Rental crisis inquiry must be wake-up call for Victorian Labor to stand up to property industry


The Victorian Greens have warned that until the Victorian Labor Government stands up to the property industry and implements urgent rent controls, thousands of renters will continue to face housing stress and homelessness.

The Greens say a lack of public and genuinely affordable housing and unlimited rent hikes have pushed many to the brink, and that it would only get worse without urgent action.

Earlier today, the parliamentary inquiry into Victoria’s rental crisis heard from Melbourne renters who painted a heart-breaking picture of what it looks like to be a renter in Victoria right now:

  • Like Angela, who spends 94 per cent of her income on rent knowing her savings won’t last forever. She told the inquiry she often looked at railway bridges to see if there was a safe place she could camp when she eventually became homeless.
  • Or Tarek, who spends more than 46 per cent of their income on rent and has been forced to give up on ‘luxuries’ like health insurance, a gym membership, and decent food.
  • Or Tim, who told the inquiry he’d been living in rentals for 35 of the past 42 years, and that when interest rates were going down rapidly, his rent was going up faster than inflation.
  • Or Erin who had mushrooms growing in her bathroom and whose landlord pretended to be a qualified maintenance person.

Victorian Greens renters’ rights spokesperson, Gabrielle de Vietri, said unlimited rent increases should be illegal and that it was disappointing the Government continued to ignore the growing chorus of renters crying out for support.

She said it was time the Government stopped caving to pressure from their property developer and investor mates, and instead implemented the reforms needed to address the worsening crisis, like rent controls and an end to no grounds evictions, even at the end of a lease.

Last week, the Government said rent controls were off the table as part of their upcoming housing statement, a gutless decision and clear sop to the property industry.

This is despite the fact, as a recent Guardian Essential poll has revealed, that three in four Australians support rent controls.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens renters’ rights spokesperson, Gabrielle de Vietri MP: 

“By continuing to cave to the property industry, Labor is locking in ongoing misery for thousands of Victorians who rent.

“It’s clear the majority of Australians support rent controls, yet Labor would prefer to throw renters to the wolves if it helps protect their property developer and investor mates.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix the housing crisis with the Government’s upcoming housing statement, and they’re already failing to deliver.

“The only way to prevent more renters from facing housing stress or homelessness is to implement rent controls, and build more public and affordable homes.”