Housing crisis in regional NSW: What can be done?
Recently the Tenants’ Union of NSW provided a submission to the NSW Regional Housing Taskforce.
Regional NSW is in the midst of housing crisis, and its impact is being felt particularly by households who rent their homes. In our submission we provide data on the record low vacancy rates and the sharp increases in market rent in the private rental sector across regional NSW. We identify a number of key drivers of this trend, and outline the various ways in which the crisis is being experienced by renters, including
- an increased use of ‘no grounds’ eviction
- privacy concerns and the experience of discrimination during the application process
- pressure on renters to engage in ‘rent bidding’
- difficulty securing alternative accommodation
- eviction into homelessness.
There are no easy or quick solutions to the general housing crisis, and the various problems being experienced by renters across the private rental sector in the regions. This requires a longer-term strategy and a significant commitment of resources. Additionally, while the planning system must be part of any longer-term response, increasing housing supply and streamlining and/or removing impediments within the planning system will not alone address the housing crisis. A much broader response and commitments across government are required to deliver on the secure, affordable, and liveable housing that the NSW Government has committed to delivering.
What can be done?
Our recommendations to the taskforce include:
Delivering a significant increase to the social and affordable housing in regional NSW
This can be achieved through substantial investment in public and community housing required; mandatory inclusionary zoning targets; open data regarding social housing portfolio and the private rental sector; and consideration of how to support the establishment of community land trusts and co-operatives
Reform of NSW tenancy law reform
Current tenancy law should be reformed to remove unfair 'no grounds’ eviction provisions; and introduce an explicit ban on ‘rent bidding’ in NSW tenancy law