Homes Tasmania
Woman stunned after public housing contractor leaves paint ‘all over the furniture’

A woman who lives in public housing has been left in a state of disbelief after a painter contracted by Homes Tasmania left paint “all over the furniture” and told her she would need to fix the job herself if she was unhappy with it.

Diane has lived in her home in Howrah for 11 years, and she takes pride in how her home looks.

Last October, she called Homes Tasmania, which manages her public housing, about water damage to some walls. A plasterer was called to the house, who repaired the damage.

After a painting contractor came to work on the home a week later, Diane said the damage was obvious.

“Paint was all over the furniture. There was plaster dust on everything,” she said.

“The lounge, the dining, the TV had paint on it, the beds, and every curtain in the house had paint. They stood on my daughter’s bed to paint and damaged her laptop.

“They’d put no drop-sheets down.”

Diane said she was in disbelief at the state of her house and contacted the contractor immediately.

“I took photos of the damage on a Friday. The contractor responded on the Tuesday and came to take photos for himself.

“The contractor told me that the painter said my house was filthy and cluttered, and that’s why it was left that way.

“It was seriously heart-wrenching. That was their reason.”

Diane said the contractor acknowledged some damage had been done and the curtains were replaced — but the replacements were not large enough to cover the windows.

Diane said she was told she would have to fix the paint herself if she was unhappy with it.

“Where am I meant to find the money to fix it?” she said.

“This only happened because I’m in social housing. If I was in a private home, this wouldn’t have happened.

“I deserve to be treated with the same amount of respect. I’m just like everybody else.”

Diane said she wants the contractors and Homes Tasmania to repair the house.

“Between Homes Tasmania and the contractors, they’ve gone back and forth, neither accepting responsibility,” she said.

“They’ve even admitted to damaging the house, but no action has been done.

“I’m grateful to have a home, many people don’t. But this is my personal property that’s been damaged, and it feels disrespectful.”

Labor Member for Franklin David O’Byrne said he has heard many stories of people in public housing having their homes damaged.

“My office is inundated with complaints about a lack of maintenance across the social housing portfolio,” he said.

“Homes Tasmania is very quick to raise issues when tenants aren’t looking after their homes, but here’s someone who is keeping their home clean and tidy, and contractors come in and basically disrespect the house and disrespect the tenant.”

Mr O’Byrne said he believed the government’s creation of Homes Tasmania was a way to shift the blame for the issues around affordable housing.

“Housing Minister Guy Barnett now has less power to hold Homes Tasmania to account, by making it an organisation that’s kept away at arm’s length,” he said.

“We’ve raised issues around Housing Tasmania since it was announced. Here it is in the first few months, and it’s really failing the test by letting down tenants.

“Homes Tasmania has acknowledged this situation is not great, the contractor has acknowledged that’s not great, but they’re not doing anything to actually resolve their shoddy workmanship.”

Mr Barnett said he was aware of Diane’s case and understood Homes Tasmania was working with her and the contractors to help resolve the issue.

“It is unacceptable that a tenant’s property is damaged during maintenance work and I apologise to [Diane] on behalf of Homes Tasmania,” he said in a statement.

“A meeting has been organised for this Monday between RTC senior management, Homes Tasmania and the tenant to work out a satisfactory solution for the tenant.”

Housing Tasmania has been contacted for comment.