What lessons can be drawn from institutional change in private rental sectors (PRSs) internationally which could enhance the equity, efficiency and effectiveness of the sector in Australia, particularly to improve outcomes for low-income tenants?
Key Research Findings
The growth of private rental housing in Australia is important across a range of policy areas, from the administration of housing assistance, to consumer protection, to macroeconomic policy.
This report provides a resource for considering policy settings and institutions relevant to the Australian private rental sector (PRS) by drawing on the international experience of 10 countries in Australasia, Europe and North America.
The report takes a ‘system-embedded’ approach to comparative housing analysis through interrogating the international experience of housing and impact of broader economic systems, financial settings, landlord and tenancy structures and regulation in the reference countries.
It is not the case that ‘everyone in Europe rents’. Most of the European countries surveyed have higher rates of home ownership than Australia. In 9 of the 10 countries including Australia, the PRS is the second largest tenure after owner occupation. In seven countries, the PRS is growing.
Australia’s PRS stands out in international comparisons for being less differentiated from the wider housing system in terms of its built form, household types and incomes. This suggests a high degree of integration between the Australian PRS and owner-occupier sectors, which is significant for policymaking.
Finance policy and market settings have undergone remarkable change before and after the global financial crisis (GFC). Particularly in countries that experienced a housing crash, finance settings have driven rapid change in PRS institutions, often without guidance from conventional housing policy objectives.