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2-year rent freeze plan slammed as ‘far-fetched and unrealistic’

By Grace Ormsby
26 August 2022 | 11 minute read
max chandler mather anthony albanese hayden groves reb wloptr

A call from the Australian Greens for private rents to be frozen for the next 24 months for “millions” of tenants has been shot down by the Prime Minister and the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).

In a statement released yesterday, 25 August, Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather said that “just as the government coordinated a national response to the COVID19 health crisis, the federal government should intervene to coordinate an emergency nationwide response to the housing crisis that includes a rent freeze”.

According to the minister, who is the member for Griffith, “with more and more people renting long term, we desperately need legislated protections against unfair, arbitrary evictions and skyrocketing rents”.

He explained that a nationwide rent freeze would be coordinated by the national cabinet, with “each state and territory to implement it via their respective rental tenancy acts”.

“The federal government could also make future housing funding conditional on states and territories introducing a rent freeze and rent controls,” he said. 

Stating that such a plan is “necessary”, the Greens have stated that Australia is experiencing a rental and cost-of-living crisis and the government needs to act now.

“Too many Australians are one rent increase away from eviction or homelessness, and a two year rent freeze will give people the security they need to start getting on with their lives,” Mr Chandler-Mather said.

“Since mid-2020 rents have been spiking, growing many times faster than wages — freezing rents will give wages and incomes time to catch up.”

“Even under the Greens plan to freeze rents for two years, and cap rent increases at 2 per cent every two years, wage growth won’t make up for the impacts of recent rent growth until 2029,” it was highlighted.

When quizzed on the policy proposal, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he had not seen any proposal, nor had the Greens raised the potential of a rental freeze with the government “at all”.

Stating, “it’s not clear to me, short of nationalising property, how that could be achieved”, the Prime Minister indicated that “what we do is support real action that has a real process to occur”.

Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) president Hayden Groves has considered the plan well-intentioned but said that “it will do nothing for Australia’s long term housing supply crunch”.  

“The real estate industry, particularly, property managers and owners have implemented the rental eviction moratorium during the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Groves said.

Arguing that the media statement as pushed out by MP Chandler-Mather “lacks a fundamental understanding on the key issues that will help Australian renters”, Mr Groves said that “the real estate industry, particularly, property managers and owners have implemented the rental eviction moratorium during the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At the same time, rent has increased in areas where there is a chronic shortage of supply and unless this is addressed, the situation will worsen.”

He said that these measures have dealt with supply crunches “in a real way”, adding that the proposal for national rent control is “far-fetched and unrealistic”.

From the president’s perspective, “Australia’s state and federal governments need to focus on encouraging supply and investment in private property markets as without more houses and more investors supply issues will continue to worsen.”

Where tenants are concerned about meeting rental commitments, Mr Groves is urging tenants to communicate directly with their property manager.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Grace Ormsby

Grace Ormsby

Grace is a journalist across Momentum property and investment brands. Grace joined Momentum Media in 2018, bringing with her a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) from the University of Newcastle. She’s passionate about delivering easy to digest information and content relevant to her key audiences and stakeholders.

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