Students – news and analysis

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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Unlawful and lawful discrimination: how the selection process disadvantages some private renters

For lease sign
In the absence of any legislated right to housing, or rules and guidelines such as waiting lists or criteria determining housing priority (as is the case in public housing), the decision to accept or reject a tenancy application, in the private rental market, is essentially “competitive”. It sits solely in the hands of the landlord, and, in many cases, the real estate agent, who provides expert advice to the landlord. This puts some tenants at a disadvantage when trying to rent a home. It is important to consider the ways tenants can be better protected from discrimination during the rental application process.
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International student COVID-19 crisis accommodation

The NSW Government is funding temporary crisis accommodation for vulnerable international students in NSW during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme will be delivered through approved student accommodation and homestay providers. Service NSW is administering the application process and will allocate the accommodation. Applicants will not be able to self-select their accommodation.
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Avoiding the spring of carnage: NSW Government rental assistance during the COVID-19 crisis

Graphic image, housingscape in relief with COVID19 stylised virus image in blue background.
This blog outlines what rental assistance programs are available to tenants in the private rental market in New South Wales. Further, it asks whether this assistance is adequate to ensure ‘impacted’ tenants have the support required, so their rent does not accrue as a debt ... and become a rent ‘time bomb’ at the end of the COVID-19 crisis.
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International students, COVID-19 and housing

people boarding a plane at sunrise
We know that more than half of international students organise their accommodation before coming to Australia. And many of those caught up in the travel ban due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 are returning to courses that they have already commenced. They are likely to have existing accommodation arrangements. What should students do if they are affected?
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The Limits of Rights and Protections: Housing as an Essential Service

Out of order sign
Public policy relating to renting and tenancy is typically approached through two competing conceptions: consumer protection and human rights - are we regulating an economic exchange or ensuring that everyone has a roof over their heads? The problems resulting from these, governments resistant to enforceable rights mechanisms and not all tenancies being commercial transactions, mean too many people are denied adequate housing. Perhaps it’s time to explore a different way of framing this issue: through the lens of access to housing as public service provision.
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Share housing agreement

If you rent part of a house or unit from another tenant, it is very important that you have a separate written agreement with your head-tenant. Without a written agreement, you will not have the protections of a tenant under NSW tenancy law. If you are a head-tenant, having a separate written agreement means that the rules are clear and any disputes with other tenants can be resolved formally.
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Renters in parliament

Jenny Leong MP, Shayne Mallard MLC, Julie Foreman TU Executive Officer, and Tania Mihailuk MP, cutting the cake at the launch of the TU 40th celebrations
Jenny Leong MP, Shayne Mallard MLC, Julie Foreman TU Executive Officer, and Tania Mihailuk MP
At the launch of the Tenants' Union 40th anniversary celebrations at the Northcott estate in Surry Hills in February 2016, we asked the three Members of Parliament who attended about their experience renting in Sydney. The MPs were Jenny Leong (Member for Newtown), Shayne Mallard (Member of the NSW Legislative Council) and Tania Mihailuk (Member for Bankstown). See what they had to say in this 3 minute video and article.

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Share Housing Survival Guide (NSW)

Photo of unwashed plates on a sink
Each year, more and more people move into a share house. Now in its third edition, The Share Housing Survival Guide is designed to provide both practical and legal information for people in share housing. This guide is based on the law applying to residents in NSW in June 2016.
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