Rental uncertainty and affordability troubling Australian renters

Rental uncertainty and affordability troubling Australian renters
Rental uncertainty and affordability troubling Australian renters

Private renters, particularly older and low-income households, say uncertainty over their leases and affordability pressures are a major issue in the private rental sector, according to a report released by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC).

Associate Professor Steven Rowley, from the School of Economics, Finance and Property at Curtin University and author of the one of the reports, said the Australian private rental sector appeared to be delivering quality and affordable housing for most renters, but was failing those on low incomes.

The report also found that for Australians aged 55 and over, 63% are paying more than 30% of their income on rent. 

However some positives were found with dwelling quality generally perceived as good, the relationship between the landlord and tenant often excellent and "strong feelings of home" in the sector.

Of the single parents surveyed, 36% felt they suffered discrimination when applying for a new rental property often having to apply for multiple rental properties before being successful.

"This same group was overwhelmingly the least likely to feel comfortable in their home once they found rental housing,” Rowley said.

These findings are in line with a second report also launched by the BCEC, which found older Australians reported facing a lack of tenure security despite 41% looking to sign long term leases and another 23% open to a lease extension if it was available.

That report which centered on assisting older WA renters was authored by Associate Professor Helen Hodgson, from the Curtin Law School.

“Our research found many older renters have only been in their current home for up to three years with 41% of older Australian renters forced to leave their previous rental property due to factors beyond their control,” Hodgson said. 

“This insecurity is exacerbated by a lack of affordable, and suitable, housing options for older renters, coupled with an inadequacy of the aged pension and Commonwealth Rent Assistance payments.”

Rental market Discrimination

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