The impacts of COVID-19 across the rental sector are, in many respects, still emerging, and this presents a real challenge for policymakers in developing targeted and effective assistance.
While policy responses may, in the short term, focus on protective mechanisms, such as eviction moratoriums, the systemic nature of the challenges faced by renters suggests that long-term recovery will be most effectively realised through system-wide policy shifts.
AHURI Research Agenda
The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) have released the first report from their COVID-19 Research Agenda which focuses on eight priority research projects that will help governments at all levels make the best housing policy decisions during and following the coronavirus pandemic.
Understanding the Impacts
Researchers from The University of Adelaide, The University of South Australia and The University of Melbourne surveyed and analysed the circumstances of 15,000 Australian renters during the initial phase of the COVID-19 lockdowns in July and August 2020. Renting in the time of COVID-19: understanding the impacts found that almost 40 per cent of those surveyed could not afford essentials such as bills, clothing, transport and food, after paying rent, because their incomes had been reduced significantly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The research also examined the uptake of government support measures and likely demand for future assistance, the instances of tenants requesting and receiving rent reductions, and the impact on tenants’ mental health during this period.