QLD Government to tighten rules on public housing vacancies

WITH 22,000 Queenslanders on public housing waiting lists, the state plans to tighten up rules on those who leave their homes empty for months on end.

Housing Minister Tim Mander said current rules allowed public housing tenants to take breaks of up to 12 months - a condition that also covers those facing incarceration.

When applying for a break of longer than three months, tenants must seek permission but Mr Mander said since 2008, only a fraction were rejected.

Mr Mander said for some, rent is reduced to $10.95 a week for the length of the break, with friends able to stay in these houses without cost.

He said there was a difference between those needing to leave their homes for medical treatment or rehabilitation, but that should not apply to those bound for prison or a holiday.

"The current situation doesn't even go close to passing the common sense test," Mr Mander said.

"These properties are designed to be used, not left sitting vacant while people are away on holidays or in prison."

Mr Mander said he wanted the system "brought into line with community expectations".