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Greens stand up for Renters’ Rights

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 22 Aug 2013

The Australian Greens launch a new national rental standard proposal today to improve the lives of the 2.4 million Australian households - 30 per cent of the population - who rent.

“More and more Australians are unable to buy their own home and are spending vast sums of money on rent, often between a third and half of their income,” said Senator Scott Ludlam, Australian Greens Housing spokesperson.

“At the same time, the mainly private rentals they are living in may be badly maintained, energy inefficient, and lacking basic security measures most owner-occupiers would take for granted.

“Almost one third of Australians are tenants - yet they are ignored by Labor and the Liberals alike. It is time that someone stood up for them. 

“The Greens are proposing a new National Standard to address the issues tenants face, including insecurity of tenure; sudden and unjustified increases in their rent; homes that are too expensive to heat or cool; poor security against break-ins and inadequate advocacy services to help tenants.

“Under existing laws, landlords have highly disproportionate power over tenants - especially due to tight rental markets - and are able to offer rental conditions to prospective tenants on a take it or leave it basis.

“The Greens want to see a level playing field that is nationally consistent.

“Since we launched our national survey, Rental Health Check, onlinejust one week ago we have been inundated with stories from tenants.

“The survey is continuing but already several hundred people have replied. One third said their homes felt unsafe due to lack of security; more than 70 per cent said their homes lack insulation; two thirds have been forced to move on from the home through no fault of their own; and 85 per cent think renters need better representation.

“When you consider that more than two out of three of the survey respondents are in rental stress - paying more than 30 per cent of their income on rent, and mostly closer to half their income, it is quite wrong that basic standards in the quality of their rental home are not properly enforced.

“The Greens are standing up for renters, to improve their rights and standard of living at home. Everyone deserves a fair go – and everyone deserves a safe, secure and stable place to live.”

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