A huge win for NSW renters
Jemima Mowbray • 03/03/2023
NSW commits to banning 'no grounds' during periodic tenancies
Today the NSW Liberals and Nationals joined NSW Labor and the NSW Greens and committed to ending 'no grounds' evictions for periodic (or rolling) tenancies. This means we really have a never-before-seen consensus on the principle that rented homes need to be stable homes, and that a modern tenancy system would support this.
How much can change in a week?
Last Friday: This time last week community organisers were talking to renters on the streets of Toongabie as part of 💬Renters Talk: It's time to Listen, a jointly run action on our pollies by Making Renting Fair, Sydney Alliance and Democracy in Colour. Rent increases, problems trying to secure a new rental home, properties in disrepair, and of course fear around eviction — these were all things being raised by renters on the ground.
Monday: Renters are front page news. NSW renters — and especially those in marginal electorates — will hold the key to this election. Decision makers need to be talking about how they are going to fix our broken rental housing system.
Tuesday: In Westmead over 900 people gathered for the Sydney Alliance Housing and Climate Election Assembly focussed on renters.
NSW Labor and the Greens re-committed to ending 'no grounds' and doing it right. They will end 'no grounds' during periodic tenancies and at the end of the fixed term. A huge win!
Treasurer Matt Kean told the audience to 'watch this space — announcement coming soon'.
Today: NSW Liberals and Nationals commit to ending no grounds evictions in periodic tenancies (rolling leases) and to extending the notice period at end of fixed term.
This is a win for renters in NSW. It is not an overstatement to say the Tenants' Union and the network of local Tenants' Advice Services across NSW have been pushing to get reforms to 'no grounds' evictions for close to 50 years now, joined by a huge coalition of community organisations, faith based peaks, unions, renters and their supporters.
We still have some work to do on convincing Coalition of the need for reasonable grounds at the end of fixed term. The Coalition's announcement does not cover 'no grounds' evictions at the end of fixed terms. This leaves a significant loophole, one we've seen landlord and agents in other jurisdictions take advantage of by shifting renters on to rolling shorter fixed term contracts to ensure they can still evict without having to provide reasonable grounds. At the moment in NSW a majority — around 70% — of no grounds evictions that are issued are given to renters at the end of a fixed term tenancy.
And while the announcement from the Coalition does not go as far as we need, it is nonetheless a significant win for renters. If you've shared a story, come to an action, attended an Assembly, joined the Tenants' Union, signed a petition, started a conversation with a family member, re-shared a social post — you helped make this happen.
So, let's celebrate the win!