Rental doors snap shut on people most in need

Shelter WA, Western Australia’s peak body for social and affordable housing and homelessness welcomes today’s release of Anglicare Australia’s annual Rental Affordability Snapshot. “It paints a dire picture,” said Michelle Mackenzie, CEO of Shelter WA.

“It confirms that affordable rental accommodation is out of reach for many Western Australians, particularly for people on Newstart Allowance, a Disability Support Pension or Parenting Payment,” said Ms Mackenzie.

This snapshot report shows that the private rental market remains unaffordable for many Western Australians on low to moderate incomes. In Perth there were no rental properties affordable to a person on Newstart Allowance, only 4 per cent of properties were affordable to a couple on an age pension and people receiving parenting payments would need to pay 64 per cent of their income on rent.

Unfortunately, those with the fewest resources bear the greatest burden of the rental affordability crisis. This has significant flow on effects for people’s lives.

“How do you maintain your education, your employment, or your health without access to safe, secure and affordable housing,” said Ms Mackenzie. “In addition, the lack of private rental accommodation puts enormous pressure on the social housing system, which has an average wait time of two and a half years to obtain a home. What are your options and where do you live, said Ms Mackenzie, if you can’t afford a place to call home?”

The Report shows that many people on low incomes must make impossible choices between essentials such as food and heating or paying an enormous amount of their income in rent and having a home. “Western Australia’s rental affordability crises is an outcome of failed government policy and lack of investment, and as a society, we can change this,” said Ms Mackenzie. “We can increase income support. We can harness our planning system to facilitate more diverse, affordable housing supply; and government can harness the strengths of the community housing sector, and in partnership with industry, invest to build the rental homes that our community needs.

Also, reforming property taxes at the State and Federal level will lead to better use of current housing and increase the right type of supply, creating more affordable rental options.”

With the Federal election looming, Shelter WA calls on all political parties to address housing affordability as part of their pre-election commitments.

Media Contact
Shelter WA – Michelle Mackenzie, CEO, 0419 931 819 | View the Snapshot here.

Fast Facts
• The Snapshot is based on 9,283 private rentals listed on 23 March 2019 in the Perth metro area, the South West and the Great Southern, and in the North West including the Kimberley and Pilbara.
• A property is deemed to be affordable if it required less than 30 per cent of a household’s income, and it was considered appropriate if it had an adequate number of bedrooms.

Perth
• The median rent in the Perth Metro Area is $350 a week.
• There are zero properties in the Perth metro area that are affordable for people that receive Newstart Allowance.
• 22 properties out of 7,898 (0.3%) in the Perth Metro area are affordable for people receiving parenting payments.
• Only 4 per cent of listed properties in Perth are affordable for a couple on an Age Pension.
• A single parent in Perth would only have access to 10 per cent of listed properties.

South West and Great Southern
• The median rent in the South West and Great Southern is $330 a week.
• Only 1 per cent of properties in the South West are affordable for people on Disability Support Pension.
North West
• The median rent is $400 per week in the North West.
• 13 per cent of properties in the North West are affordable and appropriate for a family with two children on a minimum wage and Parenting Payment.