Affordable Housing: Defining the issue
Questions answered in this section
What do you mean by 'affordable housing'?
What are the big issues facing young people when it comes to affordable housing?
You've probably heard a lot of buzz around 'affordable housing' in the media lately. Negative gearing, the cost of housing, and investment properties are all reported on constantly, and seem to be the topic of conversation at many dinner parties.
Affordable housing basically just refers to the need to have a place to live that you can afford. For some people, this relates to owning a home. For most people, it's really just about being able to afford rent. As property demand increases, the price of housing goes up. In Australia, a quarter of low-income households pay over 50% of their income on rent.
Because buying a house is becoming less and less possible for many young people, most people will spend a large part of their life (if not their whole life) renting. This means the rental system needs to be able to provide secure housing options and, at the moment, this isn't the case.
Home owners have more rights than renters
For many renters, the landlord or property owner has many more rights than the tenant (the person who actually lives in the dwelling). The landlord controls how long a tenant can stay in a property, how much rent they pay, and when the tenant has to leave. They also control the upkeep of the property, which means the tenant has little control over fixing or maintaining essential things like plumbing, utilities, and roofing.
When you make a complaint, you could get evicted
For renters, there is little choice when a landlord isn't helping you resolve issues. If you make a complaint about them, they have the right to kick you out and find someone else to live in their place. So what do you do? Live in bad conditions or risk getting thrown out?
Social housing is being cut, while demand increases
The government DO have solutions in place for dealing with high rental prices. Social housing (or public housing) is provided by the government and the cost is subsidised so that you only pay what you can afford. Unfortunately, the government has been reducing the amount of social housing available and at the same time the demand for social housing is on the rise. Wait lists for social housing are sometimes up to ten years...!