Monday, January 31, 2011

The Sharia Law component of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010

I terminate thee, I terminate thee, I terminate thee

Under the new act, landlords still retain a unilateral right to evict tenants as per classical Sunni Sharia Divorce Law.

What, you may ask, does DH know abt Sharia law? Not much, but she found the subtleties on Wikipedia.

DH thought Western law was considered to be an advance on classical Sharia law, but there you go...


  • "No Grounds Terminations" by landlords terminated
  • Compensation for tenants who are terminated because a landlord wishes to speculate on the property, including the cost of removal, and compensation for stress, loss of work time, disruption of children's schooling, loss of accrued social capital (neighbourhood friendships)
  • Failing this, at the very least, a right by tenants to "No Grounds Termination" with no more penalty than landlords suffer
  • By amendment. ASAP!
  • Shut up, Sunshine,  and keep packing...


The Act is dead! Hail to the new Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

The point, however,  is to continuously improve it!

Today, 31st Jan 2011, the old Residential Tenancies act will be replaced by the 2010 Act

Overall, there are a lot of improvements for private tenants, and DH refers you to an excellent wrap at the Tenant Union's blog The Brown Couch

The good bits include:
  • regulation of tenant databases (those evil repositories of haphazard misinformation that shafted you the way credit rating databases can, but without half the transparency)
  • protection of tenancies in some cases where domestiv violence is an issue
  • better protection for tenants in share-housing arrangements
  • fee-free’ options for paying rent (can you believe landlords had the option of making you pay to be able to pay your rent.)
  • longer notice periods for ‘no-grounds’ termination notices...
    which bring us to the bad bits....

The BAAAAAD bits

Like, how on earth, in a country like Australia, can landlords decide on a whim, to force you to move at any time it suits them??? And yet not so much as pay for your removal costs, not to mention compensation for time lost at work, stress, interruptions to your children's education, loss of social capital (that's "friendly neighbours", but sounds impressive if filing a complaint to anyone who will listen)

For factsheets explaining your rights as a tenant, see If you run into trouble, contact your local Tenants Advice & Advocacy Service (details also at

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy {Invasion/Australia} Day, Girtrude!

 By all means, rejoice, Girtrude, if you:

  • are young (and preferably slim)
  • free (at least outside business hours and on weekends)
  • can afford a plot of golden soil
  • earn at least minimum award rate wealth for your toil
  • own your own mining conglomerate

That's if you're not an Aboriginal mourning Invasion Day, or one of the 5% of Aussies who can't find toil no matter how often they rewrite their resumes, or how many Cert IV's and Statements of Attainment they achieve  

Of crse, some who rejoice on
Australia Day are yet to hear
the bad news..

This includes people over 50, disabled people, people with borderline mental illnesses or intellectual disabilities who are not defined as disabled, trying to live on $235 a week for a single person.   
Bad luck too for the 1 in 10 Australians below the poverty line, that's 2 million Aussies, baby!

Not even going to bore you again with the depressing stats on homelessness in "The Lucky Country". See previous post 

PS. For those of you who come by sea, sorry, we appear to have run out of boundless plains...Please refer to the Minister for Sustainability for further instructions

But seriously, we are all blessed with a beautiful country, so  let's work together to make Australia Truly Fair!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bottom-line: Wishing housing tragics a Grin-and-Bear-It New Year

Be happy if you can, but it would seem excessively chirpy for DH to be skipping around wishing a Happy Smiley New Year to the: 

  • 1,100,000 Australian families in housing stress (ie paying more than 1/3 of gross income on housing)
  • 100,000 homeless
  • 175,000 on public housing waiting lists
  • 49,000 on community housing waiting lists
  • 10,000 on Aboriginal housing waiting lists *
Credit should be given to Federal Labor during Tanya Plibersek's tenure as Housing Minister, for their attempts to reverse the housing neglect of the Howard years.

Unfortunately you can't reverse 10 years' neglect in one.  But Labor has given it a game effort via the National Rental Affordability Scheme, which subsidises developers prepared to offer homes at 20% below market rent. 

And they have committed $5.6 billion to the Nation Building Stimulus Plan (Housing) which is expected to deliver 19,600 new homes, of which 10,000 were completed by Xmas 2010.

So a big HAPPY NEW YEAR to the 10,000 lucky ones, and chin up to the rest!

The stimulus tsunami has rolled over, start bailing...

Credit should also go to Housing NSW for turning around on a pinhead, and pushing through the Federal government's stringent and high pressure, use-it-or-lose-it demands. It's been a tough year and you can't entirely blame nimbyism for opposition to construction without time for prior consultation.

* The data refers to all Australia, rounded to the nearest 1,000, cited in Shelter NSW Housing Australia fact sheet. Based on the 2006 census or later depending on availability. Check the link for accurate years.