News: Why secure and affordable housing is an increasing worry for age pensioners

Published at The Conversation, 12 December 2016

The average housing costs of older (65-plus) outright homeowners in lone-person households were A$38 a week in 2013-14, the Australian Bureau of Statistics calculated, compared to $103 for older social housing tenants and $232 for older private renters.

Fortunately, over the last several decades almost all Australians who depend on the age pension for their income have been outright homeowners, and their housing costs have thus usually represented a small proportion of their pension. However, this situation is changing and the significance of this is profound.

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News: Can Sydney's housing affordability crisis be solved with homeshare between the young and elderly?

Published at ABC 702 online, 25 October 2016

Eight years ago, Barbara Squires was in a financial dilemma. Her marriage had broken down and she was struggling to keep up with the large mortgage repayments on her Redfern terrace with a single income.

Her solution was to return to her university days of share houses, but this time with someone far younger than her.

Ms Squires, who was 60 at the time, invited 23-year-old Iranian student Niloufar Imanriad to share her home.

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News: Renting househunters forced to jump through extra hoops in Sydney’s tight rental market

Published in SMH Domain, 23 October 2016

When Ankita Mohan decided to move from Wollongong and closer to her work in Sydney, she thought it would be a simple process to get a rental property. It wasn’t.

She applied for several apartments, with a friend, in Lane Cove and Ryde – each rented out at $400 to $500 a week, which she said was manageable on their joint $3300 a fortnight income. They were both under 20 and looking for their first rental home.

But instead of just filling out the usual application form to prove she had a secure job and a steady stream of income, she claims several property managers demanded proof of extra finances. 

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News: Aussie renters like 2nd-class citizens

Published at news.com.au, 5 October 2016

Shifting housing trends mean Australia’s lagging tenancy laws undermine renters

LET’S be honest, many of us have given up on The Great Australian Dream of owning our own home and conceded to our fate of being Generation Rent.

But as more and more people are living in rental accommodation — and living there for longer — Australia’s tenancy laws have not adapted, leaving tenants under-represented and without security they can keep a roof over their head.

Tenancy unions are now demanding the laws adapt to shifting trends, and get up to speed with the rest of the world.

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News: When should landlords be allowed to evict tenants?

Published in the SMH, 3 October 2016

On what basis should a landlord or a real estate agent be allowed to evict a tenant?

Currently, they are not required to give a reason; the NSW Residential Tenancies Act allows tenants to be evicted on a "no grounds" basis.

But with predictions that half the population of NSW could soon be rentingtenancy advocates are increasingly arguing that new mechanisms should be established to give tenants the confidence and security to make demands on their landlords and agents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fair Trading Recommendations for rental law reform

Earlier this year the NSW Government received 210 public submissions in response to a discussion paper asking how our rental laws could be better.

Renters and tenant advocates raised concerns around security, maintenance, housing standards and rent increases. Suggestions were offered to improve long-term stability and to allow renters to put down roots and treat their house like a home.

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News: Tenants in NSW need laws that give them more security, says Tenants Union

Published in SMH Domain, 13 August 2016

There are two major problems with tenants. Firstly, we treat them with contempt and disdain and then wonder why some of them – a tiny minority – behave badly.

Then we keep telling them that they have failed in life if they don’t own a house. I use the word “house” advisedly because our politicians still think that renting a unit is double jeopardy.

You rent? A unit? Surely leasing a great apartment in a terrific area is just a stepping stone to owning a crappy bungalow in a virtual war zone.

So where does that leave the more than 50 per cent of apartment residents who are tenants?

Getting very little love from either landlords or politicians, is where.

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News: The hidden tax that hurts renters: why we need a revolution in tenant rights

Published in the SMH, 22 July 2016

The astounding finding that home-owning adults will soon be in the minority marks an important tipping point and demands a change to prevailing attitudes about renters and landlords.

Lower home ownership is not itself a cause for concern. Many countries, Germany being the best example, combine high living standards, vibrant economies and a low home ownership rate.

Housing should satisfy a basic human need for shelter and security. It should suit the needs of each individual. Whether that is achieved by owning, or renting, should not matter.

Renters deserve the same sense of "ontological security" as home owners: the security and peace of mind that a home brings and a sense of belonging to a certain place and community.

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