Lucy* was 15 years old when she moved in with her former partner to a rental in regional North-Western NSW. At the time she was pregnant, and her partner was abusive. Lucy attempted to end the tenancy using a domestic violence termination notice, however the real estate agent refused to accept it. The agent took Lucy’s bond, and listed her – 16 years of age at the time – on a tenancy database as a ‘bad tenant’.
New England and Western NSW Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service (NEWTAAS) assisted Lucy to take her landlord to the Tribunal, where she won and the landlord was ordered to return Lucy’s bond. However, several weeks later the landlord was yet to do so.
KerryAnn, Coordinator of NEWTAAS:
“The agent found it easier to go after her than the perpetrator because they saw her as more vulnerable, a softer target. She’s a 16-year-old doing the best she can in difficult circumstances.
“We’re seeing rent increases in the area of up to 60% across a 12-month period, meanwhile incomes in our region are significantly lower than in Sydney. Rents are going up up up, but incomes aren’t and the margin is getting tighter and tighter. In our small towns – and even in larger regional towns – there really isn’t access to public transport, and there isn’t really that bottom sector, lower cost affordable housing anywhere in the region. She really, really needs this money.”