Disasters – storm, fire, flood etc – 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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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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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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COVID-19 and renting, after 26 March 2021

The NSW government has made significant changes to the legal protections for private tenants who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. As the first set of protections during the Moratorium Period (i.e. 15 April 2020 to 26 March 2021) come to an end, new protections are now available for impacted tenants who had accrued arrears over this Moratorium Period. These new protections are set out in this infosheet and will come into effect for 6 months from 26/3/2021 – 26/9/2021.
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COVID Eviction Moratorium ends; Transition Period begins

Renters Guide to COVID-19
The COVID eviction Moratorium Period which began in April 2020 is coming to an end on 26 March. However a six-month Transition Period will follow, during which there will be limited protections against eviction for tenants with COVID-induced arrears. 
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Tenants' Union Annual Report 2019-2020

Tenants' Union Annual Report Cover
The past year has been an extraordinary one for the Tenants’ Union, by any measure. Unprecedented bushfires and then flooding across NSW drove many displaced tenants to tenancy services for support. Several months of natural disasters then gave way to the COVID-19 pandemic which not only drove a record number of tenants to our online resources looking for information and advice but it forced the Tenants’ Union’s own staff to start working remotely. During these external challenges, this year the Tenants’ Union was also forced to look for a new office space and recruit a new CEO. It has been an incredible year of change, but the staff at the Tenants’ Union have taken it in their stride and risen to every challenge. 
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Renters' Guide to COVID-19

Renters' Guide to COVID-19
This guide covers common questions about renting during Coronavirus COVID-19 in NSW. A 60 day stop on evictions for some tenants began on the 14th July 2021 and will end on the 11th September 2021. The previous Eviction Moratorium Period which began in April 2020 came to an end on 26 March 2021. However a six-month Transition Period was implemented. During the Transition Period there will be limited protections against eviction for tenants with COVID-induced arrears and these are in addition to the 60 day stop on evictions for some tenants.
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We need to talk about the landlord

Graphic of a family in a house, wearing masks, virus outside
We don’t only need to talk about the relationship between tenants and landlords – we also need to talk about the landlords themselves. A key flaw exposed through the response to COVID‑19 is the profile of those who act as landlords in Australia. They are heavily indebted. They are mostly without training or expertise. As a result, they were scared and desperate and clinging firmly to the one power dynamic they felt they had control over. The need for a more compassionate response to tenants was as apparent to everyone as were the barriers.
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No grounds for limiting reform under COVID-19

Graphic of a family in a house, wearing masks, virus outside
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. The COVID‑19 health crisis has highlighted and exacerbated existing inequalities and problems experienced by renters – most acutely, the problems of housing insecurity and the lack of affordable rental housing.
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