Pets – news and analysis

Pets and strata - a win! But it's only the first step.

Photo of young toddler seated next to labrador dog.
On Monday, 12 October 2020 the NSW Court of Appeal found that a strata by-law that places a ban on pets breaches NSW strata scheme legislation and is invalid. A blanket ban on pets, they found, is “harsh, unconscionable or oppressive”.
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Unlawful and lawful discrimination: how the selection process disadvantages some private renters

For lease sign
In the absence of any legislated right to housing, or rules and guidelines such as waiting lists or criteria determining housing priority (as is the case in public housing), the decision to accept or reject a tenancy application, in the private rental market, is essentially “competitive”. It sits solely in the hands of the landlord, and, in many cases, the real estate agent, who provides expert advice to the landlord. This puts some tenants at a disadvantage when trying to rent a home. It is important to consider the ways tenants can be better protected from discrimination during the rental application process.
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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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Secure, affordable tenancies and support for tenants key to preventing homelessness

TU logo
Today the Tenants' Union NSW's CEO Leo Patterson Ross and Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Jemima Mowbray attended a public hearing of the Inquiry into Homelessness in Australia to speak to the Tenants' Union's submission. We've published our opening statement here.
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Fairer pets laws leaving NSW behind

cat
Today is the start of the new renting with pets laws in Victoria. While the ACT was able to implement their equivalent laws faster, Victoria was the first state to take this stand. They will make a difference to many humans and animals. We hope that the changes help drive a cultural change that shows landlords and agents that keeping pets are nothing to be uptight about. But we also need to be realistic about what they achieve.
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Will you stand up for renting pets?

Child and dog sitting on a couch
Australia is a pet-loving country. A nationwide survey in 2018 found that 82 per cent of Australians agree that animals make them healthier or happier. NSW is being left behind other parts of Australia – both Victoria and the ACT have amended their laws to make pet-keeping the default option. But NSW now has the opportunity to take the lead!
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New Tenancy Law Regulations – have your say

Liv
The Residential Tenancies Amendment (Review) Act 2018 passed late last year – containing a number of positive changes, and some shortcomings. Regulations are currently being drafted; we encourage you to have your say via the Fair Trading website (before 2nd August). Liv Todhunter, Tenant Advocate and Team Leader at the Illawarra and South Coast Tenants’ Advice Service spoke to the Illawarra Mercurcy about the changes.
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A longer lease on life: issues for older renters

Older people faces
With a surplus of $3.9 billion for 2016-17, the 2018 NSW State Budget had its winners and losers. The latter include seniors and renters. This blog examine some of the issues confronting older renters.
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#WeLiveHere community action

Brian with his dog Ruby in their apartment
#WeLiveHere2017 was a community action led by local residents of Redfern Waterloo. Coloured lights lit up the two social housing tower blocks in Waterloo – Matavai and Turanga – that have dominated the southern skyline of Sydney since 1976. In 2015 the NSW State Government announced the redevelopment of the Waterloo Estate, including six large tower blocks and several low rise dwellings. Some 3,600 residents – many of them elderly or people with a disability – will be relocated in the process. The Tenants' Union spoke to two residents who participated in the #WeLiveHere action, Felix and Brian, to get their perspectives.
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Make Renting Fair – community support growing

Make Renting Fair
Make Renting Fair is a new community campaign to end unfair evictions. Bringing together a strong coalition of local community organisations, unions, and faith based organisations, the Tenants Union of NSW and Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services are calling on the NSW State Government to make renting fair, and ensure renters in New South Wales are protected against unfair evictions.
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