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.


Renters deserve warm homes in winter

17/06/2021
Cold homes make people sick (text) red lettering on grey and purple graphic background
Like many Sydneysiders who rent, I live in an apartment that, in winter, is perpetually flippin’ freezing. Here in NSW, property investors aren't required to implement basic measures that would make a rented home healthy to live in. This is seriously impacting the health and wellbeing of renters. Too many renting people are freezing at home in winter, then sweltering in summer. We're forced to waste energy and money trying to stay healthy and comfortable. I don't think that's good enough: everyone needs a home that is livable and healthy in a summer heatwave or a cold winter, with affordable energy bills.
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What you need to know about rent bidding

01/06/2021
Auctioneer's hammer - graphic representation
Rent bidding happens when there’s a shortage of available rental properties, so prospective tenants make an offer to pay rent above the advertised price in order to secure a property. Now, we don’t blame renters for this. Right now, a rental crisis continues to unfold across much of regional NSW.  With so few properties available to rent, there are dozens if not hundreds of applicants for every property, and renters are becoming desperate to find a home. We are seeing a rise in agents and landlords taking this opportunity to actively solicit rent bidding to maximize income and exploit desperate tenants, which we think is unethical and unlawful.
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No home left behind!

24/05/2021
Range of different boarding houses and pics of residents in photo frames
In this op-ed piece, Leo Patterson Ross asks what is missing from our approach to regulation of boarding houses? What would it look like if we started the conversation about reform by identifying housing need? Originally published in Council to Homeless Persons' publication Parity.
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A long, winding road: NSW boarding house reform

21/05/2021
Long road, stretches to horizon. Australian bush on side of road.
In the context of plans for a new Shared Accommodation Act to replace the existing Boarding House Act 2012, Jemima Mowbray provides a short history of the long road towards ensuring better protections for all people who rent their homes, whether they live in boarding houses, shared accommodation or lodgings, or other renting arrangements.
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How a volatile rental market could impact some of the most vulnerable in our communities 

10/05/2021
Advocate assisting a client in office
The past 12 months have had a significant impact on many tenants, particularly those who may be at risk of financial hardship or homelessness. Pamela Hunter, from VERTO’s Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service (TAAS) outlines some of the serious challenges facing renters, particularly in regional areas where a volatile housing market is wreaking havoc.
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The case for renting

24/04/2021
Participants in a zoom call for TUNSW Roundtable for Young Renters
As Youth Week draws to a close, Charlie Wilde examines renting from the perspective of renters under 30, and highlights a few of the suggestions shared with us during our recent Young Renter roundtable to improve the renting experience for everyone.
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Can I have a pet and be housed, too? It all depends...

24/02/2021
cartoon image excerpts from the visual article
Trying to find housing can be a nightmare for pet owners, especially those who need it in a crisis. The inconsistencies from state to state and between different forms of housing demand reform. A recent report is presented in beautiful visual form.
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Getting your LL plates?

23/02/2021
Hands signing a contract and offering L plates
There is currently a petition in NSW Parliament for the creation of a “Landlord non-compliance register”. It speaks to some of the most frustrating aspects of renting in Australia.
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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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