Vulnerable Private Renters: Evidence and Options

Australia’s private rental market has worked well for most people, most of the time. However, this masks a deterioration in overall housing affordability for vulnerable renters. With vulnerable renters — those who are experiencing social and economic disadvantage — the story is more nuanced. There are a little over one million vulnerable households (2.65 million people) in the private rental market, identified on the basis of being in the bottom 40 per cent of the (equivalised household) income distribution. Vulnerable renters include households with many characteristics associated with disadvantage. The fastest growth in private renting has been among households that include at least one Indigenous person, a person aged over 65 years, or a person with a disability or long-term health condition. The ageing of the population and changing patterns of home ownership will see growth in the latter two groups continue over coming decades. A majority of private renter households with these characteristics also have low incomes.