Tenants in ACT Housing will receive news shortly on whether their rent costs will be altered to reflect the declining rental market in Canberra during the past 12 months.
Minister for housing Andrew Barr said the government was reviewing an independent evaluation of the 2014 rental market before making changes to rent in public housing, with tenants requiring a minimum of eight weeks' notice before any changes.
Mr Barr said there had been a wide variability in the rental market during the past 12 months, with changes often dictated by the location, size, and standard of the property.
"If the market rent decreased over the year, the market rent for an equivalent public housing property is also likely to decrease," he told The Canberra Times.
ACT Housing rent had not been altered since mid-2013, Mr Barr said, as the government only makes changes 12 months after a previous revision to ensure the "ease of efficiency in managing the public housing portfolio".
"The 2013 market rent review was applied to tenants' rent accounts on 21 July 2013 and therefore the earliest date that the 2014 market rent review could have been applied was July 27," he said.
But the rental market in Canberra has changed significantly since July 2013, with economists warning the downward trend in rental prices may be likely to continue.
According to June quarter figures released by Australian Property Monitors, the median weekly rent for houses in the ACT fell by 6.3 per cent to $450.
The average weekly rent for units in Canberra fell by 6.1 per cent to $385, which meant units transitioned from being the third most expensive in the country during April to among the cheapest.
Domain Group senior economist Dr Andrew Wilson believes Canberra's rental woes were due to subdued housing conditions that may continue to exist for some time.
"There's a consistency about the fall over the year for both houses and units, and I do think it's just generally a lack of demand for rental properties in Canberra," he said.