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Fair Trading fines 238 real estate agents in five years for underquoting

Caitlin Fitzsimmons 27/12/2020

The Sydney Morning Herald (Paywall)

NSW Fair Trading has fined 238 real estate agents a total of $523,600 over nearly five years for deliberately understating the value of a property to lure buyers. However, opinion is divided on whether underquoting laws introduced in 2016 have helped reduce the practice, which prospective buyers often suspect but can rarely prove.


# Housing market, Landlords and agents


More housing articles


Tenants' Union of NSW (No paywall)

Welcome to our new look ‘Housing News Digest’. You will find more articles on housing published since Thursday, 24 December 2020 but not in today's issue in our new archive file at: [https://www.tenants.org.au/tu/digest]. Remember with the new archive file there is a search facility which will allow you to zoom in on articles since 1 November 2020. You will find articles going back to 1 January 2018 in our old archive file at: [https://bit.ly/34SXHHi]. It contains our complete set of housing digests between January 2018 and December 2020.


# Must read Campaigns and law reform


Housing people with a hoarding disorder - what should a best practice approach look like?

Robert Mowbray 31/12/2020

Tenants' Union of NSW (No paywall)

Robert Mowbray, Older renters' Policy Officer at the Tenants' Union, looks at the ways in which hoarding disorder impacts on people's lives and the particular risks renters with a hoarding disorder face. What does a 'best practice' approach to supporting renters with this mental health condition look like? And who can and should be meeting this challenge directly? He challenges Department of Communities and Justice Housing to review the additional terms of its Residential Tenancy Agreement and remove the 'hoarding' clause which is a blot on its copybook! Check his blog (This Renting Life)


# Must read Discrimination, Public-and-community-housing, Disability, Health, Older people, State Government


'I find it horrific': Tenants in limbo over public housing revamp plan

Megan Gorrey 28/12/2020

The Sydney Morning Herald (Paywall)

More than 100 public housing tenants in inner-city Glebe have been plunged into uncertainty as the Berejiklian government pushes to demolish their homes for a new development with hundreds of private apartments. The government wants to force residents from the Franklyn Street estate, near Broadway shopping centre, and rebuild it with 425 dwellings, 70 per cent of which would be private residences and the remainder social housing.


# Hot topic Public-and-community-housing, DCJ Housing, Estate renewal, State Government


The Sydney apartment tribes reshaping the harbour city

Matt O'Sullivan 04/01/2021

The Sydney Morning Herald (Paywall)

University of NSW's City Futures Research Centre embarked on a project to map the socio-economic make-up of people in Sydney's apartments. Its findings dispel common perceptions of the social fabric of Sydney's apartment dwellers. Bill Randolph, head of City Futures argues it has resulted in many apartment towers built in recent decades failing to cater for the people who end up living in them. "The bulk of the stock is two-bedroom, investment-grade units. And the majority of apartments are owned by investors," he said. The mapping identified about five groups living in the city's apartments.


# Research alert Housing market, Landlords and agents, Planning and development


More working from home will transport us back to the future

Ross Gittins 26/12/2020

The Sydney Morning Herald (Paywall)

If there’s one good thing to come from this horrible year, surely it’s the breakthrough on WFH – working from home. ... If you measure the rise in house prices over the years, you find the closer homes are to the GPO, the more they’ve risen, with prices in outer suburbs having risen least. But if WFH becomes lasting and widespread, that decades-long trend could be reversed. If you don’t have to spend so much time commuting, why not live further out, where bigger and better homes are more affordable and there’s more open space? Maybe apartment living will become less attractive compared to living in a detached house with a garden, with a corresponding shift in relative prices. And if we’re going to be working at home as a regular thing, maybe we need an extra bedroom to use as a study.


# Must read Housing market, Work, employment


“HOME” - a documentary by the Public Housing Media Collective


(No paywall)

A film made during Melbourne's COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown 2020. Melbourne’s Public Housing Towers are home to a culturally diverse and vibrant community. At the end of May 2020 a new strain of the COVID-19 virus, imported by international travellers, escaped from a mismanaged hotel quarantine program. It spread out in June and Melbourne became Australia’s COVID epicentre. A virus cluster appeared to be centered around the Public Housing Towers ...


# Hot topic, Video Discrimination, Public-and-community-housing, Coronavirus COVID-19


Discussions underway to ban no-cause evictions in ACT

Lucy Bladen 27/12/2020

Canberra Times (Paywall)

Renters in the ACT are set to get greater protections as discussions begin to ban no-cause evictions in the territory. ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said he had commenced discussions with stakeholders on how to implement a ban in an "effective" and "reasonable way".


# New policy announcement Rent, No-grounds evictions


NT remote housing program is building prefabricated homes, but some communities don't want them

Kate Ashton 29/12/2020

ABC (No paywall)

The Northern Territory Government is using prefabricated homes to ease overcrowding in remote communities, but some are concerned they take construction jobs and training opportunities from Aboriginal Territorians living in remote areas.


# Aboriginal-renters


Build to rent: new concept that could end renters’ worst nightmares – but with a catch

Benedict Brook 29/12/2020

(No paywall)

It’s a radical way to rent imported from the US and now in Australia, a new concept could remove some of the age old frustrations for tenants. It’s one of the biggest frustrations from roiled renters: the hefty bond that sits in limbo and then has all or part of it withheld by the agent to pay for a cleaner, despite you spending days scrubbing every dusty crevice. One in three renters don’t get their full bond back. However, the days of the bond could be over if a radical new way to rent, rolling out first to Sydney, becomes the norm. It’s called 'build-to-rent' … The new way of renting will also mean you’ll no longer have to jump through hoops to keep pets, bang holes into walls or paint every room a different shade. As long as the rent is paid, tenants can stay put as long as they want. But there’s a catch – these privileges will cost you more in rent. As much as 20 per cent extra. And a housing policy expert was warned that build to rent 'won’t be a silver bullet for Australia’s housing affordability stress.'


# Hot topic Rent, Housing affordability, Housing market


New York Bans Most Evictions as Tenants Struggle to Pay Rent

Dana Rubinstein 28/12/2020

The New York Times (No paywall)

The New York Legislature on Monday overwhelmingly passed one of the most comprehensive anti-eviction laws in the nation, as the state contends with high levels of unemployment caused by a pandemic that has taken more than 330,000 lives nationwide.Tenants and advocacy groups have been dreading the end-of-year expiration of eviction bans that have kept people in their homes even as they fell months behind in their rent. Under the new measure, landlords will be barred from evicting most tenants for at least another 60 days in almost all cases. The bill would not only block landlords from evicting most tenants but would also protect some small landlords from foreclosure and automatically renew tax exemptions for homeowners who are elderly or disabled. ... For eviction cases that are already working their way through the courts, the law will halt proceedings for at least 60 days. Landlords would not be allowed to begin new eviction proceedings until at least May 1


# Must read Eviction, Rent, Coronavirus COVID-19, Landlords and agents


All-Women Tech Group Launches New Tool to End Section 8 Voucher Discrimination

Rico Cleffi 31/12/2020

(No paywall)

Landlords routinely break the law by refusing to rent to Section 8 voucher holders. The Unlock NYC tech collaborative has partnered with tenant groups to create an innovative tool that could help end that practice. (The Indypendent)


# Discrimination, Rent, Homelessness


Landlady tears down wall to mother-in-law apartment on NYE; over unpaid rent tenant says

Kevin McNamara 02/01/2021

(No paywall)

An eviction moratorium due to the coronavirus pandemic was extended in Oregon through the end of June but one property-owner seems to have taken the issue of nonpayment into her own hands. A video submitted to News 10 shows the confrontation between Eve Woods and her landlady after the partition separating the mother-in-law apartment that Woods lives in from her landlady's home was knocked down on New Year's Eve. (News 10)


# Hot topic Eviction, Rent, Coronavirus COVID-19


Demand for action on racial harassment in social housing

Anna Timms 26/12/2020

The Guardian (No paywall)

From the United Kingdom ... Campaigners are calling for social housing providers to put lives above profits following an Observer report on a black tenant who was left homeless after a racist campaign by neighbours. Former social housing chiefs, Lord Victor Adebowale, Aman Dalvi, Lord Geoffrey Filkin and Barry Simons have signed an open letter to the National Housing Federation highlighting wider failings to protect victims of racial harassment.


# Discrimination, Public-and-community-housing


Cramped housing has helped fuel spread of Covid in England – study

Denis Campbell 28/12/2020

The Guardian (No paywall)

From the United Kingdom ... Overcrowded housing has helped to spread Covid-19 in England and may have increased the number of deaths, according to research by the Health Foundation. People living in cramped conditions have been more exposed to the coronavirus and were less able to reduce their risk of infection because their homes were so small, the thinktank found. Overcrowding was a key reason why poorer people and those from ethnic minority backgrounds in particular had been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, it said.


# Security-and-safety, Coronavirus COVID-19


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The views expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of the Tenants’ Union of NSW. Legal information in this email is intended as a guide and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice.

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The Tenants’ Union recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the First Peoples of Australia. Our office is on the lands of the Gadigal of the Eora Nation. We are committed to respecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures, lands, and histories as we battle for tenants’ rights.