7 Mar 2021 Media Releases, Rights for Renters, Social Housing

Thousands of Western Australians are facing eviction into homelessness due to affordable housing shortages and a lack of renters’ rights. And despite a $3.1 billion surplus the WA Labor Government refuses to address the issue, says The Greens spokesperson for Housing Tim Clifford MLC.

With the current COVID-19 protections for renters set to end just weeks after the state election, thousands of renters will be forced into a rental market that is experiencing record low vacancy rates and affordable housing shortage, with next to no protections.

“Urgent action must be taken. The McGowan Government must make an election commitment to implement fair pricing mechanisms and a ban on no-grounds evictions before the moratorium ends,” the Member for the East Metropolitan Region said.

“Preliminary results from a rental survey undertaken by my office tells a story of power imbalances and an affordable housing shortage.

“Tenants are paying more than half their income on rent, they’re being encouraged to rent bid or are being forced into homes that are far more expensive than they can afford, and when attempting to negotiate lower rent increases they are being handed eviction notices.

“It’s just heartbreaking to hear these stories while the WA Labor Government refuses to take action and boasts about a $3 million surplus during a pandemic and a housing crisis.

“Surely the supply of homes during a housing crisis takes precedence over other non-urgent infrastructure.

“If WA had stronger renters’ rights, in particular a ban on without-grounds evictions and fair mechanisms to determine rent increases, and adequate supply of social and affordable housing, this housing crisis could have been avoided.

“The State Government must take urgent action by spot purchasing homes, as advocated by ShelterWA, and introducing rent caps — rather than enabling the market to dictate unaffordable increases — and a ban on no-grounds evictions. There must also be a commitment to providing additional support to the already struggling social sectors that will be called upon to deal with this.

“Mark McGowan is the most popular Premier the state has had, surely he can leverage some of this to commit to reforms that will protect renters and our most vulnerable.”

Preliminary data from rental survey

For the past few weeks the Office of Tim Clifford has collected stories from renters on their experiences of the final month of the moratorium. Preliminary data tells a story of power imbalances, eviction threats, affordable housing shortages and a general lack of support.

  • About 85% of renters are at risk of housing stress – spending more than 30% of their income on rent.
  • Of those looking for a property almost 60% were encouraged to rent bid and 67% have been unable to find property that was affordable or met requirements
  • Only 36% of respondents are very confident they won’t be evicted.
  • 45% have been told their rent will increase when the moratorium ends and 20% still aren’t sure

Media contact: Talitha Wolfe, 0432 283 988

Renters’ stories and talent available on request.