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Latest news and analysis

What could the NSW Religious Freedoms Bill mean for renters?

19/10/2020
Hands holding multicoloured and rainbow hearts
Last week, the Tenants’ Union signed on to a joint statement coordinated by Equality Australia opposing NSW One Nation's Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equality) Bill 2020, which is currently being considered by NSW Parliament. The Bill would allow people and organisations to use religion as an excuse to hurt, exclude and demean people. Riley Brooke unpacks what the Bill, if passed, could mean for renters.
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Pets and strata - a win! But it's only the first step.

15/10/2020
Photo of young toddler seated next to labrador dog.
On Monday, 12 October 2020 the NSW Court of Appeal found that a strata by-law that places a ban on pets breaches NSW strata scheme legislation and is invalid. A blanket ban on pets, they found, is “harsh, unconscionable or oppressive”.
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Tenants’ Union of NSW welcomes a 6-month extension on support measures for NSW renters

23/09/2020
COVID19 and housing graphic
The Tenants’ Union of NSW welcomes today’s announcement from the NSW Government confirming the extension of moratorium protections for renters through until the end of March. “The pandemic and its’ impacts are ongoing. We know many renters across the state are finding it hard to make rent and cover all their bills,” said Leo Patterson Ross, CEO of Tenants’ Union of NSW. “Minister Anderson’s announcement today will come as an enormous relief for people renting who’ve been worrying about how they’ll keep a roof over their head in the coming months”.
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Upcoming changes to planning laws: TUNSW submission on the proposed Housing Diversity SEPP

22/09/2020
House under construction
Last week the Tenants' Union of NSW provided comment on the Department of Planning's proposal for a new Housing Diversity SEPP (State Environmental Planning Policy). The new SEPP will consolidate three previous SEPPs, including the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP, and update and amend all three in the process. The changes proposed look to do a number of things, including introducing new planning 'housing types' including Build-to-Rent (BTR), purpose built student housing and co-living developments, as well as change the current definition and planning controls for boarding houses.
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Renting during COVID-19? Take the survey

04/09/2020
Graphic image, housingscape in relief with COVID19 stylised virus image in blue background.

City Futures Research Centre at UNSW wants to hear about what is has been like renting during the COVID-19 emergency? Have you tried to negotiate a reduced rent? Take the survey and go in the draw for a $500 voucher.

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Outasite magazine issue 6 – out now!

02/09/2020
Outasite 6 cover
Our annual printed publication for land lease communities has been published and delivered to mailboxes in communities all over NSW. You can also download a pdf here or read the articles online. We hope you enjoy the read. If you’d like to subscribe, please contact us, or subscribe to our regular email newsletter Outasite Lite.
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Report on the situation for NSW renters during COVID-19 demonstrates struggle ongoing, potentially getting worse

02/09/2020
Picture: Report cover - Family in masks in house, covid virus graphic surrounds house
Tenants' Union of NSW Report released today demonstrates the struggle many NSW renters continue to face as a result of COVID-19. The report 'Supporting Renters During the Pandemic' provides evidence of the continued need for support for renting households across NSW during the pandemic and demonstrates the need for an extension and strengthening of moratorium protections.
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Five year review

01/09/2020
Outasite logo
At the end of 2020, which has been a very strange year so far, the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 (RLLC Act) is due for review. The RLLC Act commenced on 1 November 2015 and the Minister responsible is required to review the Act as soon as possible after five years from commencement. Following the review, a report is to be tabled in each House of Parliament within 12 months after the end of the period of five years. If the RLLC Act review proceeds on time, which looks likely, this report would need to be tabled by 31 October 2021. The purpose of a statutory review of an Act is to determine whether the policy objectives remain valid and whether the terms of the Act remain appropriate for securing those objectives. In this article we delve into the detail of the policy objectives and discuss achievements, failures and what needs to change. 
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Fair market value

01/09/2020
Philomena and Ian
This article is not about home sales, although that is what gives rise to the issue, it’s about site fees and site fee increases. Fair market value appears in sections 109 and 111 of the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 (RLLC Act) and is a small but important provision that sets an upper limit on site fees in new site agreements when a home has been sold by one home owner to another. Fair market value is the higher of either the site fees payable by the home owner who is selling the home, or the site fees payable for residential sites of a similar size and location within the community. It seems very straightforward, but in reality the provision has been ineffective and site fees are often set much higher than fair market value. Over time this practice lifts the site fees in a community to higher and higher levels, yet there is no scrutiny over these increases.
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Fixed method site fee increases

01/09/2020
Bob Morris
The concept of increasing rent or site fees by a fixed method is not new. Fixed method increases were possible and did happen under the (repealed) Residential Parks Act 1998. What the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act (RLLC Act) introduced is specificity regarding what a fixed method may be, and that is what we examine in this article. The RLLC Act provides that site fees may be increased by a fixed method which may be either: (i) by fixed amounts, or (ii) by a fixed calculation (for example, in proportion to variations in the Consumer Price Index or in the age pension).
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