We at the Tenants' Union are shocked and saddened by the unprecedented bushfire emergency of the last months.
Some of you may have lost your rental accommodation to the fires or may have had your accommodation damaged. Some of you may have family, friends or neighbours who have been affected. As a tenant you have rights under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 at times like these.
Disaster damage factsheet
The Disaster damage factsheet produced by the Tenants' Union is about damage to rented premises that is neither the fault of the landlord nor the tenant – the result of a storm, fire or flood, or other causes of such damage (e.g. a car crashes into the premises).
Getting your rented home bushfire ready
In this article on the Tenants' Union blog, Hayley Stone, co-ordinator of the Eastern Area Tenants' Service and volunteer with the Rural Fire Service in the Blue Mountains, gives us some general guidance on getting your rental property prepared for bushfires.
Other useful resources
Community Legal Centres NSW has info on Community Legal Centres operating in regions affected by the bushfires
The Financial Rights Legal Centre has a Bushfire insurance guide and factsheets about bushfire, flood and storm insurance.
Legal Aid NSW has a Disaster Assistance Service – 1800 801 529 – which can assist with insurance claims, social security benefits and other legal problems. They also publish a series of factsheets on what to do after a natural disaster.
NSW government: Communities and Justice has established a new Bushfire Housing Assistance Service. If you need housing support, it will offer assistance through temporary accommodation and Rentstart Bond Loan & advance rent. There is a Bushfire Housing Assistance Line you can contact – Disaster Welfare Assistance Line 1800 018 444. Bushfire Housing Assistance Response Teams (BHART) will also be operating in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern NSW areas to assist the community on the ground to access housing assistance and will include outreach services into affected communities.
NSW government: Justice – Office of Emergency Management has info on disaster assistance for individuals as well as newsletter with recovery information for people impacted by bushfires in the Hunter, Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands and South East NSW regions.
Services Australia has information on what emergency payments are available for NSW residents impacted by the bushfires
NSW Service Centre can help with replacing personal documents – 13 77 88
ASIC's Moneysmart website has plain English information on getting help to navigate financial decisions to get back on track after a natural disaster.
Lifeline has resources on recovering after a natural disaster
Blue Knot Foundation, National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma has an article on Bushfires, trauma and support
Australian Council for Social Services (ACOSS) has prepared a guide for people who need help or want to help : Getting help, helping, or getting prepared during the 2019/2020 bushfire emergency It covers
- Centrelink payments available for people affected by the bushfires
- Relevant state government financial assistance
- Mutual obligation requirements and Centrelink debt recovery
- How you can help
The NSW Council of Social Services (NCOSS) has a Bushfire Relief Assistance Resource – a comprehensive guide to assistance in NSW.
We will attempt to add resources to this page in upcoming months as necessary.