General News

Rent stress, cost of living pressures forcing Tasmanians into cars as winter approaches

Tracey Ransley had no choice but to leave the house she’d lived in for more than a decade when her landlord suggested raising the rent by $90 a week.

Most important points:

The tenants’ union says that Hobart’s rents will increase by 27 pc in five years. have risen and by 45 pc. Statewide. Now sleeps in her car with her two dogs after she can’t afford the rent increase

Since she already relied on her brother for help paying the rent, the new asking price of $450 a week was way out of her reach.

Unable to find a new rental home, the 53-year-old was evicted from her Rokeby home last month and now lives in her car with her two dogs, parked in her boyfriend’s driveway.

“She lets me shower there and do my laundry, and if it’s too cold, she lets me stay inside and sleep, but it’s hard,” she said.

Life in her car is “hard” and “scary” for Tracey, who has diabetes, high blood pressure, and chronic arthritis.

“I don’t feel comfortable. My stress levels are sky-high. I take antidepressants to keep my levels low.”

Her searches for affordable private rental housing in the area have not been successful, and the waiting lists for social housing are long.

“I’ve worked out my budget; if I have to afford between $250 and $300 a week, so be it, but I can’t go beyond that,” she said.

“I have yet to live.”

People give up food and electricity to cover the rent

Cate Brown-Clark, the manager of the Rokeby Neighborhood Center, said that people who had to give up essential things to pay the rent or had to move were something she saw often.

“We have young people who want to be independent and look for a place to live, but they have to get by on $500 or $600 a fortnight,” she said.

Rokeby Neighborhood House manager Cate Brown-Clark says demand for food aid has risen 40 percent since Christmas. (ABC News: Laura Beavis)

“Even with a housing allowance, it’s only about $760, and how is that supposed to rent them a house and start their independence for the rest of their lives? They can’t.”

Ms. Brown-Clark said the food aid distributed by the center had risen 40 percent since Christmas as people struggle to cope with the increased cost of living.

Rent stress

She said those who struggled were a man who lived nearby and had been without power for three months.

“He can’t afford them both; he can’t afford electricity and rent,” she said.

“And of course, with the cost of living from food, that won’t be feasible for him any time soon either, so we supplemented his food and helped him that way.”

Fighting rent increases ‘very hard.’

Tenants’ union chief attorney Ben Bartl said average rents in Hobart had risen 27 percent in the past five years and 45 percent statewide.

Mr. Bartl said tenants could challenge “unreasonable” rent increases — which exceed the property’s market value — with the Residential Tenancy Commissioner. Still, he said the hot rental market made it incredibly difficult for tenants to prove rent increases were unfair.

“With the skyrocketing rents, it’s very difficult to challenge unreasonable rent increases,” he said.

Mr. Bartl said recent data shows an increase in people moving to East Coast suburbs such as Rokeby after being priced out of the Hobart market, leading to dramatic price increases and people moving further and further out of the market. The city ​​had to move to pay for a rental house. †

The Tenants’ Union is pushing for a limit on rent increases, controls on short-term housing, and measures to encourage vacant homes to be rented out as long-term rentals.

He said the increased costs of the private rental market and high demand for public and short-term housing meant people often had no choice but to pay the rent increases.

‘No choice’ but cop increases.

Karen Cranfield fears having to cut back on food to afford another rent increase. (ABC News: Laura Beavis)

Rokeby resident Karen Cranfield said she has “no choice but to find the money” after being told her weekly rent would increase by $130 in August, the third price increase in five years.

The mother of four paid $320 a week for the property when she moved there in 2018, but that will rise to $550 in just a few months.

“I must sign this lease because I’m afraid I’ll also live on the street with my four boys… we’ll have to find the money,” she said.

“I see no other option to do anything other than that.

“I worry every year when I have to re-sign my lease about the increase in my lease.”

Ms. Cranfield said nearly all her salary was already going toward rent. She would be forced to get creative to find the extra cash, including taking up different services and lowering the family’s grocery bill.

Tracey Ransley says her stress levels are “sky high.” (ABC News: Laura Beavis)

Treasurer Michael Ferguson said the government is “doing what we can” to support families, including encouraging emergency relief and supportive accommodation.

Ferguson said regulating rent increases “would swing the pendulum so far against the interests of property owners” that they would sell their property and not make it available for rent.

“The best way to tackle the rising costs of housing and rents is to give more people the opportunity to build more supply, so it takes some of the pressure off,” he said.

Want more Tasmanian news?

Set the ABC News website or app to “Tasmania Top Stories” from the home page or settings menu in the app to continue getting the same national news but with a pinch of more relevant state stories.

Here’s a taste of the latest stories from Tasmania:

Dorothy R. Barrett

I’m a full-time blogger by passion. This is my first blog, and I'm excited to share everything that I love about technology, business, and lifestyle with you. I’m a writer by trade, and I can be found writing about tech, business, and lifestyle on my personal blog.

Related Articles

Back to top button