Regional Queensland Renters Vulnerable, Report Shows

By Andrew Heaton

(image via University of New South Wales)

A large number of Queenslanders in regional areas particularly north of the Sunshine Coast and inland from the Gold Coast are suffering ‘rent vulnerability’ according to a new report.

Developed by the City Futures Research Centre at the University of NSW in conjunction with Tenants Queensland, the Queensland Rental Vulnerability Index incorporates a ‘red stress heat map’ which shows high concentrations of vulnerable renters across a band of postcodes through Bundaberg, Fraser Coast and Gympie.

A further band of vulnerable postcodes can be observed to the south and south-west of Brisbane.

Defining rental vulnerability as the vulnerability of people to problems that may make their rental housing unaffordable, insecure or inappropriate and thereby indicating a need for tenant advisory services, the index encapsulated ‘people’ and ‘housing’ related indicators of vulnerability.

People related indicators include disability, unemployment, single parenthood, being indigenous, very young or old age (under 24 or over 65) and low education attainment.

Housing related indicators include rental stress, tenancy dispute applications, social housing tenants, residential services (boarding houses) and manufactured home sites including residential parks and caravan parks.

Tenants Queensland Chief Executive Officer Penny Carr said a large number of vulnerable households had been pushed out to the urban fringe and regional areas in search of lower cost housing.

There, they were further away from employment opportunities and had fewer opportunities to improve their circumstances over the long term.

Carr expresses concern about high concentrations of rental vulnerability in some areas.

“The concern for Tenants Queensland is that when you get a high vulnerability index in regional areas where renters are becoming concentrated in locations and there is limited social infrastructure, it can lead to more social problems down the track,” she said.

City Futures Research Centre Chief Investigator Dr Laurence Troy said this work contributed to a wider body of research that showed that disadvantage was increasingly a suburban or regional problem.

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