Starting a tenancy – news and analysis

The high risks faced by international student renters in Australia.

Student housing sign, white text against blue background on wall Credit: @billsoPHOTO
International students in Australia make a huge contribution to the economy and the community. They also face serious struggles and hardships. Finding and keeping rental accommodation is one of the major hidden risks they face. COVID-19 has made it even riskier. Professor Alan Morris and colleagues recently undertook significant research about international students' experience in the private rental sector in Australia prior to and during the pandemic. In this interview, Paul van Reyk, Senior Project Officer with the Tenant’s Union, talks with Alan about the recent research.
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Renting with pets in NSW

child sits on a couch next to a puppy
This infosheet looks at the legal situation for renters in NSW and answers common questions pet owners have in relation to keeping pets. As a tenant in New South Wales you have rights under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019. As a pet owner, you also have a responsibility for the welfare of your pet, and there are council obligations that apply equally to home-owners and renters
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Support for International Students: Pilot Hub Launched

OISH launch
International students have faced incredible hardship throughout the COVID-19 epidemic. At the peak of the pandemic, six international students began regular International student support sessions for isolated students. These zoom sessions sparked an idea for a physical hub where international students could support one another, share stories and build skills. The Tenants’ Union worked as part of a Sydney Alliance organising committee to develop the idea.
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Young Renters: We hear you!

Vanessa
A new report by the Tenants’ Union of NSW and Youth Action digs into issues facing renters under 30. Young people’s voices feature, with quotes taken from the 304 responses to our survey of young renters, as well as observations from the 15 young renters who engaged in our young renter roundtable discussions.
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Fees to pay rent? Third party rent payment services: an explainer

flying paper money
There’s been a little bit of buzz lately around third party rent payment services, especially across social media. So, what exactly are these services, and are they a good idea?

Third party rent payment services (3PRPS) are services that will take money out of your bank account and put it in your rent account at the real estate agency. Many of you are probably familiar with these services – I know I’ve used them myself in quite a few of the rentals I’ve lived in. These services can be helpful for some renters, for a variety of reasons, but we know there are significant drawbacks.
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Tips for International Students

This factsheet provides information for international students looking to rent a house or unit in New South Wales.
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What you need to know about rent bidding

Auctioneer's hammer - graphic representation
Rent bidding happens when there’s a shortage of available rental properties, so prospective tenants make an offer to pay rent above the advertised price in order to secure a property. Now, we don’t blame renters for this. Right now, a rental crisis continues to unfold across much of regional NSW.  With so few properties available to rent, there are dozens if not hundreds of applicants for every property, and renters are becoming desperate to find a home. We are seeing a rise in agents and landlords taking this opportunity to actively solicit rent bidding to maximize income and exploit desperate tenants, which we think is unethical and unlawful.
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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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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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