MEDIA RELEASE: Community groups condemn mock rent increase notices and negative gearing scare tactics

Housing, homelessness and community peaks today condemned the use of mock rent increase notices as election material, which target people already living in rental stress.

The groups said that the mock notices distributed to renters by the LNP are grossly misleading and likely to cause unnecessary anxiety amongst vulnerable renters.

ACOSS, National Shelter, the National Association of Tenant Organisations, Homelessness Australia, Everybody’s Home and the Community Housing Industry Association are calling for an end to scare tactics around negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions.

“We strongly condemn the use of mock rent increase notices which target people who already live in rental stress. Renters in Australia already face some of weakest regulatory protections, from which landlords currently benefit. Many tenants have faced repeated rent hikes which cause deep financial stress,” ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said.

The Chair of the National Association of Tenants Organisations, Penny Carr, said:

“This kind of political tactic is irresponsible and deliberately designed to alarm renters, including many who are already deeply concerned about paying the rent every week or in fear of unfair evictions by their landlord.”

Shelter CEO Adrian Pisarski said the current tax concessions for housing investors have driven up house prices and rents and should be wound back.

“We have together advocated for reforms to housing tax concessions for more than a decade. These concessions overwhelmingly benefit higher income households, do nothing to increase the supply of housing and are unsustainable”, said Mr Pisarski.

“There is no evidence to suggest that rents would increase as a result of Labor’s proposed reforms. To the contrary, these changes are likely to reduce pressure on the housing market, improving affordability for both buyer and renters.

“Labor’s proposal will not apply to properties that are currently negatively geared, so existing investors will not be affected. Instead of scare campaigns we need to pursue a sensible reset of these concessions so that our housing system works for everyone.”

CEO of the Community Housing Industry Association, Wendy Hayhurst, said the property and real estate industries were lone voices in their opposition to reforming investor tax breaks.

“Two thirds of voters support government investment in social and affordable housing over negative gearing tax breaks for property investors,” Ms Hayhurst said.

“We need proper bipartisan support for policies that will address all pressure points in our housing system.”

Homelessness Australia Chair Jenny Smith said that the campaign scare tactics would instil fear in people at risk of homelessness.

“The major parties should be offering hope to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in this Election, not creating fear. That means putting homes ahead of investment portfolios, making renting fairer for tenants, investing in more social and affordable housing for the 811,000 households struggling in the private rental market, and developing a national plan to end homelessness in Australia.”

“We appeal to all political parties and candidates in the last days of the Election campaign not to exploit the fears of vulnerable people with misleading scare tactics.”

Everybody’s Home spokesperson, Kate Colvin, said:

“What renters need right now is more social and affordable rental supply, and an increase in commonwealth rent assistance. These should be top priorities for the next federal government.”

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