MORE residents are looking to rent as a deliberate and practical choice, new research suggests.
Rental property website Rent.com.au, together with the Tenants’ Union of New South Wales, has used International Tenants’ Day to emphasise a need to de-stigmatise renting, as more Australians choose to rent, not out of necessity but as a logical choice.
Rent.com.au chief executive officer Greg Bader said the country’s rental sector has changed and will continue to change over time.
“Today our average renter is younger, more likely to be earning a good wage and is choosing to rent less out of necessity but more for logical and practical reasons,” he said.
“Affordability is still a significant factor for many but we are also seeing that people enjoy the flexibility that renting can offer – in fact, around 20 per cent of our customers are actually property owners, just not in the location they prefer to live in at the moment.”
“We (as an industry and as a community) need to understand that 30 per cent of us rent and that number is growing. Lease security and flexible lease durations are all major issues that renters face.”
Mr Bader said Rent.com.au research revealed only about 40 per cent of renters were looking for a 12-month lease yet 80 per cent ended up with one.
“Even more telling, 40 per cent of our renters also indicated a preference for a lease longer than 12 months, and yet less than 10 per cent of those people ended up with one,” Mr Bader said.
“This sort of imbalance is not in the best interest of either landlords or renters, neither of whom want the instability that results.”
Recent changes made by the Andrews Government in Victoria to give tenants more rights do go some way to show governments are prepared to look at change.
“We surveyed our Victorian renter database in the lead-up to these changes, and the issue of lease duration was one of the major focuses for the respondent group,” Mr Bader said.
“What tenants want is a place to live – a home – and the ability to manage that property as their home. Our customers overwhelmingly support these changes, which if enacted, will go some way to addressing some of the imbalance that has existed in the past.
“We would like to see Federal and State governments take this further.”
Leo Patterson Ross, senior policy officer with the Tenants’ Union of NSW, said Australia lags behind many countries worldwide when it comes to the rights of renters.
“International Tenants’ Day highlights the work needed to bring Australia and NSW into the modern world. We need to have a much closer look at the way we house ourselves,” he said.
“With a growing cohort of long-term renters as well as people choosing to rent as a lifestyle choice, Australia should be looking to lead the world not be left behind.”
LEASE ON LIFE: More people are opting for rentals for practicality and flexibility which means tenants need to be looked after.Photo: monkeybusinessimages