This research reviews the evidence-base about factors impacting and shaping rental investment. It also reviews the state of residential tenancies laws across Australia, and presents options for a renewed reform agenda.

The regulation of the Australian private rental sector (PRS) directly affects about 40 per cent of Australian households: the 26 per cent who live in private rental housing as tenants, and the 14 per cent who own it as landlords. Reform of regulation of residential tenancies processes are underway or have recently concluded in different jurisdictions. These processes, however, have mostly been uncoordinated at a national level and significant divergences and gaps have opened up in the laws.

The research finds little evidence that Australian residential tenancies law has impacted investment in private rental housing. On the contrary, Australian residential tenancies law has accommodated, even facilitated, the long-term growth of the PRS and of its particular structure and dynamic character. However, the small-holding, frequently-transferring character of the PRS presents basic problems for tenants trying to make homes in it.

The research also presents a number of issues that could be considered as part of a national agenda for residential tenancy law reform.

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AHURI Final Report No.391