Tenant stories

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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17 years of advocacy in Regional NSW

Chris Maybin
Chris Maybin, Tenant Advocate
Chris Maybin has been a Tenant Advocate with VERTO South West Tenants’ Advice Service for 17 years. Now she's moving on, but in this interview she gives some of her thoughts and reflections on her experiences. She talks about having to tell a family they were going to be homeless, and being "cursed" by a landlord! She also explains some of the particular challenges faced by tenants and Tenant Advocates in regional New South Wales.
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NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal – have your say

Screenshot of the NCAT front page
The Civil and Administrative Tribunal has been operating for more than 5 years! In that time hundreds of thousands of tenancy, social housing, residential land lease communities and boarding house renters have attended hearings. The Justice Department is now conducting a review of the Tribunal. If you have had an experience there and would like to tell them about we encourage you to participate. You need to send your response by July 10th.
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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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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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#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.
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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.
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Make Renting Fair – community support growing

Make Renting Fair
Make Renting Fair is a new community campaign to end unfair evictions. Bringing together a strong coalition of local community organisations, unions, and faith based organisations, the Tenants Union of NSW and Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services are calling on the NSW State Government to make renting fair, and ensure renters in New South Wales are protected against unfair evictions.
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