Security and safety – news and analysis

Renters deserve warm homes in winter

Cold homes make people sick (text) red lettering on grey and purple graphic background
Like many Sydneysiders who rent, I live in an apartment that, in winter, is perpetually flippin’ freezing. Here in NSW, property investors aren't required to implement basic measures that would make a rented home healthy to live in. This is seriously impacting the health and wellbeing of renters. Too many renting people are freezing at home in winter, then sweltering in summer. We're forced to waste energy and money trying to stay healthy and comfortable. I don't think that's good enough: everyone needs a home that is livable and healthy in a summer heatwave or a cold winter, with affordable energy bills.
Read more

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.
Read more

Fire safety in your rented home

Pic setting out smoke alarm requirements
As we are heading back into the bushfire season in NSW we thought it would be a good time to remind us all on how to ensure our homes are bushfire prepared and general fire safety in the home. Olivia and Eloise at the Tenants' Union NSW set out how to reduce fire risks, and the responsibility landlords have to ensure working smoke alarms in rented homes.
Read more

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!
Read more

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. 
Read more

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. 
Read more

Supporting older renters to 'age-in-place'

Older woman holding drivers license - DCJ Housing image - Seniors Strategy
Recently the Tenants’ Union of NSW made a submission to NSW Department of Communities and Justice as part of their consultations for the next NSW Government strategy for seniors. We recommended the NSW Government implement policy and benchmarks that ensure older renters are supported to remain living in a community they have a strong attachment to, either in their existing residence or alternate local accommodation with service supports.
Read more

Renters' Guide to COVID-19

Renters' Guide to COVID-19
The Renters' Guide to COVID-19 covers common questions about renting in New South Wales during the Coronavirus pandemic. The Tenants' Union of NSW is working hard to keep this Guide up to date.
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more