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NRAS Rent Hikes a Result of Poor Government Planning

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 17 February 2020

Tags: Housing, Homelessness, Rent Caps, Subsidies

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Housing spokesperson

The end of the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) has not been planned for by the Liberals in government, and it’s those who can least afford to pay higher rents who will pay the price.

Hobart is already the least affordable capital city for renting, and now hundreds of renters are going to see their rent skyrocket as the NRAS properties start to go entirely to the private rental market.

This foreseeable impact on Tasmanians renting in NRAS-subsidised properties only reinforces the need for stronger regulatory controls on rent increases, the housing sector and the Greens have argued.

The expected rent hikes from the end of NRAS are a result of state and federal government failure. They knew this was coming. They must have known low income households in NRAS properties would be hit hard, yet they sat back and waited.

There was strong evidence to the recently concluded inquiry into housing affordability for rent increase controls to be implemented to protect low income households.

The ACT has a model in place which we should look to for guidance, rather than leaving economically marginalised tenants at the mercy of gouging landlords and a hot property market.

The end of NRAS will see more Tasmanians experiencing rental stress, forced into insecure accommodation or made homeless because they can’t pay the large hikes that will come when NRAS developers and property owners can charge market rent.

In the midst of a deepening housing crisis, this is the last thing we need.

The Liberals should be providing solutions for the crisis, but instead they’re sitting on their hands.

The end of NRAS means that it’s more important than ever that the government undertake serious reform. If the Liberals are serious about tackling the housing crisis, they should introduce rent control measures similar to those in the ACT.

Having a safe and secure home is critical foundation for health, employment and education. It’s the role of government to reduce housing stress and homelessness, not exacerbate it through poor planning and blind faith in the market.