Contractors ignore mum’s right to safe home

A mother and her young children could not sleep in their public housing home after asbestos removalists did not finish the job and damaged the home. When Kim came home, after vacating for the clean-up organised by the Department of Health and Human Services, the job was half-finished and the asbestos removalists had not replaced the plaster on the ceiling or walls, leaving electrical wires sticking out.

They had also broken the toilet.

“I’m in the middle of having a panic attack ...I’ve been put in a situation with nowhere to sleep tonight, we don’t have any friends or family around here, we don’t even have somewhere to go to the toilet,” Kim said.

Kim first called the Department, who tried to contact the contractors that undertook the repairs. However, by time she called us at 5pm, the contractors had not been in touch.

The Department quickly arranged a contractor to go to Kim’s home that night to fix the toilet and ensure the electrical wiring was safe. By that time, Kim had already booked a motel room to make sure her family had somewhere safe to stay.

The next day, new contractors plastered the holes in the walls and ceiling and capped the exposed wiring.

Kim moved back home with her children and a housing manager agreed to update. Kim each day until the final repair works were complete.

The Department also refunded Kim for the cost of the motel room and reminded the original maintenance contractors of their responsibility to leave homes in a liveable condition and properly communicate with tenants.