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.


Uncertainty and fear: evictions during the pandemic

2020-04-07
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

2020-04-07
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

2020-04-02
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

2020-03-29
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

2020-03-23
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

2020-03-02
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

2020-02-20
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

2020-02-07
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

2020-01-06
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

2020-01-04
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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