The Greens want the Federal Government to introduce a freeze on rent prices nationwide for two years to deal with our crippling rental affordability crisis. Apparently all the landlords in parliament are completely (deliberately?) oblivious.
Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather called on the government to introduce the rent freeze on Thursday morning to help avoid a “national tragedy”.
“With more and more people renting long term we desperately need legislated protections against unfair, arbitrary evictions and skyrocketing rents,” he said.
“The rental affordability crisis is destroying regional communities and impacting the broader economy. A rent freeze will help those communities rebuild, tackle the skills shortage and protect livelihoods.
“If the government is serious about cost of living relief, if they’re serious about affordable housing, then it’s a no-brainer to freeze rent rises.”
The Greens’ proposed rent freeze would be backdated and keep all residential tenancies at the weekly amount of rent agreed upon or advertised on 1 August 2022. Chandler-Mather said two years was an adequate timeframe to allow wages to grow and catch up.
Rents nationwide have been rising at their fastest rate in 14 years, up by more than 10 per cent between June 2021 and June 2022 in some areas. Rent rose as much as seven times faster than wages over the past 12 months in some capital cities.
Because tenancy laws differ state-to-state, the Greens say the crisis has become so bad that the Federal Government needs to step in.
Further to the freeze they want to introduce rent rise caps of 2 per cent per 24 months and stronger minimum rental standards. Yes, yes, yes.
“We’ve got … workers unable to afford a home near where they work, people being evicted from their homes because they can’t afford 20 per cent rent increases, and the government’s just sitting on [its] hands,” Chandler-Mather said.
But so far the government has basically rejected the call.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said this morning it wasn’t something the government was working on. He didn’t rule it out, but he basically ruled it out.
“That’s not something we’ve been working on, but we do accept that a big part of the inflation problem in our economy is skyrocketing rents,” Chalmers said on ABC RN Breakfast.
“That’s why we’ve got a housing Australia future fund which is about building more affordable homes, it’s why I’m working with the super industry and the states to see if we can build more stock.”
If @JEChalmers accepts skyrocketing rents are a “big part of the inflation problem” then I have a solution for him. Freeze rents.
Also your future fund will only build 4000 social homes a year – when over half a million people need social homes. A drop in the ocean. pic.twitter.com/2A0lfkp14v
— Max Chandler-Mather (@MChandlerMather) August 24, 2022
The government promised during the election campaign to build 30,000 social and affordable houses in the next two years but the Greens have said this is nowhere near enough to tackle the rising cost of living.
“Rents are out of control, millions of Australian renters are struggling to pay the rent and unless the government wants to see more families sleeping in their cars they need to do their job and act now to stop this crisis boiling over into a national tragedy,” Chandler-Mather said.