The Greens today launched the results of their national 2016 Renters' Rights survey and announced a national election plan to protect renters, who make up 48 per cent of the Brisbane electorate and 46 per cent of the Griffith electorate.
At a rented family home in Coorparoo today, Greens Senator for Queensland Larissa Waters said the national survey found about half of respondents spent half of their income on rent.
"With the average rent for a 2-bedroom unit in Brisbane now at $470, it's not surprising that renters are having to fork out so much of their income on rent.
"High rents make saving to buy a home difficult, especially as house prices are so eye-wateringly expensive.
"An increasing number of Australians now see renting as their only option, and believe they'll become renters for life.
"Our renters' survey revealed a number of horror stories across Brisbane of renters putting up with maintenance problems because they were afraid their lease wouldn't be renewed.
"Compared to other countries, Australia has some of the weakest protections for renters - it's high time we improved the rights and conditions for Australia's renters.
"We have national standards that cover our health and education system - even plastic chairs have a standard - our housing system should be no different.
"We Greens will use our numbers in the Parliament to push for a national minimum standard for private rental tenancies and a funding package to help landlords meet those standards with repairs and maintenance.
Greens candidate for Griffith, Karen Anderson, said just under half of residents in her electorate were renting and it was a key issue locally in the federal election.
"The price of rent has a real impact on our community because it decides who can live here, how far people have to travel for work and what schools parents send their children to.
"Australia holds its breath every time the Reserve Bank meets to discuss interest rates and their impact on house prices, but what about rents?
"Rents are going up all the time and the cost is making it exceedingly difficult for people to live here.
"The high costs of housing in our community are raised time and time again by residents with myself and volunteers when we're out doorknocking in the electorate.
"We Greens are standing up for renters with our plan for a national standard that will make rent prices more stable and fair and will make leases more secure and flexible," Ms Anderson said.
Senator Waters (Monique Vandeleur) 0419 626 725
Karen Anderson (Ben Pennings) 0418 164 014
The Greens Renters' Rights package would:
- Establish a new national body responsible for implementing and overseeing a new National Standard for all rental tenancies, with the view to develop a National Residential Tenancy Act.
- Provide a funding package worth $500 per property to assist landlords to make upgrades to meet the new standards
- Increase funding to state and territory Tenancy Advice Services by $10m per year
The new National Standard would set specific minimum standards for the five most urgent issues facing tenants today, across all rental housing in Australia (public and private), including:
1. Security of tenure and long term leases
2. Stability and fairness of rent prices and bonds
3. A new 'green rental' efficiency standard to ensure the
home is cheaper to run and comfortable to live in
4. Safety and security of the home; and
5. Better protection for students and vulnerable groups.
The Greens' plan to stand up for renters' rights: http://greens.org.au/renters
The Greens' national rental health survey: http://greens.org.au/rental-health