by Raveena Grover
The NSW Greens have proposed a new campaign to protect renters’ rights in NSW.
Greens senator Scott Ludlam and Greens candidates for Newtown and Balmain Jenny Leong and Jamie Parker held a press conference at Chippendale’s Central Park on February 5 to discuss their new local scheme.
The Greens’ initiative will provide a cap on rental increases in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), allow rent increases only once a year, and increase the security of tenure by ending the ability of landlords to evict tenants based on ‘no grounds.’
“What we have seen is massive increases [in rent], and if [The Greens’] plan had been in place 10 years ago in the Marrickville local government area, we would have seen rents reduced by $126 on average per week.” Ms Leong said.
Leong and Ludlam stated the inner city areas of Sydney have the worst affordability rates.
Ms Leong said that legal representatives of tenants are severely underfunded and hopes the rental cap will provide them with support.
Sandra Prakash, a landlord who owns properties in North West Sydney, said that the Greens’ campaign is only looking at one side of the story.
“They’ve got to look at both [sides],” Ms Prakash said. “There are some fair and equitable landlords, and it is the tenants who take them for a ride.”
Ms Prakash has owned properties in NSW for over 20 years.
Student renter in Annandale Monique Newberry said she hopes this campaign will provide more protection for young renters.
“It’s going to be so hard to one day ever own a place, so I’ll be renting probably for most of my life,” Ms Newberry said. “It can be pretty hard to rent as a young adult and some places can take advantage of that and this [campaign] makes me feel a lot less worried.”
Sydney renter Jayne Newton said she would like to settle in a community in the knowledge that with good tenancy she would be able to stay in the long term.
“The landlord was putting up my rent by 10% per year, even though we had a plumbing problem which caused our kitchen ceiling to collapse, another plumbing problem which took out our bathroom wall and an electrical fault which actually caused our walls to become live.” Ms Newton said.
“Even when there are faults in a property it can be easier for the landlord to end the lease than repair them, so you do really feel like you have to keep a low profile and not ruffle any feathers.”
Innercity Property Agents declined to comment, stating they were unable to discuss the issue at this stage.