With only a few days left to respond to the Senate’s request for feedback on the rental crisis, industry bodies are advocating for Australians to weigh in.
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The inquiry, which is being conducted by the Senate Community Affairs References Committee, has asked for organisations and members of the public to comment on the “worsening rental crisis in Australia”, with particular interest in:
- the experience of renters and people seeking rental housing
- rising rents and rental affordability
- actions that can be taken by governments to reduce rents or limit rent rises
- improvements to renters’ rights, including rent stabilisation, length of leases and no grounds evictions
- factors impacting supply and demand of affordable rentals
- international experience of policies that effectively support renters
- the impact of government programs on the rental sector
With submissions closing on 4 August, the heads of a number of Australian real estate bodies are urging those with a stake in the Australian rental market to respond.
Hayden Groves, president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA), is encouraging both investors and renters to fill out the response form that can be found on Parliament House’s website.
He is clear, however, that he wants to see rental caps taken off the table as the Senate moves forward with its recommendations. In Mr Groves’ view, rental caps could serve as a disincentive for new and continued market activity from landlords.
“Adam Bandt is out there campaigning for rent freezes and rent controls, whilst busily attacking family investors when they are, in fact, the main suppliers of rental homes across Australia,” Mr Groves said.
He believes that “family investors”, meaning landlords who own one or two investment properties, are “frightened by talk of rent controls and rent freezes”. Mr Groves said that listings from investors are up as some decided to sell their properties.
Mr Groves and Cath Hart, CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia, both claim that investors might begin selling their properties in large numbers if measures such as rent caps come into effect.
“WA’s current rental crisis is caused by demand exceeding supply. WA has already seen a significant number of investors leave the market in the past few years,” Ms Hart said.
“If investors aren’t confident about property, they will put their money into other assets and rental queues will remain long.”
She noted that the REIWA and REIA would be making their own submissions to the Senate inquiry.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.
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