Rental affordability snapshot highlights rental crisis in Tasmania

Anglicare’s 2022 Rental Affordability Snapshot for Tasmania has highlighted the depth of the rental crisis the state is facing, releasing figures showing Tasmanians on low incomes have little hope of securing a private rental.

TasCOSS CEO Ms Adrienne Picone said the snapshot also revealed the number of rentals across Tasmania had dropped by more than half since 2014 and of the 714 rentals that were available, only two were deemed to be affordable for someone living on income support.

“In Tasmania right now, housing stress remains acute, social housing waiting lists are long and rents have soared,” Ms Picone said.

“For people on low incomes, the proportion of rent as a share of total wages has risen to unliveable levels, which is impacting their ability to do the very basics including buy food, afford healthcare and travel to school and work.

“As such, in the lead up to the federal election, TasCOSS is calling on the next federal government to lift income support to at least $70 a day and provide a 50% increase to increase to the Commonwealth Rent Assistance payment.

“Figures show that a 50% increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance payments would add $67 million to the Tasmanian economy, or $1,740 to the average recipient household’s budget.”

Ms Picone said the pandemic showed what was possible when there is a government with the will to act — rough sleepers were housed, rental evictions were stopped and new social housing constructed to boost the economy and improve affordability.

“With the high cost of housing, immediate investment is needed to support Tasmanians into affordable housing to ensure everyone has a safe home,” she said.

“TasCOSS is also looking to the next federal government to introduce incentives to bring more private housing stock into the long-term rental market, as well as deliver incentives to shift investment in rental housing from individual investment to institutional options.

“We know that Tasmanians with a place to call home are safer, healthier and have increased opportunity to participate both socially and economically in our communities.

“With the high cost of housing, immediate investment is needed to support Tasmanians into affordable housing and ensure everyone has a safe home.”