Survey Report, Tenancy Law for Non-Lawyers training, concerns about the Housing NSW 'amnesty', and more.
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2014 Survey Report:

Affordable Housing and the NSW Rental Market

Earlier this year the Tenants’ Union conducted a short online survey to gauge tenants' experiences and expectations. 580 tenants responded, including many of you - thank you! We will be presenting the results at the Shelter conference tomorrow. Some stand-out figures include:

  • 77% have put up with a problem because they were worried about adverse consequences if they asked to get it fixed.
  • Over 70% in the private market are paying more than a third of their income in rent.
  • 64% of respondents said they worry about paying the rent.
The most striking thing the survey shows is how worried tenants are - particularly in circumstances they cannot control or where choices are restricted. Most express satisfaction with their current housing, but it is a satisfaction formed in a tightly constrained space: they see few or no other options in the housing market (not in owner-occupation, or in rental), and they put up with problems and with lacklustre rates of responsiveness from landlords. Read the full report.

Tenancy Law for Non-Lawyers Training

This popular one-day workshop is an introduction to tenancy law for community workers who assist or advocate for clients about housing. It is run by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in collaboration with the TU and is happening on 7th May in Sydney. Places are limited. More

News on the Housing NSW 'amnesty'

Earlier this month the previous Minister for Family and Community Services announced an 'amnesty' for for public housing tenants who have not correctly disclosed their incomes and assets to Housing NSW.

On the Brown Couch Blog we began by examining this amnesty and immediately pointed out that the stated 'requirement' for tenants to surrender their tenancy if they own property is not consistent with current Housing NSW policy. That afternoon, HNSW amended its policy to state that it may 'ask' a tenant to vacate their home where 'the tenant is on a continuous lease and they or their partner/spouse owns a property that they could live in or sell.'

In a second article we argue that this change makes more inconsistent the already inconsistent treatment of different assets in HNSW's rules. We give examples of how the inconsistent treatment of assets produces unfair outcomes for tenants.

In our third post, we highlight an important limitation to the amnesty: it does not apply if you have already received a letter from HNSW indicating that they believe you have not properly disclosed your income and assets.
Our fourth article on the amnesty notes that it does not apply to changes of income because of an undeclared additional occupant. We've heard that a number of tenants have contacted HNSW to tell them about new additions to the household, thinking that the amnesty will apply. This is not surprising, given that HNSW conducted an amnesty on undisclosed additional occupants only about a year ago. But this is not that amnesty.

Millers Point Public Housing Support Project

In response to the plan to sell off Millers Point public housing, the Inner Sydney Regional Council for Social Development has employed a Senior Community Development Officer for an initial 6 weeks capacity-building and scoping project. Support for this project is needed - either financial or in terms of time or expertise. More
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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.

For tenancy advice, contact your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service. Details at

Our mailing address is: Tenants' Union of NSW, Suite 201, 55 Holt St, Surry Hills, 2010, NSW.

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