Inner West launches new drive to improve renters’ rights
Tuesday 31 January 2023
Inner West Council has today launched a campaign for broad improvements to NSW tenancy laws in advance of the NSW election in March.
The Council has partnered with advocacy organisations The Tenants' Union of NSW and the NSW Council of Social Service to propose a fairer system for renters who make up roughly half of the Inner West community.
The Chief Executive of the New South Wales Council of Social Service Joanna Quilty says more needs to be done to support renters’ rights in NSW.
“Our research tells us that 73 per cent of low-income households in the Inner West are in housing stress, paying more than 30 per cent of their income on housing costs,” Ms Quilty said.
“We know that a significant proportion of these people are renting and that’s why we need to be doing more to support these families and individuals who are under the pump.
“People shouldn’t be priced out of their communities, and forced to move away from friends, work and study opportunities because of these extreme affordability issues.”
The proposal includes:
- Banning no fault evictions
- Lengthening tenancy periods to give tenants long-term security of 5 – 10 years
- New government oversight of complaints about repairs and maintenance
- Consideration of an empty properties tax for residential and retail properties, and
- An allowance for renters to own pets
Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne who proposed Council’s resolution said it was time Government stopped treating renters like second class citizens.
“This is a major social justice issue and we are determined to make it a central state election issue,” Mr Byrne said.
“In the Inner West the 43 per cent of residents who rent their homes are under growing pressure from housing costs and need more certainty about remaining in the community they love for the long term.
"Renters in our NSW have fewer rights than in the rest of Australia and much shorter security of tenure than in comparable nations in Europe.”
Head of the NSW Tenants' Union, Leo Patterson Ross welcomed the Council’s advocacy.
“Local government plays such an important role in our lives, not just delivering services but creating community, Mr Patterson Ross said.
“Making sure renting neighbours are able to find and keep safe, good quality homes strengthens communities, local economies and culture.
“For too many, our current system is not providing the homes that renters need. This support from Inner West Council adds to the chorus from across the state that we urgently need to make renting fair.”
“Lifting living conditions for millions of renters in NSW is urgent business that should be at the centre of the state election agenda.
"The severe power imbalance renters experience is leading to many thousands of people being exploited and mistreated.
“It's past time that tenancy laws were rebalanced to give renters modern protections and rights.
"With millions of people being locked out of home ownership, we must accept the reality that long term renting is a growing part of our housing system.
“This demands a decent tenancy system that gives renters more security in their homes and communities.”
For media enquiries please contact Jonny Browne 0411 549 580 or Jonny.Browne@innerwest.nsw.gov.au