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The Tenants' Union of NSW is proud to have published Tenant News for over 40 years – originally as a printed magazine, now as an email newsletter. Check out the archive.

Even the Productivity Commission recommends ending unfair evictions

"Reforms to prohibit ‘no-grounds’ eviction and extend notice periods for ‘no-fault’ evictions (including on sale of a property), if well designed, offer avenues for improving the welfare of vulnerable private renters. Some jurisdictions have already started down this road."

– p19, Productivity Commission, Vulnerable Private Renters: Evidence and Options
A couple of weeks ago the Productivity Commission released a report on renting in the private market which recognised that we need to end unfair 'no grounds' evictions – to provide better protection to low income and other vulnerable renters. The Productivity Commission also suggested longer notice periods for all landlord-initiated ‘no grounds’ evictions, an increase to Rent Assistance, and investing in social housing.

The Tenants' Union (along with many others) was consulted for the report by the Productivity Commission. We're also pleased to note that the report referenced a number stories shared via the Make Renting Fair website.
 
Read the Report

Solar for all – including us renters!

This new video from the Solar for All campaign explains Solar Gardens and how we can make them happen. Everyone deserves to be part of the shift to renewable energy but 35% of Australians are 'locked-out', unable to get the benefits of rooftop solar – because we rent (or live in an apartment, or have a shady roof, or we just can’t afford the upfront cost). The good news is that there is a solution – a Solar Garden.

But we need your support to make Solar Gardens take off. Please watch and share the video, and send a quick email to the Energy Minister using this form to establish a Solar for All Package.
 
Check out the Solar for All campaign

Climate strike

The Tenants' Union was proud to support the Global Climate Strike – we joined 80,000 people in Sydney's Domain on 20th September. We all need liveable homes on a liveable planet!
 

Tenant Advocate stories

Recently three Tenant Advocates with many years of experience moved on, so we took the opportunity to record some of their stories. Chris Maybin told us about some of the challenges faced by tenants in regional NSW and about being cursed by a landlord! Jo Hibbert talked about some of her wins at the Tribunal, and the story of a community housing tenant she defended from eviction six times. Ruth Simon retired after almost 20 years working for Aboriginal tenants; her wisdom, friendship, patience and tireless work have been an inspiration to many of us. We wish them all farewell and thank you!
The Tenants' Union has been hard at work making the case for improvements to the law – we've recently produced five submissions...

Residential Tenancies Regulation

New regulations are the last step to implement the amendments passed last year to the Residential Tenancies Act. We generally support the regulations proposed – they make small improvements to the renting experience. We were disappointed to see a number of proposed terms aimed at allowing public and community housing providers to avoid obligations that other landlords must meet. We also recommended the ending of blanket 'no pets' clauses, and nearly half of the submissions to the consultation were in support of this.
 
Read our submission

Boarding Houses Act review

The Boarding Houses Act 2012 is being reviewed after 5 years of operation. We at the Tenants' Union believe all people who rent their homes should have protection against arbitrary evictions, and an accessible and effective way of resolving disputes. To achieve this in the case of boarders, we recommend a broader coverage and a renaming of the legislation. The substance of the Act also needs great improvement, including protection against evictions. We also recommend an industry-wide registration and accreditation scheme with differing obligations depending on the type of accommodation.
 
Read our submission

Newstart inquiry

The level of Newstart is widely acknowledged to be insufficient to sustain a healthy life. This inquiry has been set up by non-government organisations to examine the issue and solutions. As well as recommending an increase to Newstart, we recommended that changes needed to be made to Commonwealth Rent Assistance and social housing rent-setting models to prevent poverty for renters. We also recommended reforms to the private rental sector to ensure welfare recipients actually receive the benefit of the payment and don't have to waste it on moving costs or high utility costs.
 
Read our submission

Civil and Administrative Tribunal review

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) Act is being reviewed following 5 years of operation. NCAT has for the most part continued the work of the predecessor Tribunal. Tenants heavily subsidise the operation of the Tribunal (through the interest on our bonds), to our own detriment – as the majority of Tribunal applications are evictions. We proposed an increase in the cost for bringing eviction proceedings, along with quicker less costly proceedings for negotiated agreements where eviction is not being threatened.
 
Read our submission

Short term rental accommodation

The NSW government is proposing a regulatory framework for 'short-term rental accommodation' (holiday letting ranging from holiday homes to Airbnb). The framework will encompass the planning and consumer protection departments. The Tenants' Union re-affirmed our support for a lower number of days before short-term rental accommodation premises need planning approval. We also recommended that short-term renting providers should be on a government-administered register, paid for by the industry. We do not support an industry-run register, as it is unlikely to be effectively run.
 
Read our submission

Aboriginal Paralegal

Dhubany, by Millmullian. Commissioned by the Tenants' Union.
The Tenants' Union is seeking a part-time Paralegal (Aboriginal) to work in the area of housing issues for Aboriginal clients. The successful candidate will support the work of the Solicitor (Aboriginal Support) by liaising with clients and witnesses, undertaking legal research, drafting documents, filing and serving documents, managing files and giving other administrative support. This role is offered in partnership with Ngalaya Indigenous Corporation, the peak body for First Nations lawyers and law students in NSW. This position requires a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background. This is a genuine occupational qualification under Section 14(d) of the Anti-Discrimination Act.
More information
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For tenancy advice, please contact your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service. See tenants.org.au

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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 NSW, Australia.

Copyright © 2019 Tenants' Union of NSW, All rights reserved.
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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.