Understanding discrimination effects in private rental housing
Report Private rental

Understanding discrimination effects in private rental housing

Final Report No. 363

Date Published: 02 Sep 2021

Authors: Sophia Maalsen Peta Wolifson Dallas Rogers Jacqueline Nelson Caitlin Buckle

This research examines discrimination and existing policy, law and practice in Australia’s private rental sector (PRS) including the impact of informal tenancies and the increasing role of digital technologies.

Discrimination in the PRS has been exacerbated by the growth of the informal sector, which exposes more people without a legally binding lease to the threat of unregulated rental discrimination and very limited security of tenure and other rights.

Alongside the growth in renting is a rapid increase in digital real estate technologies that have profoundly reshaped how tenants, landlords and agents navigate the PRS. These digital technologies, whether apps, automated management systems or online housing markets, are at risk of reproducing existing and creating new housing inequalities.

The structural nature of discrimination means that its effects are embedded in policy areas that intersect with housing, and therefore discrimination in the PRS cannot be addressed independently of the broader policy landscape. Responses should be holistic, addressing structural discrimination—with attention to health, energy, social security, labour, transport, climate, ageing, immigration and cyber security policies—and multi-scalar, through direct mechanisms to reduce discrimination in the PRS and by reshaping the broader property and rental markets.

DOI: 10.18408/ahuri7324501

Published by: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited

ISSN: 1834-7223

ISBN: 978-1-922498-30-4


Maalsen, S., Wolifson, P., Rogers, D., Nelson, J. and Buckle, C (2021) Understanding discrimination effects in private rental housing, AHURI Final Report No. 363, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne, https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/363, doi:10.18408/ahuri7324501.