Regional NSW – news and analysis

Renting during COVID-19? Take the survey

Graphic image, housingscape in relief with COVID19 stylised virus image in blue background.

City Futures Research Centre at UNSW wants to hear about what is has been like renting during the COVID-19 emergency? Have you tried to negotiate a reduced rent? Take the survey and go in the draw for a $500 voucher.

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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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Tenancy services needed now more than ever

A mother and child sitting on a couch. The mother is wearing a face mask.
Pamela Hunter, Community Services Manager at VERTO, writes: "Tenancy, and renting in general, became very popular subjects at the beginning of the pandemic but they seem to have slipped from the headlines of late. At VERTO, my team works with those most vulnerable in the community, the people most at risk of being evicted, even under the protections that have been put in place for this period. Here’s how the pandemic has impacted those most vulnerable in the housing market..."
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Reflections on 10 years of Tenant Advocacy

Maz at Tweed Heads
After 10 and a half years, Maralyn Schofield is leaving her role as Coordinator of the Northern Rivers Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service. We took the opportunity to ask her for some of her reflections on the changes she's seen in the world of tenancy – and the things she'd like to see change in future...
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Advocating for independent living

Mary and Amanda
Mary Flowers and Amanda Elgazzar – Northern Rivers Tenant Advocates.
Recently, the Northern Rivers Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service was able to assist a tenant to maintain her independent living. The tenant lives in social housing, in a modest three bedroom home where she has lived all her life, in a country town. She has a severe visual impairment, and until recently was cared for by her mother. Sadly, her mother passed away not long ago. Her mother held the tenancy, so when she died, our client was given a six month fixed term agreement, while her eligibility for social housing was assessed.
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Electricity win – a real circuit breaker

Parklea land lease community residents
A few weeks ago the Tenants' Union of NSW successfully represented 93 residents from Parklea residential land lease community in Tribunal applications regarding unfair electricity charges. Residents will now receive a refund totalling approximately $80,000 for incorrect charges in their embedded electricity network dating from November 2015. This important case will assist residents across NSW to challenge overcharging for their electricity.
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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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17 years of advocacy in Regional NSW

Chris Maybin
Chris Maybin, Tenant Advocate
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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New Tenancy Law Regulations – have your say

Liv
Liv Todhunter, Tenant Advocate
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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Illawarra and South Coast Tenants Service says: Make Renting Fair

Warren
Warren Wheeler, Tenant Advocate
Illawarra and South Coast Tenants Services team leader Warren Wheeler has featured in the Illawarra Mercury, calling for legislative changes to stop unfair evictions. "A landlord will give a no-grounds notice, they don’t have to justify why they’re evicting the tenant, and as long as the notice is given correctly the Civil and Administrative Tribunal must terminate the tenancy."
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