Rent Hike Holiday

Press Release: January 2009

The Tenants’ Union of Tasmania calls for landlords to retain rents at current rates, and give tenants a break from the relentless chain of rent increases over the last five years.

Sandy Duncanson, Principal Solicitor of the Tenants’ Union said:

‘Rents have been going up at around 10% per year for over 5 years, way beyond increases in household income, particularly for pensioners. Property owners have justified the increases by reference to increases in council rates, land tax, and interest rate rises. Those expenses should have flattened out this year, and interest rates have dropped dramatically, and so if anything, tenants should be given a reduction in rent.’

In 1996 the average rent in Tasmania was $125 per week. In 2001 it was $150 per week. According to statistics kept by the Tenants’ Union the average rent in Tasmania is currently is over $280 per week.

Increases in Council rates and land tax are calculated according to the increase in value of the property, and could only be considered as liabilities in the short-term. Those increases in expenses for the property owner are more than made up by the capital gain of the property. Despite this, the Tenants’ Union has found that landlords often passed these expenses straight on to tenants.

Sandy Duncanson continued:

‘Property values have settled now in Tasmania at an average of $250,000. A mortgage on that property will have fallen 2.5% in the last 3 months, which is a saving to the landlord of around $92 per week. Perhaps landlords should start thinking about passing this saving on to tenants.’

Other States and Territories in Australia regulate the rate at which rent can be increased. Tasmania has the poorest regulation of rent increases, and tenants must make a claim in the Magistrates Court, at enormous cost, if they feel that an increase is unreasonable.

February 2009 update: Interest rates fell by another one percent.