Renting in NSW is more expensive than in any other state of Australia. Sydney, in particular, is becoming one of the least affordable places in the world to live because of housing costs and rent prices.
The rental market might be working for investors – but tenants are paying a heavy price.
A housing affordability crisis
Rising housing costs are placing huge stress on many households, forcing people to move away from their networks and giving many people no choice but to put up with substandard accommodation.
Home ownership is out of reach for a huge number of Australians - particularly for young people. A lot of people in their 20s and 30s can’t imagine ever owning their own home. Lifetime renting is becoming a ‘new normal’ for lots of us, so we need to modernise our rental laws to reflect that.
Changes also need to be made at a Federal level to address our national housing crisis. The Australian Greens have released initiatives to end Capital Gains Tax discounts and reform negative gearing. Current unfair tax laws have locked entire generations of Australians out of home ownership and affordable, stable rents - and that needs to change.
Renters in Greater Sydney are spending nearly 30% of their income on rent. Constant rent increases are forcing many people to move further away from the city centre – away from jobs, services and their communities.
How can we improve NSW rental laws?
In other countries and global cities, rental laws give tenants long term security and help keep rents affordable. In NSW, renters are vulnerable to excessive rent increases, and face the constant threat of eviction, even when they pay their rent on time and look after their home.
- End 'no grounds' evictions
‘No grounds’ evictions allow landlords to evict tenants at the end of a lease without giving any reason. This means many renters don’t know where they will be living from year to year. It’s an even bigger challenge for families with school-aged children. These 'no grounds' evictions also allow dodgy landlords avoid their responsibilities around maintenance, as they can simply throw out ‘problem’ tenants who demand that repairs are done. Read more.
- Put a cap on the amount and frequency of rent increases
In NSW we don’t have any caps on how many times rents can be increased in a year or by how much. If rents were capped to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), we wouldn’t have seen such big increases over the past 20 years.
- Increase funding to tenants' advice and advocacy services
Many renters don’t know their rights or need help enforcing them. But even though the NSW Government makes a big profit from holding and investing renters' bond money, only a small amount is spent on Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Services.
- Offer incentives for solar and other sustainability measures
Solar panels and other sustainability measures can reduce costs for renters, as well as making a positive contribution to our environment. But there is little incentive for a landlord to invest in the sustainability of a rental property. Our laws and regulations should encourage sustainable practices, like installing insulation or solar hot water.