Welcome to the blog of the Tenants' Union of NSW. Staff at the Tenants' Union and occasional guests offer their commentary and analysis of our renting system. We hope to inform, educate and debate the legal, political and cultural aspects of this renting life. If you would like an official quote for media use, or have questions regarding official research, policy or publications please contact us.

Renting & Coronavirus: What you need to know

picture reading "COVID-19 VIRUS & RENTING: What you need to know as a tenant..."
Here are the latest questions and issues raised with us at the Tenants' Union of NSW about Coronavirus COVID-19 and renting. We will keep updating this page as we have more information to share.
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Rent relief language - quick explainer

Notepad with doodle of houses and text reading: Rent relief? Abatement? Reduction? Control? Freeze? What do they mean?
There’s a lot of phrases being used at the moment to describe some kind of change to the way we’ve gotten used to renting happening in Australia. People are discussing all sorts of ways for government to step in. Some of these phrases though, might not mean what people think they do.
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Why housing evictions must be suspended to defend us against coronavirus

Man holding head in hands
The COVID-19 pandemic is a double crisis affecting public health and the economy. And both aspects are playing out in our housing system – in our homes. The risk of people becoming homeless during the pandemic is still high. Some more specific actions are needed to shore up our first line of defence. Governments must implement a moratorium on evictions as long as the crisis lasts. Similar changes have already been made overseas.
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Fairer pets laws leaving NSW behind

cat
Today is the start of the new renting with pets laws in Victoria. While the ACT was able to implement their equivalent laws faster, Victoria was the first state to take this stand. They will make a difference to many humans and animals. We hope that the changes help drive a cultural change that shows landlords and agents that keeping pets are nothing to be uptight about. But we also need to be realistic about what they achieve.
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A new approach to mortgagee repossessions

monopoly board game with car playing piece on the 'go to jail' square.
Over the mid-2000s we saw mortgagee repossessions causing all sorts of issues for tenants. It ultimately lead to some pretty decent reforms. However, it may be time to rethink the response to repossessions in a falling property market.
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International students, COVID-19 and housing

people boarding a plane at sunrise
We know that more than half of international students organise their accommodation before coming to Australia. And many of those caught up in the travel ban due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 are returning to courses that they have already commenced. They are likely to have existing accommodation arrangements. What should students do if they are affected?
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Renting research revisited - Part 2

A row of houses with "to let" signs out the front
Tenant advocates have lead the research into tenancy in NSW for many years. In this second of a series, Robert Mowbray looks back on two of his contributions and what we can learn from them today.
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Renting research revisited - Part 1

The sky is visible through a roof in disrepair
Tenant advocates have lead the research into tenancy in NSW for many years. Robert Mowbray looks back on two of his contributions and what we can learn from them today.
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Getting your rented home bushfire ready

house
Guest blogger Hayley Stone, co-ordinator of the Eastern Area Tenants' Service and volunteer with the Rural Fire Service in the Blue Mountains, gives us some general guidance on getting your rental property prepared for bushfires.
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Antisocial antisocial behaviour management

hoodie reading 'anti anti social club'
Last Friday we made our submission to the statutory review of two sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 that require mandatory eviction in social housing for a number of antisocial behaviours, and short eviction times for all social housing tenants.
We recommend a shift in approach. If you want to 'create better, safer communities' scrap the strikes and start investing in communities with a real increase in the resourcing of community based supports and programs that build connection, resilience and capacity for individuals and their communities.
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