Welfare – news and analysis

Support for International Students: Pilot Hub Launched

OISH launch
International students have faced incredible hardship throughout the COVID-19 epidemic. At the peak of the pandemic, six international students began regular International student support sessions for isolated students. These zoom sessions sparked an idea for a physical hub where international students could support one another, share stories and build skills. The Tenants’ Union worked as part of a Sydney Alliance organising committee to develop the idea.
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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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Young Renters: We hear you!

Vanessa
A new report by the Tenants’ Union of NSW and Youth Action digs into issues facing renters under 30. Young people’s voices feature, with quotes taken from the 304 responses to our survey of young renters, as well as observations from the 15 young renters who engaged in our young renter roundtable discussions.
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A day in the life of Tenant Advocate Neissa Carpenter Holmes

Neissa
We interview Neissa Carpenter Holmes – a Tenant Advocate with Murra Mia Tenant Advocacy Service. Neissa assist tenants in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven area. Her day to day work involves giving advice to tenants, representing clients at Tribunal, following up with clients’ cases, negotiating with housing providers, and referring tenant to other services for non-tenancy related assistance.
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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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We need to talk about the landlord

Graphic of a family in a house, wearing masks, virus outside
We don’t only need to talk about the relationship between tenants and landlords – we also need to talk about the landlords themselves. A key flaw exposed through the response to COVID‑19 is the profile of those who act as landlords in Australia. They are heavily indebted. They are mostly without training or expertise. As a result, they were scared and desperate and clinging firmly to the one power dynamic they felt they had control over. The need for a more compassionate response to tenants was as apparent to everyone as were the barriers.
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Tenants need to be listened to: community support – not heavy-handed policing

Tall apartment building with 'Our home' on the side
On the weekend over 3,000 public housing tenants in Melbourne were put into an immediate enforced lockdown by the VIC government due to a spike in COVID-19 in the area. Others in the community are not facing the same level of restriction because their housing and community infrastructure is of a higher standard. This is punishment simply for the crime of being poor in a society that places the blame for poverty on the people experiencing it.
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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.
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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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