Rent jump has Tenants Union of Victoria asking for rent assistance increase

The Tenants Union of Victoria (TUV) says that there is an ongoing affordability crisis facing low income tenants, as demonstrated in the latest Report on Government Services. As a result, they have said that the Commonwealth Rent Assistance should be increased.

Currently, this assistance is provided to those receiving Centrelink payments – around 1.3 million renters in 2013.

Of those receiving this assistance, 40% remain in ‘housing stress’, notes the report. This definition is based on spending 30% or more of income on housing costs. Without the assistance, this number would rise to 67% in stress.

In Victoria, over 38% suffer from ‘housing stress’, and within Melbourne this figure sits at 43%.

Policy and liaison worker, James Bennett, from the TUV, said that housing is the largest single cost for most people on low incomes, and without this assistance many would be struggling or homeless.

“Rents everywhere keep increasing and the proportion of people eligible for the maximum rate of CRA keeps rising. The TUV believes CRA should be increased then indexed to keep pace with median rents,” he said.

“CRA is a large expenditure for the Federal Government, around $3.6 billion annually, that will undoubtedly come under scrutiny from the Commission of Audit and the upcoming Welfare Review. We urge these bodies to focus on the value CRA delivers, not just the cost. Any reduction in CRA will place a greater burden on other parts of the system.”

Property Observer recently reported on a new not-for-profit real estate agency opening in Victoria, the first of its kind. It is set to launch later this year as a result of many of these same issues, under the name 'HomeGround'.

jduke@propertyobserver.com.au

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

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