Safety and antisocial behaviour in public housing

As a public housing tenant, you have the right to feel safe in your home.

You must also make sure you and your visitors do not disturb other public housing tenants or your neighbours with antisocial behaviour.

You can call the public housing safety hotline on 1800 685 743, Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm.

If you need urgent help outside of these hours, including public holidays and weekends, call the Northern Territory Police on 131 444.

In an emergency call the police on 000.

Suspected criminal activity should be reported to the police.

Examples of criminal activity include all of the following:

  • domestic and family violence
  • damage to a vehicle parked outside the premises
  • sale of drugs from the premises.

Antisocial behaviour includes any of the following:

  • abusive or violent behaviour towards another person
  • creating alarm, fear or annoyance to neighbours or others in the area
  • graffiti, littering or vandalism.

Antisocial behaviour is classified as minor, moderate or serious.

Minor antisocial behaviour

Behaviour that causes annoyance from a public housing premises, including on land adjacent to or opposite the premises.

Examples include all of the following:

  • nuisance from tenants, recognised occupiers, and visitors who are at the premises with the consent of the tenant
  • excessive noise from items that interfere with the reasonable peace and privacy of neighbours such as:
    • televisions
    • stereos
    • radios
    • motor vehicles
    • party
    • behaviour
  • offensive or foul language that interferes with the reasonable peace and privacy of neighbours or causes annoyance to neighbours or others in the area, including:
    • Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities staff or contractors.

Moderate antisocial behaviour

Abusive behaviour directed to a person, or behaviour that causes fear or alarm to neighbours or others in the area of the premises. This includes behaviour on land adjacent to or opposite the premises.

Examples include all of the following:

  • threatening, intimidating, abusive, frightening and harassing behaviour directed at others, including department staff and contractors
  • verbal abuse that creates alarm or fear in neighbours or others in the area, including department staff or contractors
  • moderate damage to property belonging to the department or neighbours that is intentionally caused or permitted.

Serious antisocial behaviour

Violent behaviour caused or permitted by the tenant towards a person, neighbours or others in the area of the premises. This includes behaviour on land adjacent to or opposite the premises, or vandalism or damage to department property.

Examples include all of the following:

  • abusive, aggressive or frightening behaviour directed at others that extends beyond verbal abuse, including behaviour directed at department staff or contractors
  • threats to the health and safety of a person
  • use or threatened use of a weapon in a person’s possession
  • physical assault and acts of violence.

Public housing safety officers do all of the following:

  • help resolve and reduce antisocial behaviour in public housing
  • respond to calls from the Northern Territory Police
  • patrol public housing.

They can act on complaints of antisocial behaviour in and around public housing.

All public housing safety officers are trained to deal with antisocial behaviour and operate under a code of conduct.

Get the code of conduct PDF (92.7 KB).

Identifying an officer

Officers drive vehicles marked 'public housing safety'.

They also wear a uniform and carry an identification card that states they are a public housing safety officer appointed under the Housing Act.


Under the Housing Act, officers have powers to do all of the following:

  • ask tenants to stop antisocial behaviour
  • ask visitors to leave public housing
  • ban people for up to 12 months from being in public housing
  • tip out alcohol that is open
  • seize dangerous items and unopened alcohol
  • enter the yard of a public housing property without giving notice
  • ask a person on public housing property to give their name and address, and provide evidence of the details give.

For more information, read the Housing Act 1982.

All complaints about the behaviour of tenants or their visitors are thoroughly investigated by the department.

If you or your visitors are found to have been responsible for an incident of antisocial behaviour which amounts to a breach of the tenancy agreement, you may be issued with demerit points.

If you receive six demerit points, the department may initiate action to terminate your tenancy and take possession of the premises.

When you are at risk of receiving a demerit point, the department will contact you to offer support to help you remain in your home.

If you complete a 12 month period from the date of the last substantiated incident without any further substantiated incidents of antisocial behaviour, any demerit points accrued will expire.

Demerit points

The number of demerit points issued will depend on the severity of the incident:

  • minor incident - one demerit point
  • moderate incident - two demerit points
  • serious incident - three demerit points.

Termination of tenancy

In the case of serious incidents of antisocial behaviour resulting in personal injury or serious damage to the premises, action may be taken to terminate your tenancy before six demerit points are reached.

It is important that you report all antisocial behaviour and ask the department for help.

You can contact the public housing safety hotline on 1800 685 743 or ask your housing manager.

If you are worried about friends of relatives causing trouble while drinking in your home, or you are worried about antisocial behaviour caused by alcohol, you can apply to have your home declared alcohol free.

Read more on how to get alcohol banned in your premises.

Last updated: 16 September 2020

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