Highlights from 2015 - 2016, plus the full TU Annual Report, and lots more tenancy news and analysis.
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What a year!
TU Annual Report 2015 - 2016 is now available

You can now read our Annual Report online on our new website or as a pdf.

This year the TU celebrated 40 years of working for tenants’ rights. An anniversary such as this is an opportunity to celebrate achievements, acknowledge the many contributors to the journey and take a clear-eyed view on what still needs to be done. Over those 40 years the TU has achieved real gains in legislative reform, educated and advised hundreds of thousands of tenants, established (and re-established) a network of tenant advice services, positively influenced government policy and actively contributed to the public discourse.
Check out the TU Annual Report

So, what were the TU's highlights this year?

738,013
sessions on the freshly re-designed tenants.org.au
89,644
sessions on the online Tenants’ Rights Manual
3,391
instances of advice, information and referral provided to tenants and advocates – 20% increase
443
people trained in residential tenancy law, housing law, and advocacy
11,000
copies of Tenant News magazine distributed – 3 issues published
1,304
subscribers (like you!) to the TU e-bulletin – 10 issues sent
11,496
visitors to the Brown Couch Blog
92
articles on the Brown Couch Blog
47
mainstream media appearances, including three on camera
6
new factsheets produced for Aboriginal renters
30,000
wallet sized fold-out cards distributed on boarding house residents' rights
7,000
brochures and 500 posters distributed on boarding house residents' rights
253
people attended training in boarding houses law
107
Residential Parks / Land Lease Communities visited
10,000
copies of Outasite magazine distributed in Land Lease Communities
2,355
sessions on our new Land Lease Communities law website, thenoticeboard.org.au
586
subscribers to Outasite Lite enews for Land Lease Community Residents – 5 editions sent
1,000
Residential Parks / Land Lease Community residents educated at 19 information sessions
40th anniversary of the TU celebrated at a BBQ and forum (attended by over 100 people, including a number of MPs), and produced a series of short TU video documentaries
Dozens of policy engagements with stakeholders around public and community housing, strata, the Residential Tenancies Act, older tenants, Millers Point, tax and housing policy.
Public interest litigation highlights include:
prevented landlords from circumventing tenancy & land lease community law
prevented no grounds evictions by community housing providers
• dramatically reduced compensation payable by private tenants
• advocated about systemic issues regarding Commonwealth Rent Assistance and Aboriginal Housing tenants
Read more in the TU Annual Report

Help the TU continue our work for tenants by making a donation!

Make a donation
We are now registered with GiveNow – a user-friendly, non-profit, secure, Australian donations portal. Visit our GiveNow page. All donations over $2 are tax-deductible.

More tenancy news and analysis

Win for Land Lease Community residents!

Paul Smyth (Tenants' Union Residential Parks Legal Officer) has been working with the residents of Hasting Point for the past five years on their court case for compensation for eviction. On 14th November, the matter was heard before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). The case was a test of the new Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013. Read more about the case
Yesterday, the case was decided in the homeowners favour! They are entitled to claim compensation for loss of residency and relocation costs. Read the full decision here

TU on ABC News 24's Weekend Breakfast

"What does it mean in Australia to be a renter over an extended period of time, given the way the dynamic has always been geared towards home ownership?" An important discussion on ABC News 24's Weekend Breakfast show, featuring Ned Cutcher, TU Senior Policy Officer. Watch to the end of the clip to find out the different ways bread can be buttered.

Airbnb doesn't put rents up, landlords do

Last weekend a story broke about a tenant who was evicted and later found that their former home had been listed on Airbnb. We thought this a good opportunity to give a preview of some of our research into the impact of Airbnb in Sydney. Read more

Who would benefit from long fixed term tenancies?

Questions raised in the recent review of the Residential Tenancies Act included "what incentives would encourage the use of longer term leases?" and "what are the key challenges for landlords in offering longer term leases?" Our response was that long fixed terms are not the solution. Tenants would be better served by expanding the list of grounds on which tenancies can be ended, and getting rid of "no grounds" evictions. More

#WeLiveHere2017

A great new social action led by local residents of Redfern Waterloo will illuminate the vulnerable community who are under threat due to the government’s 'gentrification' of Waterloo. Learn more

Celebrating anti-poverty week with smashed avocado

Just as anti-poverty week was commencing, Bernard Salt penned a provocative piece about how “Middle-Aged Moralisers” – a term with which he identifies – don’t like hipster cafes. Salt observed that these cafes are charging $22 a pop for smashed avocado on toast, and that young-people-who-haven’t-yet-bought-houses should not be paying for such frivolities. Instead, they should be directing all that hard-earned cash towards a deposit for a home-loan. Read our response to #avocadogate.

Credit where it's due

The Minister for Social Housing's office recently circulated a note giving an update on the plans for rental bonds for public housing tenants. It confirms the Minister will put the rental bonds scheme on hold, "to allow for further review of the framework". This is an indication that rental bonds for public housing tenancies may yet become a reality, but not this time around, and not in the manner proposed. For now, at least, it's back to the old drawing board. This is excellent news. Cheers, Minister! Read more

End of the line for justice in Gosford?

We've heard that tenants on the Central Coast will lose their dedicated NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) hearing rooms. These have been co-located with the Gosford Fair Trading Centre since 2004. This presents a number of problems. Read more

Housing experiences of older Australians

Dr Robert Mowbray, TU Project Officer, Older Tenants, recently launched Professor Alan Morris’s book, The Australian Dream: Housing Experiences of Older Australians. Read Robert's address here.
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For tenancy advice, contact your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service. See tenants.org.au

Legal information in this email is intended as a guide to the law and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice. It applies to people who live in or are affected by, the law as it applies in New South Wales, Australia.

Tenants' Union of NSW, Suite 201, 55 Holt St, Surry Hills, 2010, NSW. (02) 8117 3700

Copyright © 2016 Tenants' Union of NSW, All rights reserved.

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