Renters tired of being "viewed as second class citizens"

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While housing affordability and property taxes have been a major part of this year’s election campaign, results from a new survey show a large proportion of Australians who currently rent property feel their needs have been ignored.  

According to the 2016 Federal Election Survey from rental portal, 83% of renters believe their needs have not been acknowledged by the major political parties during the election campaign and feel unsupported as renters living in Australia.

More than half of tenants (57.5%) believe that renting is still not an accepted lifestyle choice in Australia and chief executive officer Mark Woschnak said the survey’s result show that a significant portion of the Australian population feel as if their decision to live in a rental means they are not entitled to the same respect as homeowners.

"Our data confirms renters are tired of being viewed as second class citizens and disregarded as not having the same respect towards their property as an owner. A rental property is a person’s home and lifestyle choice. A more balanced view is required and we're committed to proactively addressing it,” Woschnak said.

"While housing affordability remains a major priority, renters are also calling for improved services, more options and the acceptance of renting as a respected lifestyle choice, as it is in other parts of the world, he said.

According to the survey, 95% of tenants believe rents are too high and more than a quarter (26.6%) of current tenants have no intention of ever buying their own home.

"Australia’s seven million renters make up a significant proportion of around 30% of the population and this number is steadily increasing,” Woschnak said.

"This upward trajectory in renter demographics, particularly in the 18-35 age range reflects a growing market, and one in need of more advocacy and recognition.”

As part of their election campaign, the Labor Party has indicated they will work to introduce national minimum rental standards in areas such as rental contract lengths, fair processes where landlords seek termination and ways to provide greater freedom of choice for tenants, and while tenants may feel their needs at present are being ignored, Woschnak said there may be light at the end of tunnel.

"Renting has long been a major part of the real estate industry, albeit largely overlooked and underserviced when compared to the property sales and home buying sector, and looks set to increase in its importance and prominence.

"In Australia, we appear to be at a point of increased momentum in the vocalisation of the needs of renters and we're seeing a shift from the traditional stereotypes that have existed around home ownership. There is no doubt that an increase in housing affordability issues, job mobility, lifestyle and investment preferences, is causing this trend.”

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