Public housing tenant helped to fix flooding of her property

What was the case?

Barbara had been living in the same public housing property for more than 30 years. During that time, she said her property had flooded several times during large rainfall events. The floods damaged property, including Barbara’s personal property. Since the first flood in 1993, Barbara had raised the problem with two government organisations:

  • the Department of Health and Human Services (the property’s owner)
  • and her local Council - Manningham City Council, at least twice.

She asked them to identify and fix the underlying cause of the flooding. She said the Department and the Council each told her it was up to the other organisation to fix it.

Our enquiries

We contacted the Department and Manningham City Council. The Council told us they had responded to a complaint from Barbara in 2013. They had cleared nearby Council drains which might have contributed to the flooding. The Council had also visited the property in 2020 to inspect the cause of the later flooding issue. After we contacted the Council and the Department, a detailed inspection found the causes of the flooding were:

  • a lack of connection between the property’s drainage system and the Council’s stormwater drain. This stemmed from when the property was constructed.
  • the position of the property on an overland flow path.

The Council advised the Department of these issues.


In consultation with the Council, the Department began works to connect the drains. The two organisations agreed that if this did not fix the problem, they would investigate other measures to reduce the problem. The Department compensated Barbara for damage caused to her personal property. They also offered to find an alternative house for Barbara if the flooding issue could not be resolved.