Families are flooding Victoria's rental housing market, challenging the belief it is made up of single people and group share houses, research shows.
A report from the Tenants Union found more than 42 per cent of household tenants in the state's private rental market are either couples with children or single-parent families.
That is up from a quarter of all tenants in the 1980s.
The Tenant Union's James Bennett said the rental housing market had experienced a dramatic shift over the last three decades, as reported by ABC News.
"Lone people made up almost half of the market [in 1981] but that has changed to around a quarter of the market now," he said.
"Group households were quite small in the 80s, around five per cent; they have increased to around 12 per cent.
"It really does challenge this myth that people are renters living by themselves or people living in group households," he added.
Mr Bennett said rising house prices were making it far more difficult to buy a home.
"People are either unable to buy into the housing market or they simply have to rent for much longer before they are able to do that," he said.
Melbourne University urban planning expert, Carolyn Whitzman, said the report's findings were not surprising and highlighted the need for better laws to protect long-term tenants.
In parts of Europe where renting is more accepted as a long-term option, tenants have the option of signing two to three-year leases, and tenants are given more notice from landlords before evictions.
"It might be time for the recognition and legislation that renting is going to be a long-term option for a lot of people - particularly in the absence of affordable housing for ownership and renting," Dr Whitzman said.