Landlords and agents – news and analysis

Report on the situation for NSW renters during COVID-19 demonstrates struggle ongoing, potentially getting worse

Picture: Report cover - Family in masks in house, covid virus graphic surrounds house
Tenants' Union of NSW Report released today demonstrates the struggle many NSW renters continue to face as a result of COVID-19. The report 'Supporting Renters During the Pandemic' provides evidence of the continued need for support for renting households across NSW during the pandemic and demonstrates the need for an extension and strengthening of moratorium protections.
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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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Pursuing a mountain of debt: Landlords’ Insurance

Coronavirus and economic impacts graphic image. Design photo created by Freepik
This blog explores two aspects of landlords’ insurance and asks whether the practices of insurance companies will change during the COVID-19 crisis. The first is when a tenant falls into rent arrears, in order to make a successful claim, the landlord is required to mitigate their loss by commencing eviction action against the tenant. The second is, where an insurance company has paid out a claim, it can step into the shoes of the landlord and commence action to recover rent arrears through the court system.
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Looking to rent a home? 6 things that will help or hinder you

Two women talking. One is a real estate agent, the other is a prospective tenant.
Two-thirds of tenants in Australia rent through a real estate agent. A national shortage of private rental housing forces these tenants to impress the real estate agent to secure a property. The ability to make a good impression on the agent, however, is largely based on a variety of factors that place some tenants at a disadvantage.
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17 years of advocacy in Regional NSW

Chris Maybin
Chris Maybin has been a Tenant Advocate with VERTO South West Tenants’ Advice Service for 17 years. Now she's moving on, but in this interview she gives some of her thoughts and reflections on her experiences. She talks about having to tell a family they were going to be homeless, and being "cursed" by a landlord! She also explains some of the particular challenges faced by tenants and Tenant Advocates in regional New South Wales.
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Chilly house? Mouldy rooms? Here's how to improve low-income renters’ access to decent housing

Streetscape
People’s quality of life, their health and their comfort can suffer when living in poor-quality housing. It can also impose high ongoing costs of maintenance, repairs, heating and cooling. And these problems are more likely to affect low-income households, as our report for Shelter NSW shows. In it, we review the evidence on housing quality problems and consider ways to resolve these, especially for low-income households. There is extensive evidence of the impacts of poor-quality housing on physical health, mental wellbeing and comfort.
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Growing community in a tenant-run garden

Todd and Bent Street tenants
The public housing tenants at Todd and Bent Street have been working hard to create a vibrant community and a luscious community garden. Thanks to their love and care, a permaculture garden now thrives in an area which used to be neglected. We spoke to some of the residents and asked them about the garden and their experiences as tenants.
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A flood, repairs, and an attempted eviction

Geoff Mansfield
My family and I had been living in our place for three years. It wasn’t a a bad property – there’s a nice view over Budgewoi Lake (although the lake can get a bit smelly!). Then there was a flash flood and our yard was flooded. We were without power for eight days and there was damage to the house too. The water rose up a fair way and the back fence came down. This meant that the back of our property was open to the lake.
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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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