Eviction leads to homelessness threat

Thursday 7 June 2018

Inner West Council Mayor Darcy Byrne is fighting to protect a group of local residents who have been evicted from their long term homes in an apparent bid by a new owner to drastically increase rental prices.

The tenants, who have lived in the bedsit units on William Street for as long as 32 years, were recently informed that they had to vacate the premises because the entire block had been sold.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said that the upsetting evictions showed exactly what was wrong with tenancy law in NSW.

“These tenants have been given just 60 days to pack up their lives and find somewhere new to live,” he said.

“Many of them are on pensions and are on a restricted income.

“For some, their physical ailments make it impossible to work and equally impossible to find somewhere new to live in such a short time frame.

“Some of them are at real risk of finding themselves homeless.

Reg, who turned 90 this week, has lived in Australia for 45 years and in the William Street bedsit for 20 years. The eviction is forcing him to move back to New Zealand to live with his family.

Nina has spent the last 12 years at the bedsit and is desperate to find a home that will take her and her dog, which she adopted when one of the previous tenants passed away.

Basil has called the units home for 32 years. Now suffering severe mobility impairment and vision and hearing loss, he is finding it impossible to even look for new accommodation.

“They have for years put up with a dilapidated bedsit in order to maintain their place in the Leichhardt community amongst their family, friends and community on a rent they can afford,” said Cr Byrne.

“Now they are being told to get out.

Council has contacted Marrickville and Redfern Legal Centres, and the Redfern Centre is now advising and advocating for the tenants.

Council staff has also been advising tenants on the process for applying for public housing.

“We are doing our utmost to press for priority public housing assistance for these tenants, but what they really want is to stay in their homes.

“As house prices become more astronomically unaffordable, more and more people are renting – and most are vulnerable to eviction at any time.

“Tenancy legislation in this country is far too heavily weighted in favour of landlords. Tenants desperately need more protection.”

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Page last updated: 20 Nov 2018