It’s CONFIRMED – you will rent for life

It appears as though Australian tenants have woken up from the great Australian dream, that is owning their own home, to the nightmare that is the frightening reality of renting for life.

An analysis of data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals that renting in Australia has been on a rapid increase since 1966 through to the latest Census in 2011.

The increase is also tipped to see renting shadow mortgaged owner occupiers in 2016. Renting will also shadow owned owner occupiers in the not so distant future if trends for the past 50 years continue.

The data also demonstrates a slower owned & mortgaged growth, making renting in Australia the fastest growing sector of the Australian housing industry.

The median age of tenants in rented dwellings is 37 (which is also the median age of the Australian population). Compared to owned & mortgaged owner occupied dwellings at 52, it is clear that tenants make up the majority of the Australian population, which also include young families and older children still living with their parents in rented dwellings.

Table demonstrating leading rented dwelling growth that is expected to exceed mortgaged dwellings in the August 2016 Census.

Analysis conducted by the Tenant Rights Party demonstrating leading rented dwelling growth that is expected to exceed mortgaged dwellings in the August 2016 Census.

Australian tenants are faced with this uncertain future due to the Housing Affordability crisis.

It's a double-edged sword that ensures the high cost of rent impedes even the best of efforts to save a deposit for a house. At the same time, property prices grow further away from what ought to be the real value of property, due to unfair economic policies such as negative gearing.

We see the wealthy amassing more and more wealth in housing, at the cost of a fair go for the honest and hard working Australian renters that have done nothing to deserve the stigma of being labeled a second-rate citizen for renting - a view which is shared by many non-renting Australians.

So what does renting for life mean for me?

Being forced to rent for life could have a devastating impact on tenants. These impacts include:

  • Heavy reliance on super funds & savings, as rent will still need to be paid throughout retirement
  • Many Australians sell high value assets (such as the family home) in the later stages of life to pay for aged care living and support
  • High cost of moving and related expenses e.g. removalists, bond cleaning, bond claims, utilities (cancellations and new installs), etc.
  • Constantly increasing rents
  • High stress and other health impacts, due to the problems many tenants face when renting
  • Constantly debasing the family due to a lack of long-term lease options (which can be destructive to education and the emotional & mental well-being of all family members)
  • Unlikely to be able to have companion or family pets
  • Never experiencing the comfort, safety and general well-being from living in your own home

Renting has the potential to be a beneficial stepping stone to owning your own home. If it weren't for the double-edged sword described above, renters could have the chance of someday owning their own home by saving a deposit while renting. This will remain an impossibility unless there is serious change.

Tenants are instead finding themselves trapped inside a viscous cycle of renting they can never escape.

Tenants deserve to have a say in their future. It's time for change and it starts with you. Join the fight for tenant rights!

Please read about our National Tenancy Body, Anti Discrimination and Housing Affordability campaigns. We need you to join the fight for tenant rights!

1 Response

  1. Christie
    Thankyou for this article. It reflects what I've been thinking for a long time. I am a single mother of 3 children, receiving only Centrelink benefits in between jobs. There is a problem with lack of full time employment in my area, as well as constantly rising rental prices. My son has behavioural problems, which saw him suspended from school 9 times last year- it was absolutely impossible to find steady employment with no one to help look after my son while on suspension all these times. So I took the year off to concentrate on doctors appointments, psychologist appts, child therapy etc. This year thankfully he is in a better school that supports him, and is very proactive in his behaviour. Plus he is also another year older. So we've only seen him suspended three times. Three times is still a big number, but thankfully it's not as bad as last year and we are seeing steady improvements. I have sold all of my investments which were my horses, horse gear, and horse trailer. That left me financially better off as I could choose cheaper rentals, and the money from my assets left me with $10K in the bank to start towards my home deposit. We have moved home, but the only house we were accepted for (with a perfect rental history- they tend to quietly discriminate against single non working mothers), is $450 per week. Now there was one other home which was cheaper- but it was far, far out of town (25km) and with the extra driving I would have to do to get my son to his school and my daughters to their high school would have had me paying a lot more. In this area, even though semi rural and 35km from the nearest large town, still has high rental prices. Simply because they can! There is no governing body that regulates housing prices. I'm struggling to be able to feed my children, pay rent, and other expenses at the moment. I am simply tired of paying off someone else's home, all the while sitting scared that the owner may sell or decide to move back in, etc. We have no security. The social housing program is in dire need of revamping! There's a 10 year waiting list. In 10 years, I won't need it as my children will have most likely fled the nest and living their own lives. But even if we had social housing- I still wouldn't be able to save for my own home, as they would count that account as assets, and reduce my income. It's a catch 22 situation. Social housing could easily be set up to HELP families into their own houses. Imagine if we were all giving 24 mths rent free to save for our own deposit? It would be a win/win situation. More available social housing, more homeowners, and tenants able to get out of the rental rat race!!! It would be amazing. In the meantime, we continue to live day by day, looking for options to live cheaply, and scrounge for a dollar or two to put towards our savings in the hope that one day when we save up enough money for a deposit, that housing prices haven't risen again, and aren't out of our reach again.

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