Education and Training 2017-2018

At the Tenancy Advice & Advocacy Training.
At the Tenancy Advice & Advocacy Training. Pictured left to right: Feras Suwan (Western Sydney Tenants’ Service), Nikki Perry (Southern Sydney TAAS), Grant Arbuthnot (TU Principal Legal Officer), Paulina Monforte (TU Administration Officer), and Anthea Tse (TU volunteer).

The Tenants’ Union provides an extensive program of high quality eduction and training to Tenant Advocates, community workers and tenants. We are an accredited Registered Training Organisation and our expertise in the area of tenancy is well recognised.

Advocate Training

We trained 179 Tenant Advocates and volunteers in 2017-2018. Regional and Koori Advocates continue to access our training in significant numbers and an increase in Koori Advocate attendance is attributed to the implementation of regular, targeted training delivered by the Legal Officer – Aboriginal Support and the Aboriginal Paralegal during Aboriginal TAAS service visits.

NCAT Formal Hearings training in August 2017.
Paul Smyth (TU Residential Parks Legal Officer), and Cass Wong (TU Litigation Solicitor), at left, leading a mock hearing during the NCAT Formal Hearings training in August 2017.

Courses range from half a day to three days and included:

  • Introduction to Tenancy Advice and Advocacy (x3)
  • Aboriginal Cultural Awareness
  • Land Lease Communities law
  • Introduction to NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)
  • NCAT – Formal hearings
  • NCAT – Appeals
  • Consumer Claims and Tenancy
  • Boarding Houses Act
  • Social Housing
  • Community Education
  • Hoarding
  • Using the TAAP Database

Evaluations from the individual training courses are positive overall. They are discussed and reflected on by the trainers after each course, followed by modifications to the training where appropriate.

Tenant and Community education and training

Youth Homelessness Day stall
Jess Massa (TU Legal Officer – Aboriginal Support), Ned Cooke (Tenant Advocate at Inner Sydney TAAS), and Paul van Reyk (TU Senior Resources Officer), staffing a Youth Homelessness Matters Day stall.

In addition, on our own and in partnership with others we provided training/information sessions to over 1,120 tenants, community members, students, community organisation staff and the legal profession:

Yabun stall
Zachary Armytage (CLCNSW Aboriginal Legal Access Program Coordinator), John Mewburn (TU Aboriginal Paralegal), and Mark Riboldi (CLCNSW Advocacy & Communications Manager), at aYabun Festival stall.
  • Tenancy Law for Non-Lawyers delivered in conjunction with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
  • Training of community workers in introduction to tenancy law
  • Training land lease community residents in relevant law
  • Training sessions: for volunteer lawyers at PIAC’s Homelessness Legal Service; for Law Access staff on popular tenancy problems; and for Fair Trading staff on common tenancy issues in the Tribunal
  • Presentations: to local community alliance REDWATCH on the current policy framework for social housing; to St Vincent de Paul Social Justice Forum on rental law; to planning and architectural students at the Urban Housing Lab; to lawyers and planning professionals at the Environmental Planning and Law Conference; to community lawyers on evaluation of legislative change in housing law; to UNSW Summer School law students on housing law
  • Stalls at: NAIDOC community events; Yabun Festival; Redfern Neighbourhood Advisory Day; Newtown Festival; Ultimo Fair; Youth Homelessness Day; and City of Sydney Lord Mayor’s Reception for international students

Know Your Rights as a Tenant Workshops

International Students Welcome stall
Julie Foreman (Tenants’ Union Executive Officer), right, with international students at the Tenants’ Union stall at the Sydney Lord Mayor’s Reception for International Students.

The Tenants’ Union received a grant from Multicultural NSW to deliver 10 ‘Know Your Rights as a Tenant’ workshops with four Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities in NSW with the highest proportions of renter households. The Tenants’ Union contracted Ethnic Communities Council (ECC) to deliver the workshops. The CALD communities identified through 2011 Census data on language spoken at home by renter households in NSW were Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Arabic (including a session targeted for Assyrian renters), Vietnamese and Korean. The workshops were delivered by ECC multicultural educators trained by the Tenants’ Union. An Advocate from a local Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service (TAAS) also attended each workshop.

Participants at the workshops evaluated them highly. All participants said that before they attended their knowledge about their rights as a tenant was not good and they did not know where to go to get this information. All participants said their knowledge of their rights as a tenant had improved through the workshop, and they appreciated knowing that there were free advice services to which they could go for information and support.

The workshops confirmed the need for tenancy information targeted for CALD communities, particularly new migrant communities. Participants and the educators also identified innovative ways to get this information to CALD tenants. The Tenants’ Union is looking at undertaking more work in the area.

Registered Training Organisation Compliance

The Tenants’ Union has successfully re-registered as a Registered Training Organisation for the next seven years.

All national annual declarations and reporting were successfully submitted. Our workplace TAAP assessors are upgrading their vocational competencies and we have also finalised our Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Tenants Queensland enabling them to provide nationally recognised units of competency.

Eight out of 11 students enrolled in CHC42015 Certificate IV in Community Services completed their qualification.

The Australian Quality Training Framework (AQFT) surveys for Certificate IV students were collected and reported on; students commented positively on the relevance of the training as well as appreciated its flexible delivery.


Feedback from training participants

“Thanks! I Really think this training will help me deliver better services and give more relevant referrals”
– Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Training participant, February 2018

“Thank you! Very beneficial for my casework/advocate role”
– Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Training participant, February 2018

“Really glad I attended, this will be very useful”
– Advanced Land Lease Communities Training, March 2018

“Was really impressed! I think it’s valuable to have a mix of services attending, not just TAAS. More knowledge sharing!”
– Boarding Houses Act Training participant, June 18

What was the best thing about the Certificate IV training?

“The trainer’s skill, flexibility and understanding of participants work context”

“Well organised, time flexible, covers all the basics we need to continue training”

“Face to Face sessions with Trainer/Training Coordinator”

“Ability to do it in my pace”

“That it was tailored, realistic and supportive”


> Tenants' Union Annual Report 2017-2018 Contents