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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Key topics

Tell decision makers to end unfair evictions for all renters now!

Tenants' Union of NSW (No paywall)

We need the NSW Government to get this right. We know that NSW Government decision-makers are currently considering rental reforms – can you email them and tell them to end no-grounds evictions for all renters? It’s been almost a year since NSW Labor formed government, and we haven’t yet seen real progress (such as a Bill in Parliament) to end unfair evictions. A renter in NSW gets a no-grounds eviction every 18 minutes in NSW. And 2 out 3 renters who get no-grounds evictions are on fixed-term agreements. The government needs to end no-grounds now, for all renters – including those on fixed-terms.


# Must read, Legal significance NSW, .

NSW reform on ‘No Grounds’ evictions: why changes can’t come soon enough

Leo Patterson Ross
news.com.au (No paywall)

Did we do something wrong? Should we not have said anything at all? Imagine being told to leave your home without ever being told why. This is what renters in NSW face. This creates fear. It reduces trust in renting and in providers of an essential service even those trying to do the right thing. Transparent and genuine dealings should not be something to be scared of. As we approach a year on from the election, NSW Labor is finalising their plans to reform the state’s eviction laws.


# Must read, Hot topic, TUNSW in the media, New policy announcement NSW, .

When homes already hit 40°C inside, it’s better to draw on residents’ local know-how than plan for climate change from above

Abby Mellick Lopes, Cameron Tonkinwise & Stephen Healy
The Conversation (No paywall)

Weather extremes driven by climate change hit low-income communities harder. The reasons include poor housing and lack of access to safe and comfortable public spaces. This makes “climate readiness” a pressing issue for governments, city planners and emergency services in fast-growing areas such as Western Sydney. We work with culturally diverse residents and social housing providers in Western Sydney to explore how they’re adapting to increasing heat. Residents hosted heat data loggers inside and outside their homes.


# Hot topic NSW, Disasters.

'Key workers’ removed from Ballina Council’s housing project as Mayor seeks full market rents

Echo (No paywall)

Ballina Council have removed any doubt that the development of housing on land it owns in Wollongbar is for the benefit of ‘key workers’. In April 2022 Council resolved to sell 18 of the 30 lots it owned in the Wollongbar Urban Expansion Area, and further explore the feasibility of developing and retaining for leasing all or part of the 12 remaining lots ‘for the purposes of providing affordable housing for essential workers in accordance with State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2021’. This led to the commissioning of a feasibility study and an expression of interest process with prospective tenders who could design and construct the housing, with the Council maintaining ownership.


# Hot topic NSW, .

Dark, damaged and peeling: What $660 rents you in Sydney

Mikaela Wilkes
Daily Telegraph (Paywall)

“I can’t buy the millennial dream, sure, but I’ll be able to rent it.” This was a sentence that I, a former housing reporter, unfortunately published in June, 2022 shortly before relocating from Auckland to Sydney. Three months later, Sydney’s housing crisis was given an additional moniker: “chronically unaffordable”. Which is an academic way of saying that 35.3 per cent of renters are in housing stress - paying more than a third of their monthly income on housing costs.


# NSW, Rent, Repairs, Security and safety.

NSW moving too slowly on rental reforms

Inner West Council
Mirage News (No paywall)

With the housing affordability and rental crisis deepening by the day, the NSW Government is not acting urgently enough to enact new renter's rights and provide support to tenants. Almost a year since the government was elected, their commitments to end no-fault evictions, strengthen legislative protections for renters, and introduce a portable bonds scheme have yet to be delivered.


# Hot topic NSW, .

NSW state-wide housing projects update

Kody Cook
Council Magazine (No paywall)

The New South Wales Government is undertaking a number of initiatives to build new homes across the state and reduce the impact of the housing crisis. In New South Wales, housing affordability and availability are at their lowest levels in decades. Even though New South Wales has the largest population, it is last on the east coast when it comes to housing completion. Building approvals and construction activity have slowed while build costs have skyrocketed. Rental vacancies are low and there are more than 55,000 people on the waitlist for social housing.


# Hot topic, Research alert NSW, .

Pensioners left behind as Australia's rental crisis drags on

Miriah Davis
9 News (No paywall)

As Sydney's housing crisis continues to spiral out of control, older renters in a town just a five-hour drive north-west of the city feel they have been left behind. Nearly half of Annemarie King's fortnightly aged pension will go towards rent on her two-bedroom unit in South Tamworth when her lease is renewed in December. The 69-year-old received written notice from her real estate agent that she will have to pay an extra $45 a week to bring her rent in line with the current market, meaning her rent will increase from $235 per week to $280.


# NSW, Discrimination.

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