The Tribunal (NCAT) – news and analysis

Renting: What needs to change?

Rainbow and houses graphic. Text reads: somewhere over the rainbow, there's a place called home.
“There’s no place like home.” But for so many of us who rent, current tenancy laws and practice prevent renters from feeling the sense of being settled and secure needed to really feel 'at home'. Part of our work at the Tenants Union NSW is to push for change & towards housing justice. We want to hear from you: what needs to change? What renting issues are most important to you, and why? Please take a minute and take our survey.
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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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The long road

Home owners from Rivergum holiday retreat with Tenant Advocates
Rivergum Holiday Park at Corowa is a small community with about 45 residents including Bob Myles who was one of the first home owners to take an electricity dispute to the Tribunal under the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act (the Act). In February 2017 the Tribunal made an order that the operator was to provide Mr Myles with copies of their electricity accounts so that he could check whether or not he was being overcharged. It was this decision that was later cited by a number of other home owners who were seeking access to their operator’s accounts under section 83 of the Act.
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Open Justice and the Tribunal (NCAT)

Court doors, door open with light streaming through
The Tenants' Union NSW recently provided a short submission to the NSW Law Reform Commission's Open Justice Review currently underway. We focused on two key issues. First, the importance of publishing reasons for decisions in tenancy law matters. Second, the need to make available more statistical data about tenancy law matters heard by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
We recommended NCAT increase the number of decisions with reasons being published, and the quantity, range and regularity of the statistical data it currently shares about tenancy matters heard at NCAT.
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Getting your LL plates?

Hands signing a contract and offering L plates
There is currently a petition in NSW Parliament for the creation of a “Landlord non-compliance register”. It speaks to some of the most frustrating aspects of renting in Australia.
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No country for young renters?

Text summary of post body, showing 6 young people looking at phones
Young renters do it tough. Expensive rents, share houses, problems with flatmates, the risk of eviction, dodgy landlords, worry about bonds and outstanding repairs are just the tip of the iceberg. While renters under the age of 25 make up a significant percentage of tenants in NSW, and are living in some of the worst conditions, our research has shown they do not contact Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services (TAASs) at the same rate as other age groups. We want to change that!
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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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Outasite Lite 38 – land lease communities news

outasite lite cover
Outasite Lite 38 is winging its way across the internet to subscribers' inboxes. Articles in this issue include, "Community recognition for land lease community advocate", "Appeal afoot – fixed method site fee increases", "Review update", "High Court application", "Advice line extension", and "Holiday period closure".
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Appeal afoot – fixed method site fee increases

Bob Morris
In Outasite Issue 6 (August 2020) we wrote about fixed method site fee increases and mentioned three communities where those methods were being challenged by home owners. Home owners from the Palm Lake Resorts are still awaiting a hearing before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal Appeal Panel, however the Tribunal handed down the decision in Morris and Ors v Kincumber Nautical Village on 3 September.
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Staying Connected – TAAS Conference 2020

TAAS Conference 2020
Last week, over 100 Tenant Advocates participated in our first online Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services Conference. We explored a range of topics, including changes to tenancy laws, policy reform, and advocate work practice. We looked in detail at the effects COVID-19 has had on tenants lives, the Tribunal’s practices, tenancy law, and mental health. 
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