Tenants' Union news

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Latest news and analysis

Renters deserve warm homes in winter

17/06/2021
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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What you need to know about rent bidding

01/06/2021
Auctioneer's hammer - graphic representation
Rent bidding happens when there’s a shortage of available rental properties, so prospective tenants make an offer to pay rent above the advertised price in order to secure a property. Now, we don’t blame renters for this. Right now, a rental crisis continues to unfold across much of regional NSW.  With so few properties available to rent, there are dozens if not hundreds of applicants for every property, and renters are becoming desperate to find a home. We are seeing a rise in agents and landlords taking this opportunity to actively solicit rent bidding to maximize income and exploit desperate tenants, which we think is unethical and unlawful.
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WESTS Community Engagement Day

26/05/2021
WESTS Tenant Advocates
On Friday 21 May 2021, WESTS held a community engagement event at the Skye Hotel in Parramatta to reconnect with key partners of our organisation. The event was a great success. There were over 60 attendees at the community engagement day who were able to finally reconnect with WESTS after a long-period of physical isolation dating back to the COVID-19 lockdown in March last year.
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No home left behind!

24/05/2021
Range of different boarding houses and pics of residents in photo frames
In this op-ed piece, Leo Patterson Ross asks what is missing from our approach to regulation of boarding houses? What would it look like if we started the conversation about reform by identifying housing need? Originally published in Council to Homeless Persons' publication Parity.
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A long, winding road: NSW boarding house reform

21/05/2021
Long road, stretches to horizon. Australian bush on side of road.
In the context of plans for a new Shared Accommodation Act to replace the existing Boarding House Act 2012, Jemima Mowbray provides a short history of the long road towards ensuring better protections for all people who rent their homes, whether they live in boarding houses, shared accommodation or lodgings, or other renting arrangements.
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Renting: What needs to change?

13/05/2021
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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Public housing maintenance: a 'real fix' needed

11/05/2021
Yesterday the Tenants' Union NSW's CEO Leo Patterson Ross and Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Jemima Mowbray attended a public hearing of the Follow Up Review of the Management of Public Housing Maintenance Contracts. We were able to speak to the submission made by the Tenants' Union and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Here we publish our opening statement to the Inquiry in full.
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How a volatile rental market could impact some of the most vulnerable in our communities 

10/05/2021
Advocate assisting a client in office
The past 12 months have had a significant impact on many tenants, particularly those who may be at risk of financial hardship or homelessness. Pamela Hunter, from VERTO’s Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service (TAAS) outlines some of the serious challenges facing renters, particularly in regional areas where a volatile housing market is wreaking havoc.
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The case for renting

24/04/2021
Participants in a zoom call for TUNSW Roundtable for Young Renters
As Youth Week draws to a close, Charlie Wilde examines renting from the perspective of renters under 30, and highlights a few of the suggestions shared with us during our recent Young Renter roundtable to improve the renting experience for everyone.
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COVID Eviction Moratorium ends; Transition Period begins

25/03/2021
Renters Guide to COVID-19
The COVID eviction Moratorium Period which began in April 2020 is coming to an end on 26 March. However a six-month Transition Period will follow, during which there will be limited protections against eviction for tenants with COVID-induced arrears. 
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