Wednesday, 17th December, 2008
By Stefan Delatovic
Company directors have been disallowed from buying public housing auctioned in the city's south after community concern.
An estate of public housing properties in Knox and Tuart Street was auctioned off this year by Housing NSW after the houses had remained vacant and vandalised for years.
The community's understanding was that the houses were to be sold as affordable accommodation to families ready to move in, but many were reportedly snapped up as investments.
One local man, who did not want to be named, wrote to the BDT with his concerns.
He said that, as a prospective buyer of one of the houses, he was outraged recently when informed that a number of these houses were sold to a single person.
"My understanding was these houses were to be sold to people who intended living in them, and that they were not to be sold within a certain time period," he said.
The man said one company director purchased 23 of the houses.
Some have been renovated and are currently being advertised for sale.
"A large number of people missed out on buying these houses and I was one of them. As people were led to believe these houses were to be sold cheaply, obviously something is wrong with this situation," said the angry local.
A Housing NSW spokesperson said the homes were sold via public auction.
"The properties had two 'restrictions of use'.
"The initial restriction allowed company directors to purchase the properties and a number were sold under this restriction. Following community concerns about one particular company buying the properties, the restriction was revised to limit sales only to 'natural persons'," he said.
"A tighter process was implemented for subsequent sales and the company directors have not purchased any further properties in South Broken Hill.
"Additionally there is a restriction which limits the use of the property, requiring that the property would not be used as rental accommodation and only for accommodation for the registered owner and his/her immediate family.
"Buyers can resell properties or spend more money in upgrading the properties as they chose. Although the property can be sold, the restriction remains on the title for a period of seven years. Therefore subsequent sales will need to meet the requirements of the original restriction."