The former tenant of a Wodonga public housing residence owed $1645 in rent and maintenance costs when he decided to burn the building down in 2017.
Christopher Beswick, 39, has now been sent to jail for 16 months after pleading guilty to the crime of arson.
He had been living at the McEachern Court house, owned by Department of Health and Human Services, for more than three years until he moved to Lavington 12 weeks before the fire.
The house was unoccupied on the night of November 29, 2017, aside from a dog belonging to Beswick's son.
He put the dog outside before pouring petrol through three rooms and lighting groups of sparklers.
Police and firefighters attended, but the house could not be saved.
DHHS assessed the cost of demolition, clean-up and rebuild at about $237,000.
MORE NEWS FROM COURT:
Judge Greg Lyon told Wodonga County Court this week that the arson was a serious offence which also put nearby residents and their homes at risk.
"You burned down a home, a residence - it was public housing, the use of which is now denied to anyone else," he said.
"Your motive for committing this crime is not clear, nevertheless the depositions show that your actions were planned and then executed over a couple of hours."
Beswick initially denied the offence, but later admitted to police that he had been drug-affected at the time.
Judge Lyon took into account that Beswick, a father of four sons and a grandfather, has been seeing a psychiatrist for his depression.
As part of the sentence, he was ordered to complete an 18-month community corrections order after he is released from jail, which will include drug and mental health treatment and offender programs.