For 10 months, Paul Richardson has been looking for an affordable rental property near Launceston with no luck.
- Tasmania rents have increased 36 percent over the past five years, outpacing income growth
- TasCOSS calls on the state government to reintroduce protection against evictions and rent increases
- The housing minister says the government’s focus is on building more housing and creating more jobs
After three years at his St. Leonards home, Richardson faces an almost 18 percent rent increase, with his weekly payments rising from $ 340 to $ 400 a week – an amount he can’t cover.
Mr. Richardson is receiving a care pension. His son Zakary has cerebral palsy and epilepsy and is receiving a disability pension.
“The rent has just gone through the roof,” said Mr. Richardson.
The couple are struggling to make ends meet – every penny is already being spoken for.
“We only get limited money,” he said.
“We’re grateful for that money, but about $ 340 … that’s more than house payments.
“If you get an increase from $ 400 to $ 450, the bottom line is that you can’t. So you can’t afford anything, and basically you can’t afford to eat.”
Paul Richardson and his son Zakary cannot afford their increased weekly rent for care and disability benefits. (
ABC News: Annah Fromberg
Rental market “a perfect storm”
The Richardsons’ situation is far from unique.
According to Shelter Tasmania, rents across the state have increased 36 percent in the past five years, far exceeding income growth, while vacancy rates remain below 1 percent.
TasCOSS’s Adrienne Picone says the rental market in Tasmania is on the brink of “the perfect storm”. (
The organization said the median income for a renting household in Hobart was $ 64,000 – compared to $ 93,500 in Melbourne.
Adrienne Picone, TasCOSS chief executive officer, said Tasmania is facing a “perfect storm” in the rental market. A significant number of jobs were lost to COVID-19, the moratorium on evictions and rent increases ended, and JobSeeker only rose by $ 25 per week.
“We are seeing this problem increase significantly in regional Tasmania, even more so than in urban areas,” she said.
“We are very concerned. We feel like we talked a lot about this potential cliff last year and what we are seeing right now are people who are on the edge of this cliff.
“Right now there is an incredibly low supply and an incredibly high demand.”
“I’m in a panic”
According to the Tenant’s Union, the average price for a three-bedroom home in southern Tasmania has increased 18 percent to $ 450 per week since the 2018 Emergency Summit.
In northern Tasmania it is up 21 percent to $ 363 per week, and in the northwest it is up 13 percent to $ 300 per week.
Some families have turned to online classifieds sites to find accommodation. They have published pictures of their children and blurbs describing their desperation.
One ad said, “I’m a single mother who is already struggling to pay $ 450 a week.”
“If I signed the new lease it would be as high as $ 520 a week, so I panic.”
Ms. Picone said TasCOSS wants coronavirus protection against eviction and rent increases to be reintroduced for at least another year.
Roger Jaensch says the government is focusing on building more houses in the state. (
“”[They] It really went a long way in helping the Tasmanians and we want it to continue, “she said.
Housing Minister Roger Jaensch said an extension of this protection was not being considered.
“We believe that after keeping tenants and landlords in relationships during this time, the protections have done their job and we need to get back to a more normal market world,” he said.
“If we can provide more housing for it, more incentives to build new homes in the private market, and other initiatives that keep the economy strong and give people more opportunities to earn an income, these are the solutions we need concentrate now. “