FOR RELEASE: 25 February 2019
Renters must be at centre of reforms, CPRC report finds
Consumer think-tank launches latest research report – The Renter’s Journey – at CPRC Policy Connect Series forum
• 5 common challenges
• 10 key policy implications
• 20+ organisations involved in research process
Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC) today released its latest research report – The Renter’s Journey – following the rental experiences of four key groups of renters: women aged 55 and over, low income families, newly arrived migrants and young renters.
“Australian consumers are spending more money and time renting than ever before,” said CPRC CEO, Lauren Solomon. “Our rental market must be effective, fair and inclusive to ensure a sustainable, affordable and healthy community.”
“An ongoing supply-side focus from policymakers on housing has meant that the lived experiences of renters have often been overshadowed. Renters and those that support them, have told us that it’s not just about affordability, but also the type of housing, the quality, the location and services nearby that matters.”
Working with over 20 organisations on the frontline of tenant support in Victoria, CPRC Senior Research and Policy Officer, Dr Steven Curry undertook customer journey mapping with four key groups of renters, exploring common and unique experiences and pain points.
The Renter’s Journey maps the lived experience of renters at each stage of the process from searching and applying, right through to resolving problems and exiting. Common challenges across all groups included:
- finding homes that meet renters’ needs
- complex and time-consuming application processes
- significant transaction and moving costs
- difficulty in exercising rights
- an inadequate safety net for those falling behind
Nation-leading reforms introduced in Victoria last year such as ‘no grounds eviction’, outlawing of rental auctions and capacity to make modifications will be key to addressing some of the power imbalance between renters and landlords.
“What’s important now is that renters in other states are afforded similar protections. We also see great opportunities in focusing on improvements to information disclosure in search stage, increasing transparency and fairness in the application process and for all stakeholders to look for solutions to smoothing moving costs,” said Dr Curry.
“These challenges are not unique to Victoria, consultation with our stakeholders and CHOICE research¹ has demonstrated these are key ongoing concerns for renters nationally, with many people in very difficult situations.”
“A lack of effective solutions places strain on the public system, with tenants experiencing unnecessary barriers to home ownership, poor health outcomes and significant stress and anxiety. Our research has flipped the policy conversation to place the consumer at its centre. The conversation must continue with effective implementation of the Residential Tenancies Act reforms critical to improving outcomes for some of our most vulnerable people.”
CPRC is launching the report today at the first CPRC Policy Connect Series forum for 2019, bringing together government, the community sector, industry and academia to discuss consumer-centred policy reform and innovation in the Australian private rental system.
Key speakers include The Hon Marlene Kairouz, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation; Dr Heather Holst, Victorian Commissioner for Residential Tenancies; Emma King, CEO of Victorian Council of Social Services; Justin Butterworth, Founder and CEO, Snug.com; and Simon Cohen, Deputy Secretary - Regulation within the Victorian State Department of Justice and Community Safety, among many others.
Read the report here
The Renter’s Journey is the foundational CPRC housing research report, the first in a series exploring the current housing market in Australia through a consumer lens.
Lauren Solomon is available for interview on request, along with case studies from the report.
About Consumer Policy Research Centre
Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC) was established with seed funding by the Victorian Government in December 2016. An independent, not-for-profit, evidence-based consumer think tank, we are committed to driving changes in policy and business practice that improve the lives, welfare and experiences of all consumers.
We work across the sectors and the disciplines, tackling some of the most significant challenges facing consumers today including technological disruption and data, effective competition and consumer decision-making and housing.
Our team is comprised of curious, committed and collaborative people with expertise spanning public policy, consumer engagement and outreach, regulation, ethics, philosophy, psychology and social policy.
We recognise the importance of diversity in skills and understanding when tackling complex policy challenges, and this is a significant reason we often collaborate through our work – building shared understanding of benefits and risks of various approaches to consumer policy.
¹National Shelter, CHOICE and the National Association of Tenants Organisations (2018) Disrupted: The consumer experience of renting in Australia, https://www.choice.com.au/- /media/cb55695ea54d4f928802aa78b1b9c60a.ashx?la=en