Rental Housing Beyond Those on Social Security

By Andrew Heaton

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Less than one percent of all rental properties which are currently advertised on the Australian rental market are affordable to those living on many types of social security, the latest report has found.

Releasing its national survey of more than 67,000 properties advertised on the weekend of April 1-2, Anglicare has reported that:

  • Only 5.28 percent of the properties (3,576 properties) were affordable to a single person on the minimum wage (plus Family Tax Benefit Part A and B).
  • Only 0.86 percent of the properties were affordable to a single person aged over 21 who is on the disability support pension.
  • Only 21 properties (0.03 percent) were affordable to a single person without children on the Newstart Allowance.
  • Only 3 properties (0.004 percent) were affordable to a single person over the age of 18 on the Youth Allowance.
  • Less than five percent (4.28 percent or 2,897 properties) were affordable to a couple without children on the age pension.

Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said affordability was non-existent for many renters.

He said the problem will not be solved by market forces alone and called for action to address the problem in the upcoming Federal Budget.

This includes through investment in public housing, better rights for renters, better support for community housing and the winding back of tax concessions.

“For eight years now, Anglicare Australia’s Rental Affordability Snapshot has highlighted the experiences of people on the lowest incomes in the rental market,” Chambers said.

“What we’ve learned is that it’s getting tougher for renters to make a real home for themselves and their families.”

Properties are considered to be unaffordable where rental costs exceed 30 percent of a household’s disposable income and that household is in the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution.

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