Resilience for rent

As the great Australian dream shifts from owning your own home, to finding a secure rental property, how can we build resilience for renters? Providing minimum standards for rental housing would be a good start. MARK O’BRIEN explains.

Housing is a basic human need and decent housing is one of the most important elements of a sustainable and resilient community. Decent housing enables people to create a home – a secure foundation for their social and economic participation in the community.

Decent housing means housing that is affordable, secure and appropriate for a household’s needs. Yet for many tenants, this is not the case, and instead they find themselves living in housing that is insecure, unaffordable and inappropriate.

quotation marks

Victoria’s tenancy rights and practices have barely left the feudal age.

Housing pathways are changing in Australia, and more tenants are spending longer periods of time in the rental housing sector. Rising house prices continue to push home ownership out of the reach of many low-income people, and rising prices defer the point of purchase for many saving for a home. Family breakdown often sends people back to rental housing. The old assumption about people following a straightforward housing pathway, from their parental home to owning their own home, through a short transition in rental housing, is no longer valid.

However, Victoria’s tenancy rights and practices have barely left the feudal age and certainly haven’t kept pace with this significant change going on around them. Tenancy law in particular needs to be modernised.

In contrast to many other parts of the world, tenants in Victoria have very little security of tenure and can be forced to move for many reasons, or even for ‘no reason’ at all. Tenants can also be made insecure by rising rents or invasive tenancy management practices like open house inspections. One way to build resilience for home renters would be to provide longer, more stable tenancies that allow tenants to build community connections.

quotation marks

Unlike many other consumer transactions there are also no minimum standards for rental housing in Victoria.

Unlike many other consumer transactions there are also no minimum standards for rental housing in Victoria. There are a significant number of houses, in both the social housing and private rental sectors, which are unsafe, unhealthy and costly to live in.

If Victoria wants to build resilient communities, it needs minimum rental housing standards to ensure low-income households in particular, can live in safe and healthy homes, which minimise their risk of health problems and financial hardship.

 

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Supporting single mothers

WEB_Single mothers 1

Our community can do much more to support single mothers, from providing flexible jobs, to honouring the great job they do, JENNY DAVIDSON says. ... Read More

Resilience: Buzzword or keyword?

What is ‘community resilience’? MARTIN MULLIGAN explains it can mean different things to different people, and raise questions about inclusion, exclusion, change ... Read More