Few measures in budget to help renters

Few measures in budget to help renters
Few measures in budget to help renters

Treasurer Scott Morrison had said before the budget that it would be a budget that remembers the renter, but very little was said during its presentation on May 9 except that the government was working with state and territory governments to “standardise use of long-term leases”.

It said the measure would provide “more security for renters”. 

But in practice, there is no increase in rent assistance to help low-income renters in the private rental market.

For the majority of Australia’s renters, housing will remain unaffordable, insecure and out of reach, according to Emma Power, a senior Research Fellow at Western Sydney University.

Morrison had said before the budget that, “You have got to remember that over 30% of Australians actually live in homes that are rented, and when people are finding it hard to get into the housing market that puts a lot more pressure on the rental market.”

Affordable housing has an important place in the housing system. However, below-market rents in central, work-rich regions are still extremely high and out of reach for many.

Of more concern, it is unlikely that many of these lower-income workers would be able to maintain their high rents at retirement. This generates two risks:

  • that the renter is evicted and forced to find housing on the private market, which puts them at high risk of homelessness
  • that the housing provider continues their commitment to house the tenant securely once their income drops, so the risk here is to the housing provider’s bottom line.

They will face a loss of income, as they drop rents from 80 percent of market value to around 30 percent of the retired person’s pension. 

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