Sydney – news and analysis

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.
Read more

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!
Read more

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.
Read more

Meet Rita – Tenants' Advice Service Coordinator

Rita Wilkinson
Rita Wilkinson, Tenants' Service Coordinator
Rita Wilkinson is the Tenancy and Financial Inclusion Manager at Metro Assist, and the Coordinator of the Southern Sydney Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service. This interview was originally published by Metro Assist as part of their spotlight on dedicated, long-serving staff, who have been with the service for between 10 and 20 years. We'd also like to extend our congratulations and thank Rita for all the great work she does!
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

#WeLiveHere community action

Brian with his dog Ruby in their apartment
Waterloo renter Brian, with his dog Ruby
#WeLiveHere2017 was a community action led by local residents of Redfern Waterloo. Coloured lights lit up the two social housing tower blocks in Waterloo – Matavai and Turanga – that have dominated the southern skyline of Sydney since 1976. In 2015 the NSW State Government announced the redevelopment of the Waterloo Estate, including six large tower blocks and several low rise dwellings. Some 3,600 residents – many of them elderly or people with a disability – will be relocated in the process. The Tenants' Union spoke to two residents who participated in the #WeLiveHere action, Felix and Brian, to get their perspectives.
Read more

From Millers Point to Glebe

Paddi O'Leary in front of a jacaranda tree.
Paddi, former Millers Point tenant
Paddi O’Leary was a tenant in social housing at Millers Point and participated in tenant action to reverse the policy of relocation and also supported tenants through the process of relocation. She talked with Paul van Reyk from the Tenants' Union about her relocation from there to Glebe. "That was the big thing in all of this, the loss of community. You can’t create it from outside,” said Paddi.
Read more

Unfairly evicted for challenging electricity misuse & excessive rent

Jeremy and Mari
Jeremy and Mari, Inner West renters
“We stood up to the landlord. That’s the real reason we were evicted.” Jeremy tells how he received a 'no-grounds' eviction after he challenged the landlord over excessive rent and a requirement to pay for electricity used in a communal area.
Read more