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People with disabilities booted from rental homes at higher rates

Report finds higher incidence of "no-grounds" evictions for people with disabilities.

5 December 2018

New research from leading consumer and tenancy groups, CHOICE, National Shelter and the National Association of Tenant Organisations (NATO), has found that 16% of people with disabilities who rent have been served a no-grounds eviction compared to 9% of other Australians.

The research also finds that people with disabilities are 2.5 times more likely to have issues with inspections than the general renting population.

Thomas, a 51 year old from New South Wales shared his story for the report saying:

"Currently I have a hole in my bathroom ceiling where rain gets in when it rains hard, that hasn't been repaired for six years. The ceiling is mouldy, which they say is my responsibility. I complained of a hot water system leak, which they left until the floor swelled and the tiles broke and the cupboards softened. I had to stay at a friend's for two months while they repaired the kitchen. At a previous flat, termite damage was unrepaired for over a year, and then the rent was raised. When I complained,I was evicted with six weeks' notice."

Thomas is not available for further comment.

Dean Price, Senior Policy Officer from People with Disability Australia says the research mirrors experiences they've heard.

"This report clearly shows that people with disability in Australia need rental reform. People with disability who live in private rental are faced with discrimination and the threat of losing their home. People with disability fear 'no grounds' evictions with good reason – this report shows that this is more likely to happen to people with disability. This fear means that people with disability can find it hard to ask for essential repairs, adequate heating or cooling, or action on mould.

"People with disability need rental reform now so we can feel secure in our homes. PWDA join with CHOICE, National Shelter and NATO to call for action to stop people living in poor quality homes, to provide better security, and to address the cost of living pressures that are made worse by a lack of action on rental affordability."

The groups launched the report, DISRUPTED: The consumer experience of renting in Australia, 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
People with Disability Australia media contact: El Gibbs, elg@pwd.org.au, 0408 682 867

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

"A safe, secure and affordable home is important for all Australians, but even more so for people with disabilities. Australians have stronger consumer protections when we buy something from our local supermarket than when we spend tens of thousands of dollars renting a home. There are good landlords who are kind, compassionate and accommodating for people with disabilities – let's make that the standard."

"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."

Further comments from Dean Price, Senior Policy Officer at People with Disabilities Australia:

"The findings in this report show that more people with disability need to pay for removalists (58% compared to 46%), nearly twice the number of people with disability had experience a no-grounds eviction, and people with disability were 2.5 times more likely to have problems with inspections."

"Many people with disability can least afford rental increases or the cost to move house. When 17% of people with disability are living in poverty, and 38% of people living in poverty are people with disability, the insecure nature of renting creates huge problems for people with disability."