Australians are renting for longer and often permanently as home ownership grows out of reach for generations of working and middle-class Australians, and the national supply of affordable housing remains inadequate. As a nation, we need to carefully consider the implications which will result from a permanent shift in the ratio of renters to homeowners, including intergenerational equity considerations.
Australia should not give up on home ownership, but we can make renting better. As it stands, Australians are covered by a patchwork set of state and territory government laws covering the rights and responsibilities of people renting privately. Insecurity of tenure, sudden hikes in rent payments, and unjust bonds – a security deposit paid at the start of the tenancy – rank among the common complaints of renters.
Drawing upon local and international housing trends and regulatory frameworks, this report outlines six practical policy recommendations to ensure Australia remains a country where renting privately remains a dignified, secure, and just form of housing oneself and one’s loved ones. The report includes a holistic set of concrete proposals for immediate government action on housing affordability with a view to addressing long-run systemic policy failings.