replaced. we have been told not to use the backyard due to the fence.. some 13 years later it still has not been done , are we entitled to a rebate of the rent paid due to us not being able to use part of the property?

2. From day one, we have also had water leaks. My son's bedroom was flooded before we moved in and the carpet was not cleaned properly. my son started to get sick just a year after we moved in, we had tests done and it was determined that mold was responsible for his constant Asthma attacks. we lifted the carpet in his room only to find that the rubber under the carpet was rotting away with mold, since then we have had constant underground water leaks which homeswest has taken , 3 years to repair the first one and we are still waiting some 3 years later again to have more leaks fixed (we are still waiting for the water rebate for the underground water leaks) and have been issued breaches because we have not paid them, also our shower has micro fractures in the tiles causing dampness in my linen press and this has been that way for more than 5 years, each time we report it they sent someone out to look at it but it is never fixed properly and now it looks like my husbands 5 year illness is due to the black mold from our linen press and from other places in the house.

Do we have a case against them and who can handle a case such as ours because I believe we are entitled to a rent rebate for not being able to use part of the property and also I believe we are entitled to compensation for the health problems my family has had due to the neglectful lack of maintenance?


Well-Known Member
10 February 2015
Hi Jeanene,

Firstly, the condition of the house you're living in sounds horrific. Normally I would suggest getting in contact with Commerce WA and making a complaint then going to a Tribunal if the situation wasn't resolved. However because your home is owned by the Government and they haven't been responding over the course of several years, I think it's time to seek legal representation.

My feeling is that you're on the right track wanting to pursue compensation for the condition of the house you've been living in. Black mould is a recognised toxin and health hazard and the risks of broken exposed asbestos are notorious.

Have you gotten in contact with Tenancy WA? As a starting point I suggest that you contact them and ask them for help, including finding a lawyer who can represent you pro bono. Tenancy WA