Rent Control Explained: What It Is, Why Aussies Want It, and What You Can Do

Ripley’s Believe It or Not: Renters are actually human beings. They have thoughts and feelings. They can sing in the shower and quote Blade Runner in the rain. What’s more, these folks don’t like being exploited. 

Yet, as it stands, Australian renters are buckwild easy to milk. This is because there’s currently no cap on how much their rent can be raised by. If a landlord gives the right amount of notice, they can raise the price of one’s unit by $500 per week.

Now, if it’s not self-evident, this practice is bad. It turns everyday people into poverty-stricken messes. If your rent shoots up, you can go from feeding your family to stealing carrots at a self-service machine.  

According to Finder’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker, 45% of Australian renters struggled to pay their rent in April. That’s a lot of people on the verge of collapse. 

Understandably, this situation has many a renter upset. According to a January survey, 83% of 395 Australian renters believed that some of our capital cities need some rent control programs in place. Rent control programs are governmental schemes that limit how much a landlord can increase the price of their properties.

However, it’s unlikely that any rent control programs will come about soon. Well, at least on a national scale.

On March 29, our Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, called the idea of creating a nationalised rent freeze scheme “pixie dust.” And if Albanese thinks that a rent freeze is magic, then he probably thinks that rent controls are a type of science fiction. 

So, what can you do if your landlord skyrockets your rent? Whelp, unfortunately, not a whole lot. Yet, be that as it may, Finder’s Richard Whitten does have some tips.

“If you’re dealt a rental increase, start a conversation with your landlord or real estate agent about what is reasonable,” said Whitten. “If you’ve been renting in the same place for a while and you pay your rent on time, you might be in a stronger negotiating position than you think.”

“Remember, a reliable, long-term tenant offers peace of mind to a landlord. You can lean on that when trying to sign a new lease.”

Additionally, if you care about this issue, scream about it from the rooftops. Write to your representatives, and yes, that actually works. Renters can’t go quietly into the good night. ‘Cause if they did, our landlords would have nothing to squeeze.

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