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Australian Renters Yell For Change!

Last Thursday CHOICE, the National Association of Tenants’ Organisations (NATO) and National Shelter called for governments to prioritise rental security and quality issues, not just housing affordability. This followed the release of Unsettled, Life in Australia’s Private  Rental Market, the results of a national survey by the same groups, in which widespread fear and discrimination was reported by thousands of Australians.

Key findings from Unsettled were:

  • 83% of renters in Australia have no fixed-term lease or are on a lease less than 12 months long
  • 62% of people say they feel like they can’t ask for changes
  • 50% of renters report experiencing discrimination when applying for a rental property
  • 50% of renters worried about being listed on a residential tenancy database
  • 20% renters experiencing leaking, flooding and issues with mould
  • 8% of renters are living in a property in need of urgent repairs

For those who rent, this was no surprise but media across the country picked up the story with coverage on national and local radio, online print (the Conversation, ABConline), ABC’s Hack (at 30 secs) on Triple J and Channel Ten’s the Project, just to name a few.

Choice put out the hashtag #RentinOz and Twitter went off, resulting in the top Twitter trend for the day! It was filled with story after story of renters facing discrimination, poor quality stock and the lack of tenure security. If you haven’t seen it, check it out.

Following the extraordinarily loud calls from Queensland tenants of ‘Not fair!‘, on Friday Queensland Housing Minister, Mick de Brenni, released his own press statement and said:

‘It’s clear we need to reform rental arrangement in Queensland to create a level playing field for the sector while balancing the rights or tenants and property management/owners’

We are considering a variety of measures to ensure Queenslanders have confidence in a fair rental sector, including greater flexibility of tenure, cheaper rent options, greater ability to respond to tenant breaches and more freedom for tenants to treat the property as their home’.

The Minister is currently developing a 10-year housing strategy, ‘to support our aims to provide safe, secure and affordable housing options for all Queenslanders’ and which will include reforms to the state’s tenancy laws. Consultations closed last year and the strategy is expected to be released in the next few months. We’ll keep you posted!

Read Tenants Queensland’s Response to the Housing Strategy Discussion outlining our reform proposals. Tenants Queensland is a member of NATO.