Energy is an essential service. As a community we urgently need policies and programs in place to ensure that all Australian people can afford the energy they need to have healthy and sustainable homes.
Private Rental Markets
“Disrupted; the consumer experience of renting in Australia”, is the second report commissioned by CHOICE, National Shelter, and the National Association of Tenant Organisations (NATO), that delves into the renting experiences of our country’s renters.
“Disrupted” reveals that there are three common issues facing renters across the nation:
living in a poor quality home and afraid to request repairs;
insecure tenancies; and
struggling with rental affordability and other cost of living pressures.
National Shelter supports the intent of the proposed Bill to provide an incentive for landlords to claim a tax offset against investment in energy efficiency upgrades. We note that this could include an as yet undefined set of energy efficiency measures.
National Shelter supports the Bill but would prefer a higher threshold in relation to “rental properties leased at $300 per week.”
The use of median market rents is not sufficiently fine grained to ensure this benefit is realised and will apply to very few properties in most capital city markets.
Jemima tells us of the experience of a tenant whom, after asking for her landlord to fix a serious black mould problem, was served with a no-grounds termination. Unfortunately this is not an isolated case. The Make Renting Fair campaign and the work of Choice clearly show that our tenancy laws are not keeping up with the realities to renting today. In the case of no-grounds terminations, this provides some landlords cover for retaliatory evictions when tenants ask for their legal rights to repairs and maintenance.
Rising household incomes have seen a slight improvement in rental affordability in NSW. At the same time significant jumps in housing costs in Hobart and relatively low households incomes in Tasmania has seen Hobart become Australia's most unaffordable city.
This brings no relief for low incomes households - Greater Sydney remains the most unaffordable city for households receiving a pension or on a Newstart allowance. Sydney is also unaffordable for hospitality workers and working households earning minimum wages.
Announcing the March 2014 release of the publication, The impact of Rent Assistance on housing affordability for low-income renters: New South Wales, jointly produced by Shelter NSW & the Welfare Rights Centre
This report draws on data on social-security recipients who get a Rent Assistance payment to profile lower-income households living in rental housing and to highlight the inadequacies to existing mechanisms to relieve housing stress.
With over two-thirds of low-income households not even on the waiting list for social housing, the supply of affordable private rental housing is crucial to meeting housing needs. In Shelter Brief 37, Shelter NSW staff member Craig Johnston has provided a summary of Commonwealth, State and local government measures to boost this supply.
Shelter Brief 28 was written by Robert Mowbray.
‘Rent assistance to private and community sector tenants’ was written by Craig Johnston.