Our election platform mantra was I Rent and I Vote – with one of our five key asks being that we Support Renters and Renting. The reform agenda of the new NSW Government is critically important to the one third of people in NSW who live in private tenancies and, we would argue, to the long-term liveability and viability of the state.
The most significant of the promised reforms, in terms of their enduring and positive impact, in our view, are the removal of No Grounds Evictions and the appointment of a Rental Commissioner. We note that the Government has already commenced the process for appointing the latter. We commend the Government for this, as a newly appointed and well-supported Rental Commissioner will provide the type of leadership and advice that will be required through the various waves of reforms.
But as our Senior Policy Officer Cathy Callaghan noted in this Sydney Morning Herald article in April while the removal of No Grounds Evictions would “take some heat out of the market”, NSW has very few mechanisms for “keeping a lid on what seems to be some pretty outrageous (rent) increases”. She pointed to the rental cap policy implemented in the ACT, which limits rent increases to 110 per cent of inflation as measured by the consumer price index, as being a reasonable approach for NSW to consider.
Renters in NSW are facing an unprecedented squeeze due to rising rents and limited housing supply. Image credit: Ben Rushton via Sydney Morning Herald
For more information about the various rent-setting approaches across Australia check out this really useful piece by the Better Renting campaign about rent setting practices across the States and Territories. For a global perspective see these pieces on places like San Franciso and Ireland.