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Greens Table Rent Control Legislation


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 18 March 2021

Tags: Housing, Affordable Housing, Housing Crisis

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Housing spokesperson

We were proud to table the Residential Tenancy (Rent Control) Amendment Bill 2021 today on behalf of all Tasmanian tenants.

That lutruwita/Tasmania is experiencing a deepening housing crisis is indisputable. Stories of hardship continue to pour out of the community, and all available data confirms widespread rental stress.

The Real Estate Institute of Australia has stated Tasmania’s rental affordability is now the worst in the nation. Tenants here spend on average 29.5 percent of their income on rent – well above the national average.

It is only a sliver below the widely accepted measure for housing stress, which is 30%.  The numbers all point to the need for rent controls.

A new Council of Homeless Persons report says nationally they expect housing stress to increase by 24%, and homelessness by 9% by June, as a result of the federal government’s cruel cuts to JobSeeker. Given housing stress has already become the norm in Tasmania, the situation for tenants here is particularly frightening.

Tasmanian tenants should not continue to suffer from soaring rents. Immediate action is required to protect thousands of people from the deepening housing crisis, and from being pushed into financial hardship and homelessness. Our Bill would be a good start.

The current laws only provide minimal protection from massive rent hikes for tenants, with the only limitation being if the Residential Tenancy Commissioner finds the increase was unreasonably above the market rate.

A recent Magistrates Court decision (Muddyman v Nest Property) highlights the problems with the current approach, which places an unreasonable, and almost unworkable, burden on tenants. Tasmania needs change.

With the rental market completely unaffordable for many, rents soaring across the state, and housing stress the norm, the existing law provides almost no protection for tenants.

Our amendment to the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 will put stronger limitations on rent increases – and provide for rent reductions in some circumstances.

Unfortunately, the Premier has already ruled out his Government supporting our Bill, but in a finely balanced Parliament it is absolutely possible for our Bill to pass.

We strongly urge Labor, independent MP Madeleine Ogilvie, and Speaker Sue Hickey to support Tasmanian tenants, and vote in favour of these much-needed protections for Tasmanian tenants.

 

** Read the Bill and Fact Sheet here.