Housing News Digest

The Tenants' Union Housing News Digest compiles our pick of items from all the latest tenancy and housing media, sent once per week, on Thursdays. 

Below is the Digest archive from November 2020 onwards. From time to time you will find additional items in the archive that did not make it into the weekly Digest email. Earlier archives are here, where you can also find additional digests by other organisations. 

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See notes about the Digest and a list of other contributors here. Many thanks to those contributors for sharing links with us.

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How the world’s richest nation is solving its housing crisis

Tristan Rutherford
Yahoo News (No paywall)

Solving a housing crisis in the world’s richest nation per capita doesn’t come cheap. Apartments in Monaco routinely sell for €5,000 (£4,230) per sq ft; a studio apartment will easily go for €2m. Prices have risen by 40pc in a decade to set new records across the principality in what was already the world’s priciest nation, with more incomers eyeing up opportunities. And residents of the world’s most densely populated country, including Sir Lewis Hamilton and Dame Shirley Bassey, demand the best. The solution is to spend €2bn reclaiming land from the Mediterranean Sea.


# Hot topic International, .

Why were we evicted? I had to ask the new tenant to find out – and the reason cuts to the heart of the UK’s housing crisis

Ruby Lott-Lavigna
The Guardian (No paywall)

The call about my eviction came on a Friday afternoon in February. The estate agent rang me from an unknown number to let me know my housemates and I would need to leave our home. We had only moved in the year before. “Why?” I asked, confused, with a panicky feeling rising in my chest. “The landlord doesn’t have to give a reason,” he said unapologetically and then hung up. Section 21, or “no-fault”, evictions are one of the cruellest facets of the housing sector, and they’re increasingly common: recent figures show a staggering 52% rise in these evictions in London in the past year.


# Hot topic International, Eviction, Rent.

Backpackers demand right to squat in flood-affected Lismore houses

Max Tillman and Miranda Saunders
ABC (No paywall)

Overseas backpackers and itinerant workers are heading to Lismore to squat in flood-affected houses. The properties involved are among 623 purchased by the New South Wales government's Reconstruction Authority as part of the buyback program introduced after the devastating floods of 2022. The ABC has been told the people learned homes in the area were vacant via a loose social network formed at Tasmania's Rainbow Gathering festival in March.


# Hot topic NSW, Disasters, Rent, Share houses.

Housing Minister Rose Jackson says gas issues fixed before Whalan explosion but is 'embarrassed' by social housing horror stories

Nick Dole
ABC (No paywall)

NSW Housing Minister Rose Jackson says gas issues previously reported at the site of the fatal Whalan home explosion appear to have been properly resolved. The government has now reviewed the maintenance records of a private contractor who had previously performed work on the Homes NSW property prior to the explosion on Saturday. They confirm that residents twice raised concerns about a gas-like odour. "On two previous instances, there had been issues around the smell of gas on the gas meter that's at the front of the property," Ms Jackson said. "They were quite promptly responded to."


# Must read, Hot topic NSW, Disasters, Public and community housing, Repairs, Security and safety, Utilities electricity water gas.

NSW LLC peak body not happy with Act amendments so far that favour residents

Ian Horswill
The Weekly Source (No paywall)

The amendment bill to the NSW Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act has had a second reading in the NSW Parliament on Wednesday, 5 June, with 48 recommendations. Operators are being placed under new pressures. One change to an amendment is that operators will be given just 12 months to enter into compliant site agreements, instead of three years, against a backdrop of multiple structural changes. The bill implements 21 of the 48 recommendations from the statutory review into the Act in 2021.


# Hot topic, Legal significance NSW, Land lease communities.

Legislative changes implemented to make residential land lease community fees fairer

Keira Proust
ABC (No paywall)

Daryl Rowe is one of about 40,000 people who rely on residential land lease communities as an affordable housing option in New South Wales. The 57-year-old moved into Kincumber Nautical Village on the New South Wales Central Coast eight years ago, but has struggled to keep up with increasing site fees ever since. Mr Rowe's fortnightly site costs are just less than half of his disability pension. "When I moved in it was $175 a week, which I could cope with, but now it's up to nearly $500 a fortnight," he said. "Everything is a bit tight — I'm not buying many luxury things … just the bare minimum that I have to, really."


# Must read NSW, Land lease communities.

Struggling renters could have extra sway at next federal election

Aidan Devine
realestate.com.au (No paywall)

Struggling renters – especially those in NSW and Queensland – could play a decisive role in the outcome of the next federal election, with key marginal seats now recording some of the worst rental affordability in the country. New analysis showed tenants were typically spending more than a third of their household income on rent across the Sydney electorates of Fowler, Banks, Robertson, Parramatta and Bennelong. Tenants spending more than a third of their pay on rent – some of the highest levels in the country – was also the norm in regional NSW seats Cowper, Gilmore and Dobell.


# Hot topic, TUNSW in the media NSW, .

Inside the revolt over NSW’s signature housing reforms

Christopher Harris
The Sydney Morning Herald (Paywall)

Crossbench MPs are demanding more meaningful reforms to tackle NSW’s housing supply and affordability crisis as they consider supporting a Liberal bill designed to scuttle Premier Chris Minns’ signature planning policy. The bill, introduced by opposition planning spokesperson Scott Farlow, would allow for the abolition of transport-oriented development zones (TODs) where six-storey apartment blocks could be built near 37 public transport hubs across the state.


# Hot topic, Legal significance NSW, .

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