The experience and challenges faced by Australian renters with disability have been highlighted in a new report released yesterday.
The report, titled Disrupted: The consumer experience of renting in Australia, is the second of its kind commissioned by CHOICE, National Shelter and The National Association of Tenant Organisations (NATO), revealing rental issues with poor quality homes needing repairs, insecure tenancies and struggles with rental affordability.
Disrupted takes a look at the diverse Australian population living within more than 2.6 million rental households uncovering shocking statistics on people with disability who rent.
A survey of 1,547 renters revealed 16 percent of people with disability have been served with a no-grounds eviction, compared with nine per cent of the rest of the surveyors who rent.
It also highlights people with disability are almost 2.5 times more likely to experience issues with home inspections from their landlord.
Statistics also show almost six in ten (58 percent) renters with disability had to pay for removalists when last moving properties, compared with 46 percent of renters without disability and 92 percent expressed a concern about the ‘stress caused by the effort needed to move’ in their last move compared to 82 percent of the rest of those who rent.
51 year old Thomas living in New South Wales on the disability pension shares his story within the report, living in rental accomodation where a hole remains in his bathroom ceiling, allowing rain to leak in for the last 6 years.
“The ceiling is mouldy, which they [the landlord] say is my responsibility. I complained of a hot water system leak, which they left until the floor swelled and the tiles broke and the cupboards softened,” he explains.
Thomas says he had to stay with a friend for two months while his kitchen was being repaired.
“At a previous flat, termite damage was unrepaired for over a year and then the rent was raised. When I complained I was evicted with 6 weeks notice.”
Chief Executive Officer of Tenants Queensland Penny Carr says it’s simply not good enough.
“You shouldn’t be kicked out of your home because the person who rents it to you can’t be bothered to provide basic maintenance and repairs,” she says.
“Shelter is too important for the livelihood of our families and loved ones - no-grounds evictions must be banned across Australia.”
The rental report was shared on social media, with organisations and people sharing their thoughts.
“We don’t just want safe, secure and affordable housing - we want accessible homes as well. Universal design is better for everyone - not just people with disability,” Every Australian Count says.
“Let’s be clear that it’s systems and policies created by people - that can make people with disability vulnerable. Insecure, inaccessible and expensive housing makes you vulnerable,” @ainehillbilly says.
El Gibbs (@bluntshovels) also took to Twitter to share her renting experience with the #RentInOz hashtag.
“My #RentInOz experiences include having to pay for removalists after a no-grounds eviction - my disability means I can't do much of this myself.”
“I also got needed home modifications knocked back which would have made my home more accessible. This happens far too often.”
Executive Officer of National Shelter, Adrian Pisarski says an united approach is needed to ensure not only people with disability, but all Australians receive the safe, secure and affordable housing they deserve.
“51 percent of Australians who rent are living in homes that need repairs is unacceptable and we need leadership to turn this around,” he says.
“We need a coordinated approach to rental standards, so we can make the relationship between people who rent and those who rent to us a positive one.”
You can read the full report here.