Decent not dodgy: secret shopper survey on the quality of Victoria's rental housing

Public health Housing Community housing Rental housing Public housing Social housing Australia Victoria
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Victoria lacks basic standards for rental properties. This makes it legal for exploitative landlords to rent out properties with no heating, cooking facilities or hot water.

Properties can even have holes in the roof or other major structural problems that make them potentially dangerous to live in. Old and faulty appliances like heaters and hot water services mean some renters face expensive energy and water bills which they are powerless to reduce.

To find out more about the quality of rental properties in Victoria, VCOSS surveyed 116 properties on the rental market across metropolitan Melbourne and Geelong. While the majority of these properties met basic standards proposed by VCOSS, 12 per cent were uninhabitable, featuring two or more of the following: extensive mould, no heating, lack of electrical safety switch, and gaps in the walls and roof. Overall, 10 per cent of properties surveyed lacked heating, 19 per cent had visible and extensive mould, 10 per cent had holes in the ceiling, walls or floor, and 33 per cent did not have an electrical safety switch.

The fact that these properties, which would pose a risk to the health and safety of Victorians, were available to rent is a testament to the failure of the rental market to provide housing that is adequate for low income households.

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