More than two million tenants could have their rent level frozen for two years under a radical Victorian plan.
Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed on Sunday that his Labor government was considering the idea, after enforcing a one-year rent freeze in 2019.
‘Having introduced the one-year freeze, and 130 other amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act, we obviously believe that reform in this space was needed,’ he told reporters.
‘I’m the first to say, in so many different areas, there’s always more work to do, you never put a full stop, sort of set and forget.
‘There’s always more that has to be done to protect those who, in any market, have very little power.
‘I’m not ruling out further changes.’
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday confirmed his Labor government was considering the idea of a two-year rent freeze, having introduced a one-year rent freeze in 2019
Mr Andrews, from Labor’s Socialist Left faction, is the first state premier to agree with a Greens idea for a two-year rent freeze.
‘In just a couple of months’ time, we’re going to have a lot to say about this,’ he said.
At a federal level, the Greens have declared they will block the government’s $10billion Housing Australia Future Fund, which promises 30,000 new social housing units, unless it also agreed to freeze rents for two years.
Queensland has, since July, copied Victoria and imposed a one-year rent freeze but Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has not backed a Greens bill to impose a two-year rent freeze.
The Australian Capital Territory is the only place in Australia where landlords are restricted in what they can charge tenants when a lease is renewed.
While it doesn’t have a rent freeze, Labor Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s ACT government has, since 2019, stopped investors from increasing rents by more than 10 per cent above inflation.
With inflation at 5.6 per cent, rent rises can only go 0.56 above that to a maximum of 6.16 per cent.
Federal Housing Minister Julie Collins last month declared such rent controls were a bad idea because they discouraged investors from renting out a property, which in turn reduced supply and forced up market prices.
‘The overwhelming evidence suggests that it doesn’t work,’ she told ABC Insiders host David Speers.
‘It does work in a little way but overall, evidence and data shows that it doesn’t work long term.
‘What it shows long term is – in terms of what the experts are telling us – is that it reduces supply.’
At a federal level, the Greens have declared they will block Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s $10billion Housing Australia Future Fund, to build 30,000 new social housing units, unless it agreed to freeze rents for two years (pictured is federal Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather, left, with state Greens MP Amy MacMahon)
Should the Andrews Government introduce a two-year rent freeze, two million renters would benefit.
Victoria is home to 6.704million and in the 2021 Census, 28.5 per cent of its residents in the 2021 Census lived in rental accommodation.
Melbourne house and unit rents together have increased by 19.9 per cent during the past year to $582.50 a week, SQM Research data showed.
But it is far cheaper than Sydney, where $784 is the median weekly rent, following an annual rise of 20.6 per cent.
Rent is also much cheaper than Brisbane, where $618 is the mid-point, after a 14.3 per cent rise, and Perth, where tenants pay $619 following a 17.1 per cent increase.
The Victorian capital, however, is marginally dearer than Adelaide where $530 is the typical rent and Hobart where tenants are paying $495 a week.