Campaigns and law reform – news and analysis

Support for International Students: Pilot Hub Launched

OISH launch
International students have faced incredible hardship throughout the COVID-19 epidemic. At the peak of the pandemic, six international students began regular International student support sessions for isolated students. These zoom sessions sparked an idea for a physical hub where international students could support one another, share stories and build skills. The Tenants’ Union worked as part of a Sydney Alliance organising committee to develop the idea.
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Requests for access during lockdown?

Hand knocking on door
The Public Health Orders so far have continued to allow landlords and their agents to force a range of entries into residential premises against the wishes of the occupants and their attempts to follow health advice. We want to hear from renters about any requests for access they've received - e.g. routine inspection, viewing appointments, repairs or maintenance, other - you have received since the start of the NSW lockdown period. We will be using information collected to advocate for tougher restrictions on access to rental housing during lockdown.
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NSW Peaks push for measures to support households struggling during current lockdown.

Household wearing masks, virus in background
The Tenants Union of NSW, with the NSW Council of Social Services (NCOSS) and Homelessness NSW, have written to Premier Berejiklian and Treasurer Perrottet, asking them to ensure measures are in place to support the most vulnerable during the current lockdown. “It’s really important that the restriction on forcing people to move is seen as part of the health response. It is entirely avoidable. We can and should be preventing people from being evicted or made financially desperate and forced by that to move during lockdown.”

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Call for systemic change amid Northern Rivers housing crisis

Sally
The Northern Rivers region is beset by soaring rental prices, social housing issues, a crisis of housing instability and homelessness. In this article Sally Latter, Coordinator of the Northern Rivers Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service, shows why it's time to end no-grounds evictions and transform the housing system.
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Young Renters: We hear you!

Vanessa
A new report by the Tenants’ Union of NSW and Youth Action digs into issues facing renters under 30. Young people’s voices feature, with quotes taken from the 304 responses to our survey of young renters, as well as observations from the 15 young renters who engaged in our young renter roundtable discussions.
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Renters deserve warm homes in winter

Cold homes make people sick (text) red lettering on grey and purple graphic background
Like many Sydneysiders who rent, I live in an apartment that, in winter, is perpetually flippin’ freezing. Here in NSW, property investors aren't required to implement basic measures that would make a rented home healthy to live in. This is seriously impacting the health and wellbeing of renters. Too many renting people are freezing at home in winter, then sweltering in summer. We're forced to waste energy and money trying to stay healthy and comfortable. I don't think that's good enough: everyone needs a home that is livable and healthy in a summer heatwave or a cold winter, with affordable energy bills.
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TICA charging you for access? No more!

Have you paid to access your info on a tenant database or blacklist? On 23 March 2020 this became unlawful. Access must be free.
Did you know it is unlawful for tenant databases to charge you for access to the information they hold on you? If you have paid for access to a tenant database in the last year, read this!
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No home left behind!

Range of different boarding houses and pics of residents in photo frames
In this op-ed piece, Leo Patterson Ross asks what is missing from our approach to regulation of boarding houses? What would it look like if we started the conversation about reform by identifying housing need? Originally published in Council to Homeless Persons' publication Parity.
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A long, winding road: NSW boarding house reform

Long road, stretches to horizon. Australian bush on side of road.
In the context of plans for a new Shared Accommodation Act to replace the existing Boarding House Act 2012, Jemima Mowbray provides a short history of the long road towards ensuring better protections for all people who rent their homes, whether they live in boarding houses, shared accommodation or lodgings, or other renting arrangements.
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The case for renting

Participants in a zoom call for TUNSW Roundtable for Young Renters
As Youth Week draws to a close, Charlie Wilde examines renting from the perspective of renters under 30, and highlights a few of the suggestions shared with us during our recent Young Renter roundtable to improve the renting experience for everyone.
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