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NSW 2023 State Election – I Rent and I Vote

The upcoming election has renters in the hot seats, especially in marginal seats in Sydney’s west. Closer to home, voters in the over 92,000 renting households in the seats of Sydney, Newtown, Balmain and Heffron have a lot at stake. This includes the nearly 9,500 social housing households, many facing disruption and dislocation; the 5,000 or so households waiting up to 10 years for social housing; or the average renting household living with the harsh reality of a tenancy system that is tipped against them.

While NSW Labor and Liberals have offered the usual politically attractive (though largely self-defeating) first-home buyer offers, neither has announced any large commitment to reverse the decade-long reduction in the state’s social housing safety net – now languishing at well below 5 per cent of total housing.

Shelter NSW calls on all renters and anyone who cares about equity, fairness and inclusive growth to critically assess the housing and homelessness commitments being made.

Here is a range of notable housing and homelessness commitments announced so far.

1. Rental stability and security – removing No Grounds Evictions: supported by Labor and Greens.

2. Rental affordability

Labor: allow rental bonds to be transferred directly to another property reducing the financial burden. Greens support.

Ending rent bidding and unfair rent increases.
Libera
l: in December 2022, the NSW Government outlawed the practice of solicited rent bidding. But prospective tenants can still make offers. • Labor made a subsequent commitment to tackle this by improving transparency. • Greens: introduce an immediate rent freeze.

3. Making it easier to own pets in rental homes: supported by Labor and Greens.

4. Improved enforceable minimum standards in rental dwellings including energy-efficiency standards: supported by Greens.

5. Grow the stock of social and affordable housing

Labor: mandatory requirement for 30 per cent of all homes on surplus government land to be set aside for social, affordable and universal housing; deliver more affordable rental housing in regional areas. • Liberal: notes that it has already commenced doing this around transport sites. • Greens: ban the sale of public housing and land that can be used for housing; require 30 per cent affordable housing in all new large private residential developments and legislate a target of 10 per cent of all housing to be public and not-for-profit community housing.

Other notable housing policy commitments

Liberal: Develop enforceable guidelines to better protect renters’ data privacy. • Shared Equity home ownership program for specific cohorts. NSW Government would contribute a proportion of the purchase price of a property in exchange for an equivalent interest in the property. • Domestic Violence victims support: interest-free rental bond loans and access to other first home buyer schemes.

Labor: Creation of a Rental Commissioner to be an “advocate and voice for renters” and Homes NSW to bring social housing construction, maintenance and tenant management under the same roof.

Greens: Increase regulation of the short-term rental accommodation market and introduce a 5 per cent empty homes (over 6 months) levy.  

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