A new tool using data from the Rental Bond Board. Plus we look at the NSW Budget, renters' rights globally, and more.
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New rent tracker postcode tool for tenants

The Tenants' Union has released the first version of a new tool to help tenants. We believe the more information renters have the better. With the Rent Tracker Postcode Tool you can now check what the latest rents data is for any postcode in NSW using data directly from the Rental Bond Board.

The data is released by NSW Fair Trading each month, and our tool will stay up to date with each new release. Tenants can use the tool to see how many bonds have been lodged in the previous three months and what the range of rents was based on dwelling type and bedroom number.

Using the bonds data gives a valuable insight because it shows the actual price each new rent represents, rather than the advertised price which may be higher or lower than the property is subsequently rented for.

Tenants can use this tool as part of:
  • working out what they might save or lose in moving to different areas
  • questioning rent increases
  • investigating whether a property they are applying for is overpriced or a good deal.
The Rent Tracker Postcode Tool is a prototype which we will continue to develop, so please check it out and leave us feedback!
Check out the postcode tool

NSW Budget week wrap-up

With $3.9 billion surplus, last week the government splashed out with a budget they described as one 'for everyone'.
If only it were true. In reality it is very much a decision to keep on the same path when it comes to housing, and that's a decision to help property investors at the expense of the rest of us.

But while nothing much happened for housing in the Budget, plenty happened in and around NSW Parliament  this week. On Wednesday, a Renters' Rights Assembly was held out the front of Parliament, calling for an end to no grounds evictions. And on Thursday a motion was passed recognising housing as a human right.

Read more in our Budget week wrap up

World Cup for Renters!

Australia has been performing better than expected at the FIFA World Cup in Russia and we've been watching, cheering and hoping we'll find a path out of the group stages. But how would we perform if the cup was being judged on the way renting works in each country? We decided to try and find out!

Check out how countries score on a scale from "extremely pro-landlord" to "extremely pro-tenant" on our blog or Facebook, and stay tuned to our Facebook page for the finals stages next week.

Community groups oppose the introduction of public housing bonds

The NSW government has announced legislation to introduce public housing bonds.

The Tenants' Union and other key community groups responded by calling for the plan to be dropped amid concerns it will make life harder for people living in public housing, increase administrative costs of the Family and Community Services department, and be unlikely to have any benefits for the department in costs or tenant behaviour.

Tenants living in public housing are already responsible for damage and cleaning costs. The vast majority of tenants take care of their premises, and pay for any damage that does happen. This policy will apply to people even if they have taken full responsibility and paid for all damage.

The time and money the department will spend on administering the system would be better spent on providing new housing, completing the maintenance backlog or providing more assistance to homeless people.

Read more

New holiday letting rules ignore tenants

A recent announcement from the NSW Government in relation to short term holiday lettings is disappointing as it will not effectively protect against the potential impacts of holiday lettings and excludes many tenants from engaging in community decisions.

Half of strata residents in NSW will have no vote in the decision to prevent Airbnb and other holiday letting platforms in their buildings. Tenants actually living in the building will have no say in the matter while an investor living in London will be free to vote to run a hotel all summer long. In some blocks more than half the community will be silenced.

The Tenants' Union encourages sensible regulation of short term holiday lettings to ensure communities are able to decide for themselves whether holiday lettings are appropriate.

Read more

A longer lease on life: issues for older renters

Australia is getting older, and we're renting longer. What will this mean for our older renters? TU Project Officer for Older Tenants Robert Mowbray looks at the issues in this blog post.

Robert also investigates where things are at as the Millers Point struggle nears its end. To date, 578 tenant and household members in 398 tenancies have been forced to vacate their homes. Read more

Reconciliation Week barbecue

The Tenants' Union was pleased to co-host a National Reconciliation Week BBQ at Sydney’s Prince Alfred Park alongside Community Legal Centres NSW, the National Association of Community Legal Centres, and Justice Connect. Funds raised went to towards the excellent work done by the Indigenous Reading Project. A big thank you to Uncle Chicka for the warm Welcome to Gadigal land. Treaty, voice and truth – you can support the Makarrata campaign at 1voiceuluru.org.

Research: Energy efficiency in social housing

Researchers at UNSW, the University of Wollongong, CSIRO and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage are seeking volunteer research participants to learn about the energy efficiency and thermal comfort levels of public and community housing in NSW.

Read more

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For tenancy advice, please 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.

Copyright © 2018 Tenants' Union of NSW, All rights reserved.
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