Rental stress hits Hume


Michaela Meade

Lockdown has impacted city of Hume residents’ ability to pay their rent, new data reveals.

The Tenants Victoria data, released late last month, examined the impact of Victoria’s fifth lockdown in July on renters’ ability to pay their rent.

Tenants Victoria identified the city of Hume as a rental stress hotspot after more than half of the respondents to its survey reported rental stress.

Sixty-three per cent of respondents in Hume reported trouble making payments during the fifth lockdown.

The municipality was listed as the third highest local government area (LGA) for rental stress.

Great Dandenong took out the top spot, with 67 per cent of respondents reporting rental stress.

Tenants Victoria said landlords’ and real estate agents’ attitudes were a key factor in renters’ ability to manage their financial situation when it came to their rent.

Tenants Victoria chief executive Jennifer Beveridge said the organisation was “really worried” about the extent of rent stress in the community.

“People’s financial struggles have really accelerated as a result of public health lockdowns,” Ms Beveridge said.

‘Significant numbers of Victorian renters are telling us they are struggling to pay their rent and they face the very real risk of eviction at a time when, for the sake of our health, we are still being directed to stay at home.

“The policy response from the Victorian government must include the suspension of evictions during a lockdown period and financial grants for renters.”

Respondents to the survey were asked to share their own experience of renting during the pandemic.

One renter said: “I have had to rely on my savings to pay my rent… I am 49, have no income and do not own a home”.

“I only have $30,000 superannuation. I will end up homeless when I retire.”

Tenants Victoria community engagement director Farah Farouque said: “We need to strengthen the safety net available to struggling renters or else we run the risk of creating a whole new class of vulnerable Victorians.”