Five key changes to social housing laws

In October 2015, NSW Parliament passed the highly contentious Residential Tenancies and Housing Legislation Amendment (Public Housing - Antisocial Behaviour) Act - affecting the rights and obligations of all social housing tenants in NSW, and restricting the capacity of the Tribunal to consider the evidence before it. Strictly speaking, these changes have applied since enactment. But FACS Housing will begin actively using the new rules against public housing tenants from today, having published a new operational policy to guide its decision making in this regard. Community housing providers are expected to do the same in the near future. 
Read more

2016 Budget to deliver income management for Social Housing tenants?

A few weeks ago we noted the NSW Government's continued interest in a Compulsory Rent Deduction Scheme for social housing tenants, as they took the idea to the recent Council of Australian Governments meeting.

Such a scheme would make it compulsory for tenants in social housing to have their rent taken from a social security payment and paid directly to the landlord. As we have noted many times before, such a scheme already exists, but it works on a voluntary basis. Direct rent deductions work for some people some of the time, but they won't work for all people all of the time. Making the use of such a scheme compulsory will produce awkward results.
Read more

Tenants’ guide to tax reform

Housing affordability is a key issue during the 2016 federal election. The presumed impact of reducing tax concessions for landlords has been a strong feature in media discussions, and in commentary from political parties and candidates. Most of these focus on the cost of housing to buy.

But how do negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts affect the private rental market?
Read more

The rent (assistance) is too damn low

The rent in Sydney is so high now that even historic pockets of affordability are way out of reach for people doing it tough. We might have been able to rely on public or social housing if supply had kept pace with the growing population, but it didn't.
Read more

Happy anniversary, Residential Tenancies Act - part 4

Six years ago today the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 became part of the law of New South Wales.

Part of the deal was that it must be reviewed after five years, to see whether its policy objectives remain valid, and its terms remain appropriate.

This statutory review of the Act commenced in late October 2015, with NSW Fair Trading inviting interested parties to contribute via a public discussion paper. They received in excess of 200 submissions - many of them from tenants. We produced our own submission, and have discussed it quite a bit on the Brown Couch as well.
Read more

State Budget 2016: extra duties for foreign purchasers

Announcements on new spending and policy are already finding their way out of Macquarie Street. One matter of some interest to tenants - and more than a few landlords, we bet - concerns changes to stamp duty payable by foreign purchasers.
Read more

NSW Budget: Social Housing funding

The Government will officially hand down the budget today, but much that will be of interest to us on the Brown Couch has already been revealed.
Read more

RLC submission to the Review of the Residential Tenancies Act

Redfern Legal Centre's logo - a stylised building graphic
It has been five years since the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 came into force and it is now due for its five year statutory review. In October 2015, NSW Fair Trading released a discussion paper and Redfern Legal Centre provided input to the review that focused on the following main areas (as well as comments on other areas).
Read more