Welcome to our blog. Tenants' Union staff and occasional guests offer commentary and analysis of our renting system. We hope to inform, educate and debate the legal, political and cultural aspects of this renting life. For an official quote for media use, or questions regarding our research, policy or publications please contact us. For more articles see the Brown Couch archive, the Clearing House, and news. For factsheets see tenancy info.


Jemima Mowbray | 07/08/2020

No grounds for limiting reform under COVID-19

Jemima Mowbray looks at the problems renters have faced during COVID‑19, and shows that they are not new or necessarily distinct from the ongoing issues renting households were already facing.…
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Joel Pringle | 07/08/2020

Responding to tenancy issues under COVID‑19

The Tenants' Union is attempting to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on tenants, within the limitations we have. In NSW we are already hearing from tenants that landlords have been…
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Pamela Hunter | 03/08/2020

Tenancy services needed now more than ever

Pamela Hunter, Community Services Manager at VERTO, writes: "Tenancy, and renting in general, became very popular subjects at the beginning of the pandemic but they seem to have slipped…
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Leo Patterson Ross | 08/07/2020

Tenants need to be listened to: community support – not heavy-handed policing

On the weekend over 3,000 public housing tenants in Melbourne were put into an immediate enforced lockdown by the VIC government due to a spike in COVID-19 in the area. Others in the community…
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Robert Mowbray | 12/06/2020

Pursuing a mountain of debt: Landlords’ Insurance

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…
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Robert Mowbray | 04/06/2020

Avoiding the spring of carnage: NSW Government rental assistance during the COVID-19 crisis

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 ‘…
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Leo Patterson Ross | 30/04/2020

Rent affordability in COVID-19: Anglicare report

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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Jemima Mowbray | 16/04/2020

The NSW evictions moratorium: an explainer

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…
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Jemima Mowbray | 07/04/2020

Uncertainty and fear: evictions during the pandemic

"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…
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The Conversation | 07/04/2020

Why coronavirus impacts are devastating for international students in private rental housing

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…
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Leo Patterson Ross | 02/04/2020

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…
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Leo Patterson Ross | 29/03/2020

Rent relief language - quick explainer

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…
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