Human rights – news and analysis

NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal – have your say

Screenshot of the NCAT front page
The Civil and Administrative Tribunal has been operating for more than 5 years! In that time hundreds of thousands of tenancy, social housing, residential land lease communities and boarding house renters have attended hearings. The Justice Department is now conducting a review of the Tribunal. If you have had an experience there and would like to tell them about we encourage you to participate. You need to send your response by July 10th.
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The Limits of Rights and Protections: Housing as an Essential Service

Out of order sign
Public policy relating to renting and tenancy is typically approached through two competing conceptions: consumer protection and human rights - are we regulating an economic exchange or ensuring that everyone has a roof over their heads? The problems resulting from these, governments resistant to enforceable rights mechanisms and not all tenancies being commercial transactions, mean too many people are denied adequate housing. Perhaps it’s time to explore a different way of framing this issue: through the lens of access to housing as public service provision.
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Community groups joint statement on public housing bonds

Community groups logos
Key community groups call for the plan to be dropped amid concerns it will make life harder for people living in public housing, increase administrative costs of the Family and Community Services department, and be unlikely to have any benefits for the department in costs or tenant behaviour.
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David and Goliath: One tenant’s 14-year battle for repairs

David Bott
Public housing tenant David Bott
David Bott’s long-running battle in the Tribunal shone a light on a serious issue which public housing tenants know all too well: the systematic failure of FACS to do necessary repairs. After 14 years, FACS made the necessary repairs, but only after getting dangerously close to being found in contempt of the Tribunal. Thanks to David’s tenacity, his case has also paved the way for significant changes to the way FACS will deal with repairs issues.
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Tenancy rights for residents of group homes: consultation forums

Tenants' Union of NSW
The NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Ageing, Disability & Home Care is transferring the management of group homes to the non-government sector. As a result of this change, residents of transferred group homes will get a new landlord. Shelter NSW and the Tenants' Union of NSW are collaborating to deliver a number of targeted face-to-face forums in February 2018. It’s important that we hear from those within our community who will be directly affected by the transfer of supported group accommodation.
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Meet Jamie Love, Coordinator of WATAAS

WATAAS Tenant Advocates
WATAAS Tenant Advocates
This interview introduces Jamie Love, who recently started as Coordinator of the Western Aboriginal Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service (WATAAS). In the interview, Jamie talks about the challenges facing Aboriginal tenants and WATAAS, and some of the key things that need to change to get better service delivery for Aboriginal people.
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A day in the life of Brett Webb: Aboriginal Tenant Advocate

Brett Webb, Aboriginal Tenant Advocate
Brett Webb, Aboriginal Tenant Advocate
Brett Webb is an Aboriginal Tenant Advocate at the Northern Aboriginal Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service. In this interview he speaks about his experiences and day-to-day work.
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Life begins at 40!

Julie Foreman
Julie Foreman, TU Executive Officer
Julie Foreman, Tenants' Union of NSW Executive Officer reflects on the TU's 40 years of working for tenants rights and housing justice. She introduces a compilation of stories which celebrate the achievements of that hard work and also take a clear-eyed view of what still needs to be done.
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Women finding home

Hana
Hana: "Be brave and strong."
Women from a refugee background face a multitude of challenges and barriers when trying to find a place to call home in Australia. Like many Australians faced with a sudden change in living circumstances, they don’t have a rental history, referees or money for a bond or advance rent. In this article Rekha Sanghi of Settlement Services International looks at some of these issues and shares the stories of two women from refugee backgrounds, Hana and Zara.
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Seeking security

Older woman standing in front of a 'leased' sign
"It’s so hard to find rental accommodation that is in any way decent. I watch the papers all the time and have my name with lots of agents, but they don’t care. You should see some of the places I am offered, they are disgusting. Some of them should be condemned – they are hovels. The unit I live in is in a very old block and the owner put it on the market about two years ago but no one will buy it."
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