Cooling the rental scene
By TOBY WALKER
A TRAINING course designed to teach prospective tenants how to manage a successful relationship with their landlord or rental agent might seem bizarre to some.
Most people are assumed to be good tenants while the bad tenants who leave bills unpaid and destroy property are eventually evicted before they cost their landlords too much.
But it's not that simple according to Anglicare North Coast executive director Wayne Johnson who believes many people need help in their approach to the tenant-landlord relationship.
In fact, as Mr Johnson was conducting this interview with The Daily Examiner one of his clients arrived on his doorstep looking for accommodation after having a recent housing application turned down.
"What we've discovered is that while many people are quite willing to conduct themselves as good tenants, they don't necessarily know how," he said.
"Say someone who is a victim of domestic violence, just separated from a relationship and has never rented in their own right before.
"They come across all sorts of barriers and it can be as simple as a real estate agent asking for a reference.
"Or they may be declined a tenancy because their former partner was destructive and for that reason they got a bad name."
Rather than being tied into a black and white scenario of eligibility, Mr Johnson said prospective tenants needed to know what their rights were ? and that their relationship with a landlord or agent did not need to adversarial.
With this in mind, Mr Johnson organised a forum two months ago and approached landlords and agents, asking them what they expected of tenants.
Then, with the assistance of Grafton's North Coast Institute of TAFE, Mr Johnson devised a training course that could educate people on how to improve the quality of their rental relationship.
Last Friday night Mr Johnson presented the second forum to landlords and agents at the Grafton TAFE campus to show them what he had come up with.
He hopes the course can be up and running by July.
If it proves to be a success, he would like to see its framework adopted for similar classes in Coffs Harbour and beyond.