Strong communities – 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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Partnering with Ngalaya First Nations lawyers

Ngalaya
The Tenants' Union is proud to announce a new partnership with Ngalaya – the peak body for First Nations lawyers and law students in NSW. We will be collaborating on a number of projects. The Tenants' Union will offer Ngalaya members tenancy law training at no cost, and facilitate access to the Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Services Network. Ngalaya has already begun assisting the Tenants' Union with recruitment of Aboriginal staff and will facilitate ongoing mentoring and support for the Tenants' Union Paralegal (Aboriginal) position.
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Working to support People With Disability Australia

PWDA TU
The Tenants' Union is pleased to announce a new partnership with People with Disability Australia. We will be supporting PWDA's Disability Housing Advocacy Service, by providing legal support and advice, training, referrals and resources, in relation to tenancy law. The first matters we have advised on include repairs in social housing, and habitability in private rental.
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Getting your rented home bushfire ready

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Guest blogger Hayley Stone, co-ordinator of the Eastern Area Tenants' Service and volunteer with the Rural Fire Service in the Blue Mountains, gives us some general guidance on getting your rental property prepared for bushfires.
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Antisocial antisocial behaviour management

hoodie reading 'anti anti social club'
Last Friday we made our submission to the statutory review of two sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 that require mandatory eviction in social housing for a number of antisocial behaviours, and short eviction times for all social housing tenants.
We recommend a shift in approach. If you want to 'create better, safer communities' scrap the strikes and start investing in communities with a real increase in the resourcing of community based supports and programs that build connection, resilience and capacity for individuals and their communities.
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Balancing tenure security and mobility for productivity

Google earth image of Sydney including public housing, private housing and commercial buildings
Yesterday we submitted our thoughts in response to the NSW Productivity Commission discussion paper "Kickstarting the productivity conversation". We recommended a shift to land tax, for a more reliable property tax system that encourages better land use, and exploration of a different way to encourage meaningful supply with positive outcomes.
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Sector welcomes important reforms to tenancy laws to further protect victims-survivors of domestic violence

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We welcome the passing today of important legislation to improve the safety of domestic violence victims-survivors renting in NSW. Today’s Bill strengthens reforms which commenced in February this year which allow victims-survivors of domestic violence to end their tenancy immediately without penalty.
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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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