We're hiring a build to rent organiser!

Better Renting is piloting a project to develop autonomous tenant unions in two build-to-rent apartments in Canberra: Marquee in Amaroo and Times Square in Gungahlin. As renters in each apartment share the same corporate landlord, there is a great opportunity to build collective power. 

We are looking for an organiser to work with renters in these apartments to begin building power and using this to improve their renting conditions. This will be a people-focused role where you’ll be doing lots of 1-1 conversations with renters, talking with them about their issues, and encouraging them to sign up as a dues-paying member of a growing tenant union.

  • Classification: Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Award, level 3.4 to 4.4, depending on experience. Better Renting pays above award rates equivalent to an annual salary of $83,320 to $96,430, pro-rata. Hourly pay rate of $42.05 to $48.67 per hour. The award includes leave loading of 17.5%. Salary packaging/fringe benefits available.
  • Location: Applicants must be based in Canberra, preferably with a connection to the Gungahlin area.
  • Time commitment: From 0.4 FTE (15 hours weekly) up to 0.8 FTE (30 hours weekly).
  • Probation period: Two to three months, depending on contract length.
  • Position length: Three to six months, depending on weekly time commitment.
  • Applications due: The last day to apply is Sunday 14 July.

(If you aren't interested in the role but you live in these apartments, please get in touch!)

About Better Renting

Better Renting is a community of renters working together for stable, affordable, and healthy homes. With more Australians locked out of homeownership, more of us are renting, and renting for longer. But renters are denied the rights and protections of homeowners. We can't all own a house — but we should all be able to rent a home. Renting can be a genuine alternative to ownership — and Better Renting exists to make it happen.

You can learn more about us from our Impact Reports from 2021-22 (https://www.betterrenting.org.au/better_renting_impact_report_2021_2022) and 2018-2020 (https://www.betterrenting.org.au/impact_report)

What we’re up to 

Key issues for Better Renting are:

  • Pushing for minimum energy performance standards for rental homes, so renters aren’t freezing in winter and melting in summer;
  • Strengthening rental laws around evictions and rent increases; and
  • Pushing for broader housing system reforms to improve affordability and the position of renters. 

In the lead up to the next Federal Election we’re especially interesting in building the power of renters on the ground, finding and developing leaders across Australia who can help renters to influence politics and win the policies renters need to have stable, affordable, and healthy homes. 

This Organiser role is for a pilot project that connects with our interest in building the grassroots power of renters. We want to test a model of building an autonomous tenants union of dues-paying members, who live together in build-to-rent apartments and thus share the same corporate landlord. This is an emerging situation in Australia and thus a very exciting opportunity to pioneer methods that can have lasting impact. This work is inspired by the work of groups like ACORN UK, Crown Heights Tenants Union, and Housing Rights Committee San Francisco, which have done lots of work supporting autonomous tenant unions. 

The role will involve

Reaching renters in build-to-rent apartments. You’ll come up with methods to reach renters in two apartment buildings. This could include tactics like letterbox drops, stalls out the front, doorknocking, or other methods including digital outreach. 

One-on-one recruitment conversations. You’ll have one-on-one conversations with hundreds of renters and ask them to sign up to pay monthly dues as a member of their tenants’ union. This is a critical part of the role.

Supporting collective action. You’ll run events to bring renters together, deliver trainings and help build capacity, and then support members of the union to do their organising: identifying issues of shared concern and taking collective action to win change. 

Documenting lessons learned. This is a pilot project, so it’s very important we are keeping track of lessons learned in terms of what does, and doesn’t work. You’ll do regular verbal reflection, and we’d also want to see written documentation. 

What it’s like working here

For the right person, Better Renting is a great place to work. We want to help you determine if it’s right for  you.

You can read a bit here about our employee entitlements and conditions.

You can read a bit here about our team culture.

For the Build to Rent Organiser, things will be a bit different: you’ll be mostly out in the field working on a bounded project with less intersection with others in the team. But our values and principles will still be highly relevant, especially around accountability and ongoing learning and improvement. 

Selection criteria

We will be evaluating applicants on the following:

  • A good fit for the team. We’re proud of our team culture at Better Renting, and we want a team member who helps to strengthen it. Key things here are a commitment to reflection, an openness to give and receive feedback, and a hunger to learn.
  • Community Organising skills. This isn’t about project management: it’s about supporting renters to develop the skills to work with other renters to change things for the better. Can you motivate others to act, foster commitment in renter leaders, and encourage people to take on new and greater responsibilities? Ideally you’ll be able to point to demonstrated success in this area, or show how your existing skills and experience will serve you well here.
  • The ability to get stuff done working independently. A lot of the time you’ll be out in the field talking to renters on the ground in Gungahlin — nobody’s going to be looking over your shoulder. We’re looking for someone who can hold themselves accountable, and reflect on and improve their own work.
  • Passion for winning change for renters. You’ll probably enjoy the job more, and do it better, if you care about making things better for renters. We’ll want to hear what this role means to you and the passion you can bring. 

We encourage you to apply even if you don’t have all of the above characteristics. A passion for the work and an eagerness to learn are the most important things. 

Recruitment process

To apply for this role, please prepare a CV and a cover letter (1-2 pages) addressing the selection criteria. You can then submit them through this form. The deadline for applications is Sunday 14 July. 

In your cover letter, please avoid waffly language. Use specific details and examples, as much as possible, to demonstrate that you have the skills needed for the role. Please also indicate the weekly time commitment you propose for the role (ie, 15-30 hours per week). 

We aim to conduct interviews in the final week of July and make an offer by 16 August, hoping for a candidate to start before September. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected]

Better Renting is an equal-opportunity employer. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, LGBTQI people, and people with a disability are encouraged to apply.