AHURI Research Webinar Series

COVID-19 and Australian renters

Friday 27 November at 12pm (AEDT)

Register here

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent economic and social lockdown, has rapidly changed our housing system: the way we use our homes, our ability to afford them, and the role of government safety nets. The rental sector, where almost a third of Australians live—and where 20 per cent of Australians invest—has been dramatically affected. Large numbers of renting households have been thrown into precarious employment, or even unemployment, with many now finding it difficult to make housing payments. In this new AHURI webinar, we present the findings from two new research projects examining housing policy responses to COVID-19.

The first project — Renting in the time of COVID-19: understanding the impacts — is led by Professor Emma Baker of the University of Adelaide. This report examines how the economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has placed many in the rental market at risk; they face uncertainty, tenure insecurity and financial hardship. Guided by the needs of policy, this project rapidly generates a nationwide dataset and essential reporting on the impact of COVID-19 on tenants.

The second project — Post pandemic landlord-renter relationships in Australia — is led by Dr David Oswald of RMIT University. This project provides insight into the economic and mental well-being of landlords and tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The different forms of government support across various states are analysed, with recommendations into how and where housing policy could be further developed to assist the landlord-renter relationship.

The webinar will include two research presentations, followed by an industry response from Leo Patterson Ross of Tenants' Union of NSW, and an audience Q&A facilitated by AHURI’s Executive Director, Dr Michael Fotheringham.


Emma BakerProf Emma Baker, University of Adelaide

Emma Baker is Professor of Housing Research at the University of Adelaide, and Deputy Director of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence for Healthy Housing. Her research examines the cumulative effects of housing, environmental, locational and socioeconomic vulnerabilities on wellbeing, with particular interests in utilising large longitudinal, administrative datasets to create knowledge that responds to real policy problems. She is currently leading the construction of a national rental housing conditions dataset and has a track record of successful collaboration with industry, government and non-government organisations. Recent academic and policy publications include commissioned policy background papers for the planning and housing strategies, a big data analysis of long run housing trajectories in Australia,  an analysis of the effects of cold housing on individual health, and papers analysing the cumulative influence of multiple housing problems on health and wellbeing.

David Oswald

Dr David Oswald, RMIT University

Dr. Oswald is a Lecturer and Deputy Program Manager within the School of Property, Construction and Project Management at RMIT University.

He has received awards for his work on health, safety and well-being within the built environment, and has published over 30 peer-reviewed publications.


Leo Patterson Ross

Leo Patterson Ross, Tenants' Union of New South Wales

Leo has used his career working for housing justice in roles across community development and tenant advocacy. At the Tenants' Union of NSW he has spent more than a decade assisting renters, their advocates and the broader public understand and navigate the housing system. He is a leading public advocate analysing and speaking to the experience of renters in NSW and Australia, appearing across media, government inquiries and conferences.


Michael FotheringhamDr Michael Fotheringham, Executive Director, AHURI (facilitator)

Michael is a research and policy development specialist with experience in a wide range of areas including housing and homelessness, public health, urban and community services planning. After joining the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute in 2014, he was appointed Executive Director in 2017 and is now responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Institute and leading the development of a contemporary and policy relevant evidence-base on housing, homelessness and urban issues.

Michael has expertise in building research programs and policy agendas with not-for-profit, government and academic organisations. He currently serves on a variety of expert advisory panels including the Australian Government’s Smart Cities Reference Group, the Housing Supply Expert Panel, the Queensland Housing and Homelessness Research Alliance, The Urban Futures and Sustainable Living Expert Research Advisory Group, and the Homes for Homes Housing Advisory Group.