Energy and climate – Tenant News special edition

Tenant News 114
Energy bills. Most of us don’t look forward to getting them. They're often difficult to understand, but the worst part is looking to the spot in the bill where the dollars owed sit in heavy black numbers. This special edition of our magazine Tenant News focuses on energy and climate issues, from a renter's perspective. Many renters want to take action to reduce their energy use – for the climate as well as for the household budget – but are limited by the laws and structures of renting.
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Sometimes you need help to get on the right track

Raymond Morris with WESTS coordinator Franya Repolusk
Raymond Morris with WESTS coordinator Franya Repolusk
Raymond Morris is a public housing tenant who's very active in his community – he's mentored and supported hundreds of people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Last year, Raymond put up a carport at his place to secure his car. However Housing NSW informed him that is was an illegal structure, ordered him to take it down, and also served him with an eviction notice. So Raymond got advice from the Western Sydney Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service (WESTS) and went to the Tribunal.
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Escaping an unsafe and insecure rental nightmare

Kellie and her son Elijah
Kellie & her son Elijah, Central Coast tenants
Kellie and her son Elijah are tenants on the Central Coast. At their previous place the landlord failed to abide by the agreement and renting laws in a number of ways. So Kellie got advice from Central Coast Tenants Advice and wrote to the landlord to assert her rights. She also went to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) to seek compensation for the landlord’s failure to do repairs and an illegal lockout. Although she was unsuccessful at the Tribunal, Kellie did manage to get rehoused in a better place.
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A day in the life of Brett Webb: Aboriginal Tenant Advocate

Brett Webb, Aboriginal Tenant Advocate
Brett Webb, Aboriginal Tenant Advocate
Brett Webb is an Aboriginal Tenant Advocate at the Northern Aboriginal Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service. In this interview he speaks about his experiences and day-to-day work.
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Home and health

Carol
Carol Carter is an Aboriginal woman living in public housing in Bankstown in Sydney. In September 2014, Carol received a letter from the Department of Housing in relation to relocating her to another house because of redevelopment happening at the place she currently lives. Carol has lived at her current home for over 14 years. Carol has been receiving help from Greater Sydney Aboriginal Tenants Service (GSATS).
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The importance of a secure home

Carol and Vivian
Carol and Vivian, social housing tenants
Firstly, to introduce us, I am Carol (on the left in the picture) and my sister is Vivian (on the right). We are social housing residents living in Riverwood and have lived here since 1984. Originally we were in a third-floor unit on – a word I dislike – a housing estate. Because Vivian had a health problem we were given a transfer a short distance away to a small villa. Our introduction to the Tenants’ Union of NSW was while I was doing a Diploma of Community Work/Welfare at TAFE around 2007.
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My home is like my castle

Lewin George
Lewin George, Marrickville tenant
Home means security for me – this is where I feel safe. My home is like my castle, even though it's one room at the back of my landlord's house. I also like to go out, but I value my privacy when I’m at home. The landlord's dogs are good, they keep watch.
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A place of my own

Annette Murphy
Annette Murphy, Doonside tenant
I am originally from Walgett, Northern NSW. In Walgett everyone knows me as ‘Daughter’. I would like to move back to Walgett, but my children and grandchildren are in Sydney, so I will probably stay here.

I have lived in Sydney since I was about 19 years old. I have been living in my current home in Doonside for about 4 years. I rent through the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO)
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Terence faced damp and mould in public housing for years

Terence, a public housing tenant, in front of his house
Terence, Sydney public housing tenant
Terence is a tenant of Housing NSW. His property was riddled with damp and mould for years. This exacerbated his health problems and forced him to sleep in a recliner chair in lounge room rather than his bed.
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