Forging Ahead – Tenant Advocates Conference
In October 2021, around 100 Tenant Advocates from across NSW came together online for our annual Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services Conference, under the theme 'Forging Ahead'.
Every year since 1994, our Network has met to learn, discuss, and reflect on our practice. We share our experiences as Tenant Advocates assisting the renters of NSW. The conference is organised by the Tenants' Union of NSW.
It's a great opportunity for Tenant Advocates to hear from each other about the various issues faced by different groups of renters – from boarders and lodgers to tenants in strata, from renters in share housing to those in social housing, from land lease communities to apartment buildings, from the city to the bush.
We are particularly appreciative of the amazing knowledge brought to the Network by the Aboriginal Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Services (ATAASs). The ATAASs work to defend and improve the rights of Aboriginal renters across all the many unceded Aboriginal Countries of this land.
A main focus of the Conference this year was the huge challenges faced by renters due to COVID and the ongoing housing crisis, as well as how we can forge ahead and continue to improve. Within a widely disrupted social and legal context, renters have faced added hardship and insecurity. Advocates reflected on the various COVID eviction moratorium and transition periods, and explored the new framework that will exist from 11 November 2021 to 12 February 2022, for tenants who have been COVID impacted. We also looked at how we can rejuvenate and innovate in the ways we work post the pandemic.
Other highlights of this year's conference were sessions on:
- Compensation for breach of quiet enjoyment
- Strategic litigation and policy priorities
- Local Court processes and procedures
- Enhancing our work with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)
- Boarding houses, strata, and minimum standards
- The return of the Make Renting Fair campaign
- Discrimination in land lease communities
- New online reference library and resources for the Network
A huge thank you goes out from the Tenants' Union to all the presenters and participants in the Conference. As always, the incredible work of Tenant Advocates guides and inspires us. Every year Advocates provide advice to tens of thousands of renters, as well as engaging in community legal education and various other forms of community work in their local areas. This year demand for our services was once again at an all time high, but the Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Services met the challenge head on and exceeded all expectations. Congratulations all.