Dire warning over “broken” rental system

Dire warning over “broken” rental system

Anglicare WA's statistics show pensioners have almost zero chance of financially affording a rental property.

The latest Rental Affordability Snapshot is extremely dire news according to local tenancy advocates, with even more people in the southeast struggling to find shelter than last year.

Anglicare Australia’s yearly report surveyed more than 69,000 rental listings across the country, including in the south east, on their affordability to people living on Newstart, disability, parent and pension allowances.

According to Anglicare, their statistics show that one half of a per cent of rental properties in Australia are available to single parents with two children on the parenting payment – 354 properties out of those they surveyed.

Only 317 of the properties surveyed were available to those on the Disability Support Pension.

A single person on the aged pension has less than one per cent of rentals available to them across the country, while single occupants on minimum wage can afford 2.2 per cent of available rentals.

The numbers have seen Anglicare WA urge both major parties to fix the “broken” rental system, and Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers said the numbers show the ‘rental crisis’ is only getting worse.

“Housing in Australia is broken. Our figures show that affordability is down across the board,” she said.

“And now we’re seeing older Australians are getting stuck in expensive and insecure rentals.”

Tenancy WA’s legal education coordinator Vachel Spirason said for Perth suburbs, the issue is a complex one, as despite a lowering of average rates the post-mining boom economy is still making the market impenetrable to most.

“Despite average rents being cheaper now in Perth than they were at peak boom, private rentals are still increasingly unaffordable for people on low incomes,” he said.

“And the situation is quite dire – in 2019 there are officially zero properties in the greater

Perth metro region affordable to a single person on a Newstart payment.

This is why people are referring to the situation as a housing crisis.”

Shelter WA’s chief executive Michelle Mackenzie said a lack of focus on social housing is only making a bad situation worse.

“It confirms that affordable rental accommodation is out of reach for many Western Australians, particularly for people on Newstart Allowance, a Disability Support Pension or Parenting Payment,” she said.

“How do you maintain your education, your employment, or your health without access to safe, secure and affordable housing?

“In addition, the lack of private rental accommodation puts enormous pressure on the social housing system, which has an average wait time of two and a half years to obtain a home.”

Both Shelter WA and Tenancy WA have called on both major parties to address the social housing shortage prior to the federal election.

The full report is available at the Anglicare Australia website.