Rent increases by private landlords should be capped to make the housing market more affordable, according to a welfare group.
The South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) is urging the state government to consider a “rent ceiling” limiting annual increases to around the rate of inflation, news.com.au has reported.
SACOSS executive director Ross Womersley said rising rental costs were pricing growing numbers of home seekers out of the private market, resulting in a greater demand for more affordable public housing.
“We know private rents have increased way above CPI,” he said.
“Maybe you would impose a rent increase ceiling around CPI and if any landlord wanted to increase their rent above that ceiling they might have to apply through a body like the Residential Tenancies Tribunal.”
Mr Womersley said the scheme would “ensure that landlords aren’t simply making super profits on the back of tenants”.
REISA chief executive officer Greg Troughton said while “courageous thinking” was needed to address housing affordability, it would be difficult to impose rent control in Adelaide.
Mr Troughton said it would likely put investors off entering the market or drive existing landlords out.
“I'm struggling to understand how the government could, dare I say it, dictate to a landlord who invests say $260,000 in a property down south or up north what the market rent would be,” he said.
Uniting Communities advocacy manager Mark Henley said capping rent increases was a “reasonable” idea and “would make sense”.
“It’s not going to be easy but we would be happy to be part of that discussion,” he said.