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Tenancy skills program honoured for strengthening rental relationships

By Juliet Helmke
26 March 2024 | 10 minute read
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At Western Australia’s Consumer Protection Awards, an innovative project to improve rental outcomes for people with disabilities has received a well-deserved recognition.

The Building Tenancy Skills project was honoured as the recipient of the Richard (Dick) Fletcher Award, which is given to a local government authority, non-government organisation or group for their work in improving consumer outcomes to a given sector.

It’s the second award the project, which was established in 2021, received recently, having been recognised in the Australasian Housing Institute’s Tenant Led Initiative award in 2023.


Borne out of a recognition that many tenancy services offer only mainstream support with issues relating to legal advice, advocacy, financial counselling and assistance with arrears – and that people with disability are more likely to experience issues during events such as rental inspections – the program offers both in-person workshops and online resources to provide skills training for individuals with disabilities navigating rentals.

Online resources in the form of videos can be accessed by people across Australia, and include presenters with real-life experiences providing tips and techniques for communicating with property managers or housing providers, navigating rental arrears and preparing for rental inspections.

Fact sheets that are available to download or in audio format also provide information on rights and responsibilities, such as making changes to the home and when a landlord is allowed to enter a property.

The workshop, meanwhile, has now been delivered to more than 30 groups throughout Western Australia, with one participant stating they came out of the event feeling empowered “through engagement with people who have lived experience of the issues I’m facing as a tenant and the sharing of recommendations for tools and services to assist me in self-advocacy”.

Supported by Shelter WA and People with Disabilities WA, the program was co-designed with Circle Green, the Financial Counsellors Association of Western Australia, Consumer Protection, Developmental Disability WA and the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.

On announcing the winners of the 2024 awards, Western Australian Commerce Minister Sue Ellery commented that all the nominees and recipients left Western Australian communities “better off thanks to their hard work”.

Many Western Australians will have benefited from the dedication of this year’s outstanding group of winners and finalists towards protecting their interests,” Ellery added.


Juliet Helmke

Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.

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