Utilities (electricity, water, gas etc) news and analysis

Requests for access during lockdown?

Hand knocking on door
The Public Health Orders so far have continued to allow landlords and their agents to force a range of entries into residential premises against the wishes of the occupants and their attempts to follow health advice. We want to hear from renters about any requests for access they've received - e.g. routine inspection, viewing appointments, repairs or maintenance, other - you have received since the start of the NSW lockdown period. We will be using information collected to advocate for tougher restrictions on access to rental housing during lockdown.
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Renters deserve warm homes in winter

Cold homes make people sick (text) red lettering on grey and purple graphic background
Like many Sydneysiders who rent, I live in an apartment that, in winter, is perpetually flippin’ freezing. Here in NSW, property investors aren't required to implement basic measures that would make a rented home healthy to live in. This is seriously impacting the health and wellbeing of renters. Too many renting people are freezing at home in winter, then sweltering in summer. We're forced to waste energy and money trying to stay healthy and comfortable. I don't think that's good enough: everyone needs a home that is livable and healthy in a summer heatwave or a cold winter, with affordable energy bills.
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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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Repayment Plan Agreement

Sample letter
This is a template repayment plan for any arrears accrued under your tenancy agreement. To use this template: insert the relevant details in the parts marked [with square brackets], replacing the bold text. Sign the agreement and give it to your landlord/agent to sign. Keep a copy for yourself. Contact your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service if you need further advice.
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COVID-19 and renting, after 26 March 2021

The NSW government has made significant changes to the legal protections for private tenants who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. As the first set of protections during the Moratorium Period (i.e. 15 April 2020 to 26 March 2021) come to an end, new protections are now available for impacted tenants who had accrued arrears over this Moratorium Period. These new protections are set out in this infosheet and will come into effect for 6 months from 26/3/2021 – 26/9/2021.
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Outasite Lite 39 - land lease community news

Home owners from Rivergum holiday retreat with Tenant Advocates
Outasite Lite 39 is on its way to subscribers' inboxes all over New South Wales. Articles in this issue: The long road, Kincumber Nautical Village Appeal update.
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The long road

Home owners from Rivergum holiday retreat with Tenant Advocates
Rivergum Holiday Park at Corowa is a small community with about 45 residents including Bob Myles who was one of the first home owners to take an electricity dispute to the Tribunal under the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act (the Act). In February 2017 the Tribunal made an order that the operator was to provide Mr Myles with copies of their electricity accounts so that he could check whether or not he was being overcharged. It was this decision that was later cited by a number of other home owners who were seeking access to their operator’s accounts under section 83 of the Act.
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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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Staying Connected – TAAS Conference 2020

TAAS Conference 2020
Last week, over 100 Tenant Advocates participated in our first online Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services Conference. We explored a range of topics, including changes to tenancy laws, policy reform, and advocate work practice. We looked in detail at the effects COVID-19 has had on tenants lives, the Tribunal’s practices, tenancy law, and mental health. 
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