A day in the life of Tenant Advocate Neissa Carpenter Holmes
Tell us a little about your position and what you do on a day-to-day basis?
I’m a Tenant Advocate with Murra Mia Tenant Advocacy Service, and I assist tenants in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven area. My day to day work involves giving advice to tenants, representing clients at Tribunal, following up with clients’ cases, negotiating with housing providers, and referring tenant to other services for non-tenancy related assistance. I also travel out of the office doing face-to face visits when we’re not impacted by COVID-19.
What area does Murra Mia Tenant Advocacy Service cover?
The South East, Lower Western, Riverina and Hume Murray areas of NSW.
Why did you decide to move into tenants’ advocacy?
I previously worked at Centrelink. Being Indigenous and wanting to help Indigenous people – working at Murra Mia gives me the opportunity to work within my own community, with my own mob.
In your work, what are the three most common tenancy issues you face in assisting tenants?
- Repairs and maintenance
- Rent arrears
What are a few key messages you would like to give to Aboriginal tenants before they first enter into a tenancy agreement?
- Everything needs to be in writing
- Know your rights
- Know your obligations
What are some tips you have for tenants who are ending their tenancy agreement?
Refer back to the ingoing condition report and photographs, do an outgoing condition report and take photos. Try to leave the house the way that you received it when you moved in.
What keeps you motivated to go to work each day?
Working towards an outcome with the tenant and trying to resolve the problems of the tenancy, so that the tenancy does not get terminated. I try to get the best possible outcome for the parties.
What is the best thing about working at Murra Mia Tenant Advocacy Service?
The staff that I work with because we have a good working relationship. I also like it because the work is challenging and no two days are ever the same.