In May-June 2020, Better Renting surveyed almost 1000 renters across Australia to ask about their experiences of renting during COVID-19.
- Over three in five renters (63%) reported losing household income due to the coronavirus crisis.
- Of renters who lost income, only one in two (50%) asked for a rent reduction.
- Of renters who lost income, less than one in ten (9%) got a satisfactory rent reduction.
People who rent were more affected by the economic downturn, with significant personal impacts. This led to deprivation, anxiety, and stress.
The expanded JobSeeker was critical in keeping renters secure. In the absence of rent reductions, the Coronavirus Supplement helped renters to keep their head above water.
Power imbalances prevented tenants from getting the support they needed. Renters did not have the security to ask for rent reductions. Until this is addressed, the system will remain unfair.
In response to these findings, we offer the following recommendations:
- Keep the rate of JobSeeker,
- Implement the measures in the National Statement on Renting and Coronavirus,
- Abolish unfair evictions, and
- Invest in social housing.