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. If you're looking for factsheets and sample letters, please see Tenancy Info.

Pursuing a mountain of debt: Landlords’ Insurance

Coronavirus and economic impacts graphic image
Design photo created by Freepik
This blog explores two aspects of landlords’ insurance and asks whether the practices of insurance companies will change during the COVID-19 crisis. The first is when a tenant falls into rent arrears, in order to make a successful claim, the landlord is required to mitigate their loss by commencing eviction action against the tenant. The second is, where an insurance company has paid out a claim, it can step into the shoes of the landlord and commence action to recover rent arrears through the court system.
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Avoiding the spring of carnage: NSW Government rental assistance during the COVID-19 crisis

Graphic image, housingscape in relief with COVID19 stylised virus image in blue background.
This blog outlines what rental assistance programs are available to tenants in the private rental market in New South Wales. Further, it asks whether this assistance is adequate to ensure ‘impacted’ tenants have the support required, so their rent does not accrue as a debt ... and become a rent ‘time bomb’ at the end of the COVID-19 crisis.
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Rent affordability in COVID-19: Anglicare report

Cover of Anglicare Affordability snapshot
Today Anglicare released the latest version of its Affordability Snapshot which looks at the number of available and affordable properties for people on low incomes.
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The NSW evictions moratorium: an explainer

Wooden cut out of house, small piles of coins placed beside the cut out.
Yesterday (15 April) the measures announced by the NSW Government on Monday to support renters kicked into gear. This means NSW now has implemented a 6 month moratorium on evictions, but it’s complicated. It doesn't cover all evictions, or all renters. This blog post tries to answer some of your immediate questions. Who exactly does the moratorium cover? How will it work in practice? And what about the rent?
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Uncertainty and fear: evictions during the pandemic

woman looking at a phone
"Isn’t there supposed to be a ban on evictions at the moment?"

Two weeks ago Prime Minister Scott Morrison, following a meeting of national cabinet, announced states and territories had agreed to put a moratorium on evictions for the next six months for people in financial distress, unable to meet their rental commitments. Local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services have been flooded with calls the last few weeks from people seeking advice in the context of the COVID19 health crisis.
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Why coronavirus impacts are devastating for international students in private rental housing

Man sitting at a desk in a dark room
About half of international students in Australia are private renters and more than half of them rely on paid work to pay the rent, but most of the casual jobs they depend on have been lost in the coronavirus pandemic. The results of a recent survey (conducted pre-COVID-19) of international students living in private rental accommodation suggest up to half of them may now be unable to pay their rent. Many also live in quite crowded conditions, so will struggle to self-isolate even if they don’t lose their current housing.
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How to set a fair rent during COVID-19

How to set a fair rent during COVID-19
Despite it being a tricky concept for some to get used to, lots of people are trying to negotiate their rents right now. We’ve had a look at the ATO’s tax stats to try and help out what might be a rent in line with the Prime Minister's 'hibernation' mode.
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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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