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Half of Australians who rent are in homes that need repairs – new report

Research from consumer and tenancy groups shows that Australians who rent fear eviction and rent rises.

5 December 2018

New research from leading consumer and tenancy groups (CHOICE, National Shelter and the National Association of Tenant Organisations (NATO)) shows that Australians who rent are living in fear of eviction and rent rises.

The report, DISRUPTED: The consumer experience of renting in Australia, surveyed Australians who rent and found:

  • 51% of people who rent are currently living in a home that needs repairs
  • 68% of Australians who rent are concerned that a request for repairs could mean a rent increase
  • 44% are concerned a request for repairs could get them evicted from their homes
  • Nearly 1 in 10 had previously been evicted "without grounds" and nearly 1 in 10 fear they'll be forced to leave their homes in the next 12 months.

Given the significant fears from Australians about retaliatory "no-grounds" evictions, the report calls for a nationwide ban on the practice:

"Banning no-grounds eviction across Australia would provide more secure housing for Australians who rent. Let's ensure Australians who rent have the security they need to create homes, build lives and raise families." (p19)

The groups launched the report at Parliament House in Canberra and encouraged Australians to share their experiences on social media with the #RentInOz hashtag.

Media contact: 
Jonathan Brown jbrown@choice.com.au 
CHOICE media line: 0430 172 669

Quotes attributable to Penny Carr, CEO of Tenants Queensland:

"Nearly half of the people who rent in Australia are afraid of eviction if they ask for a repair. That's not good enough. No-grounds evictions effectively render our other protections useless. You shouldn't be kicked out of your home because the person who rents it to you can't be bothered to provide basic maintenance and repairs. Shelter is too important for the livelihood of our families and loved ones – no-grounds evictions must be banned across Australia."

Quotes attributable to Adrian Pisarski, Executive Officer of National Shelter::

"This new research shows that there's a major problem with the quality of our homes. 51% of Australians who rent are living in homes that need repairs is unacceptable and we need leadership to turn this around. Property lobbyists fight reform every step of the way, but good regulation helps everyone. Let's support good landlords by bringing everyone up to their standard. We need a coordinated approach to rental standards, so we can make the relationship between people who rent and those who rent to us a positive one."

Quotes attributable to Erin Turner, Director of Campaigns and Communications at CHOICE:

"Australians have stronger consumer protections when they buy something from their local supermarket than when they spend tens of thousands of dollars renting a home. We've got families living with mould all over their homes and left waiting weeks for repairs – this simply isn't good enough. Under the Australian Consumer Law, Australians know that if we have a problem with something we buy, then we have the right to a repair, refund, or replacement. But when it comes to getting the most basic of our needs – shelter –Australians live in fear. It's time for consistent and fair laws that guarantee every Australian has a safe, secure and affordable home."

Other media releases about the report: