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Struggling Tenants Need Labor’s Support

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 22 March 2021

Tags: Housing, Tenant Rights, Rent Caps, Cost of Living

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Housing spokesperson

Tasmanian tenants need Labor’s support to protect them from the massive, unreasonable rent hikes they are facing. 

On Parliament on Wednesday, the Greens will move our Residential Tenancy (Rent Control) Amendment Bill 2021. The Bill is designed to fix an existing part of the Residential Tenancy Act, which is supposed to protect tenants from “unreasonable” rent increases but which is ineffectual. 

Since tabling the Bill last week, we’ve been flooded with messages of gratitude and tentative hope from tenants around the State. In the middle of a housing crisis, in the most unaffordable rental market in the country, people are acutely aware of the vulnerability of their tenancies. 

While most landlords continue to do the right thing, we are seeing far too many examples of tenants facing huge rent hikes – many upwards of $100 per week. Current laws do nothing to protect tenants from these increases. 

It is extremely concerning to see the Tasmanian Rental Property Owners Association thanking Labor Leader Rebecca White on Twitter for assuring them her party won’t support the Bill. We’ve seen no public statement from Labor, and have had no reply to our correspondence to Ms White urging cooperation to improve the lives of tenants.

On behalf of all Tasmanian tenants, we hope that’s not the case. 

This week, the Tasmanian Parliament will by vote, choose between making sure our laws protect tenants from unreasonable rent increases, and doing absolutely nothing. Without Labor’s support, our Bill has no chance of passing and tenants have no chance of real relief. 

In deciding whether they support our Bill, there’s only one question Labor need to ask themselves – do they believe it’s acceptable for tenants to be lumped with rent increases of over $100 per week?

The housing crisis is deepening with every week that passes. With JobKeeper ending and JobSeeker being cut next week, tenants will soon be in an even more difficult position.  

We urge Labor to show compassion for at-risk Tasmanian tenants, and to vote in favour of our Bill.