Tenants' Union news

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Latest news and analysis

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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Q+A: Water restrictions, drought and rental bond

Watering can
"The agent is demanding all of my bond to pay for turf and lawn work. The lawn is not what it was at the beginning of the tenancy. But, we are in drought and there are water restrictions. It does not seem fair that I have to pay for turf etc when the lawn would probably have died anyway. Where do I stand? What can I do?"
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Changes to the law for 'protected tenants'

Protected tenant's roof
The leaking roof over the home of a 93-year-old protected tenant.
From 1 July 2019 the law regarding ‘protected tenants’ changed. They previously were covered under the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1948. No-one knows how many protected tenancies remain, but in 2019 their number is small. Some five years ago we estimated that there were 400 to 600 protected tenancies across New South Wales. Today their numbers probably have halved.
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Tenant Advocates come together for Network Meeting

Tenant Advocates at the Network Meeting
Tenant Advocates from across New South Wales recently came together for another successful Network Meeting organised by the Tenants' Union. There were sessions on the new domestic violence tenancy laws, the 'pay to stay' principle in relation to rent arrears, electricity in land lease communities, the NDIS, social housing transfers, and much more.
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Chilly house? Mouldy rooms? Here's how to improve low-income renters’ access to decent housing

Streetscape
People’s quality of life, their health and their comfort can suffer when living in poor-quality housing. It can also impose high ongoing costs of maintenance, repairs, heating and cooling. And these problems are more likely to affect low-income households, as our report for Shelter NSW shows. In it, we review the evidence on housing quality problems and consider ways to resolve these, especially for low-income households. There is extensive evidence of the impacts of poor-quality housing on physical health, mental wellbeing and comfort.
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In/formal housing – is more formality the answer?

Leo Patterson Ross at the Housing Theory Symposium
This is the text of an address given by Senior Policy Officer Leo Patterson Ross to the Housing Theory Symposium 2019. Leo argues that "Like water, if we do not get the supply of housing right, it will get to people in uncontrolled ways, providing too much to some and preventing others from getting enough. Along the way, some of it might get tainted and become unhealthy, unsafe. There will always be luxury water, sold in little bottles. But if we ensure cheap tap water continues to flow then those who need it will never go thirsty."
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Thank you to our volunteers!

Volunteers Merrilyn and Tina
Merrilyn and Tina are two of the Tenants' Union Monday Advice Line volunteers. From rent increases, social housing, evictions and sharehousing, our volunteers explain the laws and systems and talk through renters' options. Their dedication has made a world of difference – between them they have assisted more than 300 people who called up looking for renting advice. What champions!
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Negative gearing is still not your friend

Balacava - negative gearing is not your friend
Negative gearing remains a major issue for tenants - we've written more than 50 articles about it! This article has been one of the most widely read over the last few years, and now we've updated the data. In summary: negative gearing does not cause an individual landlord to charge less rent; negative gearing does not create net additional rental housing; negative gearing has contributed to more higher-income households renting; negative gearing has contributed to low-value properties dropping out of the rental market.
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Theresa May shows Gladys the way on eviction reform

Theresa May shows Gladys the way on eviction reform
Theresa May’s government in the UK has shown that supporting a fairer, balanced renting system is possible for conservative governments. Last week May and Housing Minister James Brokenshire announced that legislation was to be written to end unfair ‘no grounds’ evictions. Landlords will no longer be able to end tenancies either at the end of a fixed-term or outside a contract period without giving any reason at all. Instead, there will be a list of reasonable grounds where although the tenant has not breached the lease, the landlord will be able regain possession of the property.
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A tenant's guide to the NSW election 2019

A tenant's guide to the NSW Election 2019
We asked all the political parties 10 key questions about housing in NSW. This guide compiles their answers and compares key tenant demographics for each electorate. Addressing the state’s affordability crisis and implementing amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act was front of mind for many of those who responded. We also asked about pets, boarding houses, residential land lease communities, building quality and more.
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