A review of private rental support programmes and their effectiveness in assisting tenants on low incomes
Private rental support programs effectively help low income private renters access a home but are not sufficient for those facing affordability and personal problems to sustain their tenancies. Prohibitive on-going rental costs, and lack of budgeting skills in managing rent were also thought to undermine the capacity of private tenants on low incomes to sustain a tenancy.
Project Number: 40194
Research Theme(s): Private rental
Project Leader: Jacobs, Keith
Funding Year: 2003
Research Centre: Southern
The research involved the research team doing an international literature review, collating information on each Australian state and territory private rental support programme, and undertaking interviews or focus groups with senior policy officers, practitioners, peak bodies and tenants in each state and territory.
The key findings of the research are:
- Over 140,000 new households in private rental benefited from PRSPs in 2002-03, with an average dollar benefit of $560 per household. Bond assistance is the most common form of PRSP, but advances on rent or payment of rent arrears, payment of removal expenses or utilities were present to varying degrees in different jurisdictions.
- PRSPs were generally thought by those surveyed to improve access to private rental housing, though there were some concerns about landlords blacklisting those presenting to utilise PRSP.
- Prohibitive on-going rental costs, and lack of budgeting skills in managing rent were also thought to undermine the capacity of private tenants on low incomes to sustain a tenancy but, were not addressed by PRSPs.
- Other gaps in the services available include provision of information and publicity about programmes, problems in eligibility for some low income persons, lack of compensation for moving costs, and no provisions to improve tenant's budgeting skills.