Why houses fail to deliver health benefit -TENANT DAMAGE IS NOT THE PROBLEM

September 18, 2013 detail3_3

Healthabitat is often asked why the work done by Housing for Health projects was needed. Why do the houses need fixing and is it really due to tenant damage?

Whilst it seems reasonable to believe that the responsibility for the health of any family or community is in their own hands, in the case of poor communities both in Australia and overseas, the living environment has little to do with their own negligence,
 and more to do with access to basic resources, poor initial design and construction and lack of regular maintenance.  In Australia there is little accountability taken by any level of government responsible for the housing function that ensure health.

When the reasons for housing failure were recorded for 250,000 +  items fixed in over 7,500 houses tested across Australia since 1999, the data paints a stark picture:

70% of the work needed was due to lack of routine maintenance to fix the things that fail in all houses due to age and use.

21% of the work needed was due to poor initial construction to fix those things designed and built upside down and back to front.

And only 9% of the work needed was due to damage, vandalism, misuse or overuse by tenants. Whilst damage should not be excused, many of the houses tested have high levels of crowding due to lack of housing.

Not only are tenants not part of the problem, they are a significant part of the solution.

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Click here to see the definitions of each category and how they are tested on housing for health projects.