Welcome to our blog. 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. For more news see also our general news page and for factsheets and sample letters see Tenancy info.


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

31/12/2020
Signing a lease
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?
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Fire safety in your rented home

23/12/2020
Pic setting out smoke alarm requirements
As we are heading back into the bushfire season in NSW we thought it would be a good time to remind us all on how to ensure our homes are bushfire prepared and general fire safety in the home. Olivia and Eloise at the Tenants' Union NSW set out how to reduce fire risks, and the responsibility landlords have to ensure working smoke alarms in rented homes.
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Forced out during a health crisis: Renters' stories #MovingMonday

14/12/2020
Charlie, TUNSW' Community Education Officer in front of a large stack of moving boxes.
You might have seen via our social media that the Tenants' Union NSW is moving – because we've been evicted! We're an organisation and it doesn't affect our lives - or the smooth running of the TU - too much. But for residential renters eviction is a massive upheaval.
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Promise of a big spend on social housing: Did the NSW budget deliver?

18/11/2020
Pic of new housing - neighbourhoods, social housing possibly renewal
In early October NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald suggested social and affordable housing would be a priority in the November NSW budget. In this blog we unpack what is required in NSW in terms of 'more social housing', and what was announced in the budget yesterday (17 November 2020).
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Tracking NSW Govt Future Direction Commitments

17/11/2020
A breakdown of the contracted providers and dwellings under the Communities Plus and Social and Affordable Housing Funds programs.
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80 to 55: the case for lowering the age for early allocation of social housing in NSW

12/11/2020
Older renter - do I need to wait until I'm 80 until I get housing?
In this blog Robert Mowbray puts the argument for lowering the age for early allocation of social housing in NSW from aged 80 years to 55 years. We argue that older people, especially older women, are struggling in an insecure and unaffordable rental housing market and constantly face the possibility of homelessness which has a severe impact on older people, with premature ageing through earlier onset of health problems.
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What could the NSW Religious Freedoms Bill mean for renters?

19/10/2020
Hands holding multicoloured and rainbow hearts
Last week, the Tenants’ Union signed on to a joint statement coordinated by Equality Australia opposing NSW One Nation's Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equality) Bill 2020, which is currently being considered by NSW Parliament. The Bill would allow people and organisations to use religion as an excuse to hurt, exclude and demean people. Riley Brooke unpacks what the Bill, if passed, could mean for renters.
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Pets and strata - a win! But it's only the first step.

15/10/2020
Photo of young toddler seated next to labrador dog.
On Monday, 12 October 2020 the NSW Court of Appeal found that a strata by-law that places a ban on pets breaches NSW strata scheme legislation and is invalid. A blanket ban on pets, they found, is “harsh, unconscionable or oppressive”.
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Unlawful and lawful discrimination: how the selection process disadvantages some private renters

17/08/2020
For lease sign
In the absence of any legislated right to housing, or rules and guidelines such as waiting lists or criteria determining housing priority (as is the case in public housing), the decision to accept or reject a tenancy application, in the private rental market, is essentially “competitive”. It sits solely in the hands of the landlord, and, in many cases, the real estate agent, who provides expert advice to the landlord. This puts some tenants at a disadvantage when trying to rent a home. It is important to consider the ways tenants can be better protected from discrimination during the rental application process.
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We need to talk about the landlord

07/08/2020
Graphic of a family in a house, wearing masks, virus outside
We don’t only need to talk about the relationship between tenants and landlords – we also need to talk about the landlords themselves. A key flaw exposed through the response to COVID‑19 is the profile of those who act as landlords in Australia. They are heavily indebted. They are mostly without training or expertise. As a result, they were scared and desperate and clinging firmly to the one power dynamic they felt they had control over. The need for a more compassionate response to tenants was as apparent to everyone as were the barriers.
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