Energy – news and analysis

Strata renters: have your say on renewable energy

Rooftop solar
We know that renters' voices are often missing when it comes to discussions about renewable energy and strata living. But there is currently an opportunity to be heard, as the NSW government is looking at initiatives to boost renewable energy and reduce power bills for people who live in apartments rather than houses. This year will also see a statutory review of strata law, which is a very good time to be engaged in the conversation. If you rent in an apartment, townhouse or villa, please fill in this new survey which looks at the barriers to installing sustainability infrastructure (i.e.solar panels, batteries, smart meters, efficient hot water systems etc).
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Economic stimulus proposal: Healthy & affordable homes

Economic Stimulus image
The Tenants' Union, together with over 50 other organisations, is calling for governments to invest in energy efficiency and solar PV for low income homes to stimulate tens of thousands of jobs, cut energy bills and emissions.
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A year to review

Gateway Lifestyle Stanhope Gardens residents
Yes, it has been four years since the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 (RLLC Act) commenced and that means the statutory review is due next year. The Tenants’ Union has already started working with Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services, Resident Groups and Resident Committees to identify areas of the law we think could be improved. Looking back over the past year electricity overcharging by operators has once again dominated the land lease community landscape. NCAT has determined a number of disputes and other groups of home owners have reached agreements regarding charges and refunds with their operators.
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Embedded networks on ABC's 7.30 Report

Mary Preston
Mary Preston is an amazing member of our network of land lease community residents. She works for fairness in her community and gathers frequently with other members of the network to discuss issues and solutions. Mary recently appeared on ABC's 7.30 Report in an investigation into embedded networks in land lease communities.
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Solar for All – including us renters

Text heading reads "what is a solar garden"
Everyone deserves to be part of the shift to renewable energy but 35% of Australians are 'locked-out', unable to get the benefits of rooftop solar – because we rent (or live in an apartment, or have a shady roof, or we just can’t afford the upfront cost). The good news is that there is a solution – a Solar Garden. But we need your support to make Solar Gardens take off.
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Reflections of a Blue Mountains Tenant Advocate

Jo Hibbert
Jo Hibbert, Tenant Advocate
Jo Hibbert has been a Tenant Advocate at the Blue Mountains Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service for seven years. Now she’s retiring for a well-earned break, so we took the opportunity to ask her for some reflections about her time in the world of tenancy. She talks about some of her experiences at the Tribunal, and the way the workload for Advocates has increased, but the funding hasn't. She also tells the story of a tenant who she defended from eviction six times!
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No homes on a dead planet

Desert for lease
The evidence has been in for some time that our climate is changing. As the Tenants' Union of NSW this concerns us because we know that renters live in housing that is the least suitable for a changing climate and with weak rights to make changes. We believe all people deserve safe, stable homes to live in and this aim only becomes harder to achieve the longer we wait to start. So what can we do?
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Electricity: The battle over usage charges approaches resolution

Mary Preston
When we published our last issue of Outasite (in July 2018) the battle over electricity usage charges was in the early stages and as most home owners will be aware, a great deal has happened since then. In this article we will attempt to bring you up to date. Since the introduction of the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 park operators have disputed how electricity costs should be charged to residents. Tribunal determinations on electricity charges have been inconsistent. In proceedings involving other parties, the Tribunal has accepted different methods of calculating refunds including applying the peak rate paid by the operator and also an ‘averaging method’.
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Out now! Outasite issue 5

Outasite 2019 cover
Outasite issue 5 is hot off the presses and finding its way into mailboxes in land lease communities all over NSW. This issue contains articles including: Cooperative communities; Electricity usage charges; Fairness about site repairs; Di Evans – land lease community advocate; Interference with sale; Site fees; Identifying the operator; Assignment of site agreements; NSW Fair Trading and Service NSW; Meet the Minister.
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Is it over?

Ken and Margaret
On 9 January 2019 the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) handed down the decision regarding electricity usage charges in Reckless v Silva Portfolios Pty Ltd t/as Ballina Waterfront Village and Tourist Park (No. 2) [2018] NSWCATCD 59. In this issue of Outasite Lite we look at the history of the ‘Reckless’ dispute, the latest decision (‘Reckless No. 2’) and the expert witness report that was provided in evidence by the operator.
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