Today the NSW Minns Labor Government has broken an election promise and shamefully announced it will press ahead with plans to privatise half of the Waterloo South public housing estate.
Under the plans, the current 749 public dwellings will be demolished to make way for 3,000 new apartments - only 30% of which will be social housing, which is just 2% more than the Liberals original plans. A further 20% will be “affordable” housing, and the remaining 50% will be private.
Jenny Leong Member for Newtown and Greens NSW Spokesperson for Housing and Homelessness said:
“Today NSW Labor has broken their election promise to Waterloo residents that they would stop the sell-off of the Waterloo Public Housing Estate.
“What they have announced today are plans that are in substance only marginally better than what was originally planned under the Liberal National government.
“NSW Labor had a chance to end the Liberal’s privatisation agenda, instead they are continuing this shameful legacy of evicting public housing tenants from their homes, for insulting increases to social housing stock that barely touch the sides of the housing crisis.
“The Greens will continue to stand in solidarity with the Waterloo community, public housing tenants and activists across the state - to stop the privatisation agenda, push for the site to remain 100% public housing, and for affordable housing to be actually affordable in perpetuity.“ said Ms Leong.
Sylvie Ellsmore, City of Sydney Deputy Mayor and Greens Councillor said:
“We are losing public housing in the inner city at a rapid rate. This project will mean we go backwards in terms of the percentage of public housing in the city.
“The Waterloo South plans have been sold as an increase in social housing, but in reality they will see the City’s largest public housing estate go from 100% public housing – which it is now – to 30% or less public housing.
“It is beyond disappointing that we have seen the continuation of many Liberal projects to demolish and privatise inner city public housing – not just in Waterloo, but in Glebe and Erskineville.
“The maths simply doesn’t stack up that we need to privatise so much public land to upgrade public housing. The decision to rezone and privatise public land worth billions of dollars need to be the subject of public scrutiny,” said Deputy Lord Mayor Ellsmore.
The Greens are calling on the NSW Labor Government to go further than their announced extension of temporary accommodation from 2 days to 7 days, and remove the cap entirely, to keep people safe and work towards ending homelessness.
Jenny Leong, Member for Newtown and Greens Spokesperson for Housing and Homelessness said:
“The Greens are calling for the limit on temporary accommodation to be scrapped, it would be near impossible for anyone to find long-term, secure housing in just 7 days - let alone people experiencing crisis.
“Extending the limit on temporary accommodation by just 5 days when the public housing waiting list in some areas is 10+ years, there is a dire shortage of transitional housing options, and affordable rentals in the private housing market are non-existent, is not enough.
“Any limit on temporary accommodation fails to put vulnerable people’s needs first - it is not a stable solution and means too many people will be forced back into unsafe situations.
“The limits on temporary accommodation need to be scrapped entirely, alongside a massive investment in specialist support services, so we can move to a Housing First approach in NSW that will end homelessness and keep people safe.
“Temporary accommodation should only end when someone is at the point of securing safe, affordable, ongoing housing.”
Abigail Boyd, Greens Spokesperson for Gendered Violence and Abuse said:
“We are in the middle of a housing and cost of living crisis. It’s almost impossible to find permanent accommodation, be approved and move somewhere within a week. It’s not just an unrealistic expectation, it's a dangerous one.
“Limiting crisis accommodation is one of the largest obstacles to escaping violence. The 7-day period is still 3 weeks short of the period that experts in the DFV sector have been calling for as their minimum ask, for years now.
“This government is still asking victim-survivors, at a time when we know they are at the most risk of harm, to scramble to secure accommodation within a week.
"We had expected this new Labor government to make tackling the domestic violence crisis in our state a far higher priority. They know the stories, they know the evidence, it's time they act on it.”
The Greens are calling on the NSW Government to take immediate action on the pervasive use of third party rental services.
Greens MP and Housing Spokesperson Jenny Leong said:
“Renters need urgent protections from third party services who are preying on and profiting off the housing crisis.
“Reports today that third party rental services could be actively facilitating rent bidding, and contributing to the soaring cost of rent, are deeply disturbing.
“And we know from the countless stories from renters in our community that these third party services regularly try to sell additional, and unnecessary, services like background checks to profit off renters desperation.
“Alarm bells should be ringing that these third party services have an immense amount of power, and an immense amount of personal information.
“Too often renters are given no choice but to hand over huge amounts of personal information, dating back years, to these services just to be considered for a rental property.
“Renting in NSW is stressful enough, without the added - and very legitimate – fears around personal information that recent high profile data breaches have exposed.
“The NSW Government needs to step in and take immediate action to review, regulate and provide much needed oversight to the pervasive use of third party rental services.
“We need to ban rent bidding, stop intrusive rental applications, and massively strengthen renters' data protections.”
Name of Bill: Residential Tenancies Amendment (Prohibiting No Grounds Evictions) Bill 2022
Introduced by: Jenny Leong MP, Greens Housing Spokesperson
Date of second reading speech in Parliament: 13 October 2022
Residential Tenancies Amendment (Prohibiting No Grounds Evictions) Bill 2022
Jenny Leong MP has introduced a bill to NSW Parliament to end no grounds evictions and set out the reasonable grounds by which an eviction can occur to tackle the escalating rental crisis.
One of the biggest issues for renters in NSW is a lack of stability. While rental laws in other countries have been set up to provide long term security for tenants, in NSW many renters don't know where they'll be living from year to year.
Currently at the end of a rental agreement, which are usually for just six or twelve months, a landlord can tell a tenant that they have to move out of their home without providing any reason, even if the tenant has met all of their responsibilities and paid the rent on time.
Data released by the Tenants Union in February 2022 estimates that evictions cost the average renter more than $4,000 and up to 30% of renters will face an eviction, through no fault of their own. NCAT data for 2021-22 shows that in the private rental market, landlords make 70% of applications to NCAT including eviction claims against tenants.
Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania have all moved to end no grounds evictions including. The UK Conservative Party pledged to end “no-fault” evictions in 2019.
Residential Tenancies Amendment (Prohibiting No Grounds Evictions) Bill 2022
The Greens bill sets out the grounds by which a lease can be terminated as:
- The landlord, or close family member or the landlord, intends to live in the property for more than 12 months;
- The landlord intends to carry out renovations or repairs that will make the property uninhabitable for a period of more than 4 weeks and all necessary permits/approvals have been acquired;
- The premises will be used in a way, or kept in a state, that it cannot be used as a residence for at least 6 months;
- Other grounds prescribed by regulations set out by the Minister.
The bill would also empower the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to compensate tenants if a landlord breaches the grounds of an eviction, including:
- Directing the landlord to use the property as per the grounds set out in the eviction; and/or
- Reinstating a Residential Tenancies Agreement to tenants wrongfully evicted; and/or
- Paying compensation to a tenant to cover the costs associated with a wrongful eviction.
Renters are being hit with massive rent costs, unfair eviction notices and bearing the brunt of the housing crisis.
While landlords and investors continue to get special treatment and profit off the housing crisis - more and more renters are being forced to choose between rent they can’t afford or face eviction.
But it doesn’t have to be this way - people who rent deserve stability, decent living conditions, and affordable rent.
The Greens are committed to cutting rents, ending unfair, no grounds evictions, and fixing the rental crisis. We need politicians to stop sitting on their hands and listen to the renters in their community.
Will you take 5 minutes to share your experience renting so we can show politicians the real stories behind the rental crisis?
If you are currently dealing with an eviction, rental increase, or other rental issue and need advice, please get in touch with your local Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service for support: https://www.tenants.org.au/tu/about/contactsTake the survey
Name of Bill: Residential Tenancies Amendment (Tenant Protections and Flood Response) Bill 2022
Introduced by: Jenny Leong MP, Greens Housing Spokesperson
Date of second reading speech in Parliament: 24 March 2022
Residential Tenancies Amendment (Tenant Protections and Flood Response) Bill 2022
NSW is experiencing a well documented housing crisis which has made housing affordability a key issue for a high percentage of renters in NSW. This situation has been exacerbated in the wake of the devastating floods in NSW which have impacted thousands of people who need specific protections at this time to avoid homelessness and/or extreme financial stress.
This Bill seeks to amend the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 to provide:
- increased protections for tenants generally across NSW
- additional specific protections for tenants in NSW flood impacted areas
This Bill addresses crucial issues faced by renters in NSW in light of the housing affordability crisis and social housing deficit in the form of protection from unfair evictions and rent caps. It also addresses minimum rental standards so that renters are protected from living in conditions which are detrimental to their health by inserting mould and waterproofing ‘fit for habitation’ requirements.
Specific Measures for Flood Impacted Areas
The following protections for renters in flood impacted areas will apply for 12 months after this Bill is enacted:
- Evictions Ban: Tenants in areas which have been declared flood impacted will be protected from evictions unless the property is uninhabitable or the property ceases to be able to be used as a residence.
- Cap on Rents: Existing rents will be unable to be increased during this period. New leases and leases on new rental properties will also be limited and must be in line with the median rent for the same type of property prior to Feb 25th 2022.
Increased Tenant Protections across NSW
- Mould and Damp Free: Landlords for residential premises will be required to ensure that the premises are ‘free of mould’ and have adequate ‘waterproofing’, in addition to existing plumbing and drainage as a determination of ‘fit for habitation’.
- End No Grounds Evictions: Puts an end to unfair evictions. Tenants will only be able to be evicted under a specific set of circumstances. Guidance to the Tribunal is also inserted to prevent retaliatory evictions.
- Limiting Rent Increases: Rent increases will be restricted to a maximum of once per year and only in line with either the public sector wage increase or the CPI for Sydney, whichever is lesser.
The Greens are calling on the NSW Government to take immediate steps to support renters who are impacted by the catastrophic floods throughout NSW.
Greens Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith MP has joined with NSW Greens Housing spokesperson, Jenny Leong MP to call for immediate action to support renters in this crisis and through the recovery period from these devastating floods – including bond vouchers, a freeze on rent increases, and a ban on evictions.
Jenny Leong MP, Member for Newtown and NSW Greens spokesperson on Housing and Homelessness has slammed the NSW Liberal/National Government’s 2021 budget which demonstrates they have no plan to end the housing and homelessness crisis for people across NSW even though they have the money and the solutions to do so.
“Today the NSW Liberal Treasurer said it was his job to imagine a ‘better future for everyone’, and yet there is no vision in this budget for a better future for those suffering housing stress, languishing on the public housing waiting list or seeking to find affordable places to live.
“Yet again, the NSW Liberal National Coalition has made a choice to ignore the massive, and ever-growing, housing inequality in this state by instead choosing to announce some small scale measures and spin them as a good news story.Read more
Greens Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP has condemned the Liberal/National Governments ongoing privatisation agenda -particularly in regards to public housing.Read more
Greens Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP has raised her serious concerns about the NSW Housing Strategy.