Stable homes – news and analysis

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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Advice and advocacy for renters in every community

Tenant Advocates at the Network Meeting
Tenant Advocates are hard at work all across NSW – making sure tenants know their rights, so we can keep on building good homes and communities. Here are some of the recent examples of the work of our Network, from stalls in the community, to our Network Conference, to winning compensation for tenants, to resisting unfair evications, and helping tenants who are facing mutiple disadvantage.
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No Bang for your Bond!

Tenant Advocates at the Network Meeting
Tenant Advocates at the Network Meeting
This is the initial response from Tenants' Union of NSW, resourcing body for 19 NSW-based Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Services, to the release of funding agreements from 2019-2022 for NSW Government funding for the Tenants Advice and Advocacy Program. We welcome the continued funding of tenancy services. Renters in NSW need and appreciate the services they receive from TAASs. However, we estimate 1 in 3 seeking assistance are missing out. It makes no sense that funding isn’t increased when we know there is interest available from renters' own money in the Rental Bond Board and Property Services account.
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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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Renting art across Sydney

Edge poster
Art reflecting and questioning housing is currently on display across Sydney. One of the artists, Emily Valentine, comments, "In our real estate centric society, photographs of houses – empty, clean, white, and devoid of people bombard us. These images build a fantasy of the perfect state of houses, but also as homes as vacant spaces. This is abnormal."
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Millers Point: through the looking glass

Jane Bennett Lower Fort Street
Robert Mowbray reflects on the forced relocation of public housing tenants from Millers Point. He collects a selection of posts that report and discuss on the events and issues.
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Track rents in your local area – new postcode tool for tenants

Postcode Rent Tracker graphic
Today the Tenants' Union has released the first version of a new tool to help tenants in NSW. We believe the more information people who rent have the better, and now using data directly from the Rental Bond Board, you can check what the latest rents data is for any postcode in NSW with the Rent Tracker Postcode Tool.
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David and Goliath: One tenant’s 14-year battle for repairs

David Bott
Public housing tenant David Bott
David Bott’s long-running battle in the Tribunal shone a light on a serious issue which public housing tenants know all too well: the systematic failure of FACS to do necessary repairs. After 14 years, FACS made the necessary repairs, but only after getting dangerously close to being found in contempt of the Tribunal. Thanks to David’s tenacity, his case has also paved the way for significant changes to the way FACS will deal with repairs issues.
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Older people at risk of homelessness

Older woman sitting on a couch - report cover
'The older I get the scarier it becomes' is a new report into the risk of homelessness for older people in NSW. The report was released on 29th November 2017, during the 2017 National Housing Conference, by the Ageing on the Edge Homelessness Prevention Project. Robert Mowbray, Tenants' Union Project Officer for Older Tenants, represents the TU on the NSW Reference Group for this project.
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Make Renting Fair gains momentum

Make Renting Fair campaigners and supporters in Redfern
Redfern tenants and community show their support for Make Renting Fair
In NSW current tenancy legislation allows landlords in the private market to end a tenancy without having to give a reason. This means renters are often scared to enforce their rights because they know they can get kicked out for things like asking for repairs or challenging an excessive rent increase. Make Renting Fair is a community campaign calling for law reform to end these unfair evictions. Support for the Make Renting Fair campaign continues to grow.
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