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Social Housing, Homelessness and Human Rights


Tamara Walsh

Social housing is reserved for the most vulnerable tenants, yet social housing tenants are subject to the same residential tenancy laws as private tenants and may even be held to a higher standard of behaviour. As a result, social housing tenants are at high risk of eviction. This article reports on the results of a mixed methods study on eviction proceedings involving social housing tenants. The study involved textual analysis of 98 published judgments and focus group research with 43 tenants’ advocates. It was found that the very factors that make someone eligible for social housing in Australia simultaneously put them at risk of eviction. This research suggests that the law provides limited protection against eviction to homelessness. Despite the importance of individuals’ interests in having a home,  rights-based arguments are generally ineffective in this context.

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(2022) 45(2) UNSWLJ 688: