WSCLC supports Make Renting Fair

WSCLC supports Make Renting Fair

Western Sydney Community Legal Centre was pleased to host a special event in support of the Make Renting Fair campaign this week. The star of the event was Kristy, a client of Western Sydney Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service (WESTS), and a tenant who was recently unfairly evicted. Kristy bravely told her story to media and MPs.

Kristy’s story

Make Renting Fair supporters at WSCLC

Kristy telling her story to media, with (from left): Yasmin Catley MP (Shadow Minister for Better Regulation), Ned Cutcher (Tenants’ Union of NSW), and Luke Foley MP (Leader of the State Opposition, Shadow Minister for Western Sydney).

Kristy is a single mum with three kids, and she also cares for her own mum who has a disability. Kristy’s family has been living in their home in Oatlands for four years, but the house has a serious mould issue which has been recurring for over two years. The landlord has sent tradespeople, but never solved the real problem despite repeated requests. They painted over the mould three times; it reappeared each time. During a storm last year, a massive leak caused extensive damage to Kristy’s furniture and belongings and meant that half of the house was uninhabitable for eight months. The landlord then demanded $3,000 from Kristy to pay for damages to the carpet! Eventually, after Kristy’s repeated requests for repairs, the landlord instead sent her a 90 day ’no grounds’ eviction notice. Now Kristy has to move right before Christmas and her daughter’s birthday.

Luckily, Kristy has found another home to rent. She also got tenancy advice from WESTS, who assisted her to make an application to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for compensation, rent reduction and bond. Currently, she is awaiting a date to be set for the hearing.

Unfair evictions

Sadly, the 90 day ‘no grounds’ eviction notice that Kristy received is all too common in the rental market. Sections 84 and 85 of the NSW Residential Tenancies Act 2010 allow a landlord to evict a tenant without giving a reason, at the end of a fixed term lease or once the lease is outside of a fixed term. A significant number of renters who receive a ‘no grounds’ eviction notice are evicted in retaliation for asserting a right or because of discrimination.

Over 2 million people rent their homes in NSW, and over 300,000 in Western Sydney. That’s one in every three households. Many of these are families, as well as an increasing number of older people, and people sharing homes. These renters should not be forced to leave their homes for no reason. When someone is evicted it hurts the whole community. This is why WESTS and WSCLC are proud to support the Make Renting Fair campaign.

Make Renting Fair

Make Renting Fair is a new community campaign supported by over 90 community organisations, including faith-based groups, unions, and Community Legal Centres like WSCLC. The campaign is calling on the NSW State Government to change the law and protect renters from unfair evictions. Over 800 people have signed the campaign petition and many MPs have expressed support.

Support from Members of Parliament

At the event hosted by WSCLC, Kristy told her story to Luke Foley MP (Leader of the State Opposition, Shadow Minister for Western Sydney and Member for Auburn) and Yasmin Catley MP (Shadow Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, and Member for Swansea). Mr Foley and Ms Catley announced that NSW Labor would commit to ending ‘no grounds’ terminations. The NSW Labor policy also proposes extending the default tenancy from six months to one year, and limiting rent increases to once per year.

“People need security. People need stability. We’ve got to make renting fair again.” said Mr Foley.

NSW Government Minister responsible, Matt Kean also responded, stating that the government is working on a comprehensive set of policies to make renting better and fairer for renters.

The NSW Greens also have a strong renters’ rights policy platform and have been vocal advocates for reform to address unfair evictions.

More information

Channel 10 coverage: facebook.com/tennewssydney/videos/10155585305760259
Channel 7 coverage: au.news.yahoo.com/video/watch/37611259/sydney-renters-scared-of-being-evicted
Make Renting Fair campaign: rentingfair.org.au
Tenants NSW advice and information: tenants.org.au

Make Renting Fair campaign supporters with Yasmin Catley MP and Luke Foley MP

Kristy and her children (centre), with (from left to right) Franya Repolusk (WESTS Coordinator), Yasmin Catley MP (Shadow Minister for Better Regulation), Luke Foley MP (Leader of the State Opposition, Shadow Minister for Western Sydney) and Ned Cutcher (Tenants’ Union of NSW).