50 percent of Aussie renters reporting discrimination by landlords

50 percent of Aussie renters reporting discrimination by landlords
50 percent of Aussie renters reporting discrimination by landlords

CHOICE, the National Association of Tenant Organisations and National Shelter are calling for governments to prioritise rental security and quality issues, not just housing affordability, as a national study reveals widespread fear and discrimination faced by thousands of Australians.

“Governments across Australia are rightly focused on the issue of housing affordability. Affordability is extremely important to renters.

But it can’t be addressed without also looking at the quality and security of housing.” said Adrian Pisarski, National Shelter’s Executive Officer.

“It’s hard to imagine a product or service this poor in any other sector. As consumers of rental properties, tenants have to deal with major quality issues like mould or flooding and are systematically denied access to a timely remedy,” said Alan Kirkland, CHOICE CEO.

“Worryingly, we found that renters with more experience in the market were less likely to complain when something goes wrong which illustrates the entrenched culture of fear among renters.

This is all the more of a concern when you consider the rising number of long-term renters across Australia,” said Ned Cutcher, National Association of Tenant Organisations spokesperson.

Key findings

- 83 percent of renters in Australia have no fixed-term lease or are on a lease less than 12 months long

- 62 percent of people say they feel like they can’t ask for changes

- 50 percent of renters report experiencing discrimination when applying for a rental property

- 50 percent of renters worried about being listed on a residential tenancy database

- 20 percent of renters have experienced leaking, flooding and issues with mould

- 8 percent of renters are living in a property in need of urgent repairs

“For Australians who don't own a home, renting should be a secure and affordable option free of fear and discrimination.

Unfortunately, the research reveals a significant power imbalance between tenants and landlords, leading to a culture of fear that means many renters stay silent when something goes wrong.

It’s deeply concerning that common features of everyday life like having children, receiving a government payment or owning a pet can be major barriers for renters trying to find a home,” according to Alan Kirkland.

“All too often, we hear that people are reluctant to complain to agents or landlords because they’re worried about rent increases or eviction.

This research shows that this fear is widespread with 50% of renters worried about being listed on a so-called bad tenant database.

When people do raise an issue with a property, landlords and agents can really drag their feet before they fix the problem with 21% of renters waiting over a week to get a response about an urgent repair request,” Ned Cutcher says.

“Tenants are often the last group to be asked about the housing challenges Australia faces.

This research has tenants talking about their experiences of the system in a way that’s not often considered in debates about housing.

Renters face constant insecurity, 83 percent are without a fixed-term lease or are on a lease less than 12 months long.

As more Australians enter the rental market, we need a national plan to boost supply, especially for low-income households, whilst also addressing security, rights and amenity,” Adrian Pisarski commented.

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Renters Choice Homes

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