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A fair rent? Facilitating residential tenancy determination through rental data analysis

Both social and mainstream media have highlighted an emergent housing crisis in the private rental system in part created by rental increases that have no relationship to tenant incomes.

This project will examine how Australian and international law deals with rent increases and uses rental bond data to examine the nature of such increases and whether a fair rent benchmark is possible. Finally, it uses the same data to test the rental supply responsiveness to increase in rents.

This project will include:

  1. a review of residential tenancy law across all Australian jurisdictions focusing on the rental increase provisions both for rent increases during tenancy and when properties are relet as a new tenancy.
  2. an overview of how selected other countries legally deal with rent increases in the private sector.
  3. the use of rental bond data from the ACT, Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and (to be negotiated) Western Australia over the last five years to determine what proportion of rent increases maybe ‘excessive’ or ‘unreasonable’ against some market benchmark and to interrogate this subset to ascertain whether they are in specific locations e.g. where rental stock is very scarce, or for what property types.
  4. to evaluate the ability of rental bond data to provide a data base for ‘fair’ or ‘reasonable’ rent increases.
  5. a short and long-term tracking of rent increases (Victoria only) and their relationship to new rental supply to assess to what degree increased rents are effective market signals, the latter in effect a price elasticity exercise.

Lead Researcher: Emeritus Professor Terry Burke, Swinburne University

Project Number: 51319