We've redesigned and improved our website! Plus new tenant stories, an upcoming joint TU and Shelter forum, unfair evictions, renting with pets.
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Our new and improved website...

Each week around 10,000 tenants find the information they need on tenants.org.au – whether it be factsheets and sample letters, the phone number of their local service, or the latest tenancy news. The TU manages the site, in collaboration with Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services across NSW. Last year there were over 700,000 sessions, 500,000 users, and 1.6 million pageviews. It's fair to say that it's a vital resource for NSW tenants!

We're constantly updating and adding content to tenants.org.au, but it hasn't had a major redesign in almost 10 years. So we decided to take the plunge and give it a total overhaul. We've spent many months planning, researching, redesigning, building and testing our new website, and last week we went live. We'd love you to check out our new site now!

The redesign uses the latest ideas in user experience to make a more accessible and useful resource for tenants and their advocates. But since it's a new site, we're still fixing bugs and adding content. If you notice problems, or would like to spend a moment to let us know what you think, please email your feedback to contact@tenantsunion.org.au.
Check out the new tenants.org.au

Tenant stories – my house, my home

As part of the redesign of tenants.org.au, we've made tenants' stories a key feature of the new website. Below are a few of the tenants who appear in the top banner of the site. Are you a tenant willing to tell your story? It can be really empowering to do so, and it helps to spread the word about tenants' rights. Please get in touch with us via email or phone.

Growing community in a tenant-run garden

The public housing tenants at Todd & Bent Street have been working hard to create a vibrant community garden. Thanks to their love and care, a permaculture garden now thrives in an area which used to be neglected. We spoke to  residents about the garden and their tenancy experiences. Read more

My home is like my castle – Lewin George

Home means security for me – this is where I feel safe. My home is like my castle, even though it's one room at the back of my landlord's house. I also like to go out, but I value my privacy when I’m at home. The landlord's dogs are good, they keep watch. Read more

A flood, repairs, and an attempted eviction – Geoff Mansfield

My family and I had been living in our place for three years. Then there was a flash flood and our yard was flooded. We were without power for eight days and there was damage to the house too. The water rose up a fair way and the back fence came down. The back of our property was open to the lake. Read more
Large-scale relocations of tenants in public housing – learning from tenants' experience

A Shelter NSW & Tenants' Union of NSW Forum

The decision to sell all public housing in Millers Point, the Rocks and Dawes Point and relocate the tenants to other areas has attracted fierce debate. Few are unaffected by the plight of those who’ve lost their homes and for whom the loss of ties to place and community continues to cause ongoing grief.

Professor Alan Morris from the Institute for Public Policy and Governance at UTS conducted a study exploring the impact of this process on the tenants. Alan will present his findings at this forum.

A number of public housing estates have been redeveloped in NSW in the past decade. Others are in the middle of redevelopment, or scheduled for future redevelopment under the Communities Plus Program. Most redevelopments involve significant disruption for residents: loss of their homes, breaking up their communities, and moving. It’s timely to examine the impact on tenants, and consider how their needs can be accommodated.

The purpose of this forum is to discuss tenants’ interests in their homes and their communities, and ways to minimise the hardships that can result from redevelopment.

Date and Venue
9am - 1pm on Monday 31st October.
Training room 1, Ground Floor, 377-383 Sussex St Sydney.

There's no fee but places are limited. Please register at trybooking.com/NKBC

More information
See the Shelter NSW website or contact Shelter NSW on 9267 5733.

More tenancy news and analysis...

Unfair evictions

The Sydney Morning Herald​ recently published a great article on an unfair eviction. We've been hearing from many renters that unfair 'no grounds' evictions are a big issue. Here's what we think needs to change to provide more security for tenants.

Renting with pets

Dr Emma Power (who spoke at our anniversary forum) writes in The Conversation about how pet owners suffer rental insecurity, and how people with pets generally have a long term commitment to looking after their tenancy... so maybe it’s time landlords rethink those 'no pets' clauses.

Also, in a strong article in the Courier Mail, RSPCA Queensland calls for better protection of pets and tenants. And RSPCA Victoria suggested in their submission to the Victorian State Government's review of tenancy legislation that all tenancy agreements should automatically include a provision for tenants to keep pets.

Also in Victoria, there have been a number of interesting court and tribunal decisions about renting, including a ruling that apartment blocks can't have a blanket ban against pets. Here's our roundup of the decisions and what they mean for us here in NSW.

The TU has also produced a handy guide for tenantsRenting with pets in NSW. It looks at the legal situation for renters and answers common questions we receive from pet owners, including noise complaints, visitors leaving the gate open, pet bonds and more.

Strata changes

From the end of November, there will be some significant changes to the laws affecting tenants living in strata blocks. That's actually a lot of us – more than half of all people living in strata in NSW are tenants. As well as changes around washing, over occupancy and tenant representation, the model by laws will now be much more pet friendly. The default position will be that pets are allowed so long as the pet owner is responsible for the animal. Read more on the TU blog: New strata rules and you.

NCAT fees

A few weeks ago the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal fee structure for pensioners changed substantially with the result that basic application fee more than doubled for many tenants. Read more on the TU blog: Taking action for access to justice.

Rental bonds for public housing tenants?

There is a looming possibility of a rental bonds scheme for new public housing tenancies. We examine the issue in three recent blog articles:

Vale Ross Smith, tenant and community advocate

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Ross Smith – a tireless advocate for fairness in the housing system, and member of the Tenants' Union of NSW. Read more
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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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