Submission: Response to Fair Trading discussion paper "Statutory Review of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010"


The Tenants’ Union of NSW has long-standing expertise in renting law, policy and practice, with a particular interest in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. As a key stakeholder throughout the development and implementation of the Act, we ensured tenants’ interests and perspectives were considered. From the release of the consultation draft bill in November 2009 to the Act’s commencement in January 2011, we provided useful commentary and feedback to government.

Our interest in the Act is ongoing. We train tenants’ advocates, lawyers and community workers in the use of its provisions, we consult with government and industry peaks on related matters, and we conduct litigation in the public interest on specific questions arising from the legislation itself. No other organisation in New South Wales has such a relationship with the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

Now in our 40th year, the Tenants’ Union is pleased to provide this response to Fair Trading’s discussion paper for the statutory review of the Act. This contribution forms part of our continuing work towards greater stability, liveability and affordability for the one in three people who live in rented homes across New South Wales.

In producing this response we have consulted with tenants, tenants advocates, community workers, lawyers and a range of non-government organisations, including other housing peaks. In particular, we have drawn on the work of the statewide network of Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Services, whom we resource. (TAASs) have collectively handled more than 150,000 questions and requests for assistance from tenants since the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 commenced. The TAASs’ considerable experience informs and complements our own, and provides a significant body of knowledge to draw upon when considering the legislation and its aims.

We understand a number of Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services will also be providing responses to Fair Trading’s discussion paper, based on their own experiences working with the Act. We recommend these – they will demonstrate some of the difficulties the Act presents for tenants when attempting to avoid and resolve disputes.