Eviction and rent rises top renters’ concerns

Eviction and rent rises top renters’ concerns


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LOCKED OUT: Two in three women over 55 would not be able to afford a rental increase of 10 per cent. Photo: Samara Ross.

LOCKED OUT: Two in three women over 55 would not be able to afford a rental increase of 10 per cent. Photo: Samara Ross.

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Half of all renters are living in homes in need of repair.

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MOULD, insecure tenancies and a fear of rent rises are just some of the problems plaguing renters.

A new report released on Wednesday by consumer watchdog Choice with National Shelter and the National Association of Tenant Organisations (NATO) shows Australian renters are living in fear of eviction.

It found half of Australian renters surveyed are currently living in a home that needs repairs, with just over two thirds (68 per cent) concerned requesting them could mean a rent increase and 44 per cent fearing they will be evicted if they ask.

Mould is one of the biggest problems, with one in three renters reporting mould problems in their bathrooms. Another 33 per cent report leaking taps and shower heads.

Temperature control is another issue, with three in 10 renters unable to keep their homes at a comfortable temperature. This also a big financial impact thanks to higher power bills as people turn on heaters and air conditioners. In fact, four out of five renters surveyed were concerned about high energy bills.

There’s also the stress of instability. For many, moving house means moving away from support networks and familiar services, such as doctors, churches and community groups. 

Rental rises are also a major concern, with two out of five reporting they would be unable to afford an increase of 10 per cent.

Older women renters were particularly concerned. Two in three (66 per cent) women over 55 wouldn’t be able to afford a rise, compared to 39 per cent of the rest of the renters surveyed.

Western Sydney University academic Emma  Power said this is not an  uncommon experience. 

“Rent  increases  made  it  difficult  for  older  women  in  my  research  to  find  age  appropriate,  quality  housing  and  left  many  unable  to  afford  food  and  utilities,” Dr Power said.

“Women  described  running  out  their  savings  and  meagre  superannuation  to  pay  rent.  Some  relied  on  food  pantries  at  local  charities  in  order  to  eat.” 

The report follows on from a snapshot released by the same organisations in 2017.

Are you an older renter? Email at samara.ross@fairfaxmedia.com.au to share your story.

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