Despite the ACT government's moratorium on the eviction of tenants from its public and community housing on "hardship" grounds, a major provider has evicted a tenant with less than 24 hours' notice without appropriate mediation.
David Bryce says he is now homeless and couch-surfing after an argument with management at the village.
Ainslie Village is a community housing property owned by the ACT government and managed by Bowral-based company Argyle Housing.
He was evicted from his room in the single men's accommodation by management in early July with less than 24 hours' notice. He said he was up to date on his rental payments and no explanation was given.
He says he has been promised labouring work on a Canberra building site and is keen to take it up but finds it difficult to do so while he doesn't have a fixed address.
On April 20, the government announced the provision of additional $3 million in funding to support vulnerable people to ensure they are not made homeless during the coronavirus pandemic.
On July 23, ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay publicly announced a further three-month extension of the government's moratorium on evictions on "hardship" grounds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The moratorium is enshrined in legislation under the Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Declaration 2020 (No 2).
Through the ACT Housing Minister's office, Argyle Housing has assessed that the COVID-19 Residential Tenancies ACT eviction moratorium declaration doesn't apply in Mr Bryce's circumstance.
Mr Bryce said he was appalled that he was summarily evicted without any due process.
He had been a tenant at Ainslie Village for around 18 months and had worked part-time doing maintenance work for the provider in return for reduced rent.
"I'm pretty disgusted by the way I've been treated," Mr Bryce said.
"I've attempted to discuss the situation with the management up there but they refuse to talk to me.
"I've tried to reach out a number of ways but I've been brushed off. I'm now out on the street during the pandemic.
"If this isn't hardship, what is?
"These people [at Argyle Housing] claim to be champions for vulnerable people but from where I'm sitting, that's a joke."
Attempts by The Canberra Times to contacted Argyle Housing and speak to its chief executive officer, Wendy Middleton, received a "no comment" response.
Under its end of tenancy policy, Argyle Housing states that its objective is to "to deal sensitively to individual circumstances in deciding to end a tenancy" and "ensure natural justice for our tenants".
It undertakes to "ensure tenants have access to tenancy advice, interpreters and support if their tenancy is threatened or is ending".
It gives an undertaking to "advise our tenants exactly what is required of them to meet their legal responsibilities when their tenancy ends, regardless of the reason for the tenancy ending".
The office of the ACT Minister for Housing, Yvette Berry, said that the minister was "unable to comment on the individual circumstances of a tenant".
"All community housing providers are required to comply with the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act, as with private landlords," she said.
"If anyone is currently experiencing homelessness within the ACT, I encourage them to get in contact so the ACT government and specialist homelessness services can assist."