Despite the perception that Australia's private rental market serves principally as a short-term transitional housing tenure, 40 per cent of households in this sector have rented for longer than ten years. This paper enlarges the housing career concept by proposing two types of long-term private renters: continuals (always rented since leaving the parental home) and returners (rented, purchased home, rented again). By using the multivariate statistical technique, CHAID, the analysis demonstrates that continuals and returners form ten distinct renter segments, defined largely by differences in age, marital status, source of income and household income. In the main, continual segments feature renters in the 30–44 year age group, not yet married or, if married (or formerly married), reliant on social security payments. In contrast, most returners earn private incomes, and tend to be older than the continuals (generally over 45 years). The segment most strongly associated with returning to rental housing exhibits the highest household income level, prompting speculation that some households may choose renting over ownership. The analysis further reveals that continual longterm renters encounter a disproportionate share of housing difficulties, including high rents, poor affordability and excessive residential upheaval.