Forum looks at SA rental crisis

·2-min read

The South Australian government will use all levers at its disposal to improve the availability and affordability of rental properties, Consumer Affairs Minister Andrea Michaels says.

Ms Michaels convened a forum on Wednesday as part of a review of SA's Residential Tenancies Act.

It brought key stakeholders together to look at a range of issues including rental security for tenants, renting problems for those with pets and recent rent hikes.

"We are currently facing a housing crisis. While the current crisis is largely an issue of supply, I am looking to use the levers at my disposal to improve availability and affordability for South Australian renters," Ms Michaels said.

"The current rental shortage highlights the need for contemporary, effective residential tenancies laws.

"We want to see more landlords in the system without sacrificing the rights of tenants, with a stronger framework that ensures there are safeguards for both tenants and landlords, while making residential properties an attractive form of investment."

Among those at the forum were representatives of the real estate industry and the Landlords' Association along with key welfare groups including Shelter SA and the South Australian Council of Social Service.

However, the Anti-Poverty Network of SA said the forum did not include organisations that directly represented renters.

Spokesperson Pas Forgione said a fully informed review of the Residential Tenancies Act must include the voices of the renters themselves.

"We face an unprecedented rental crisis, with growing numbers of tenants experiencing financial stress, insecurity, and feeling disempowered and vulnerable, with limited and weak legal protections," he said.

"We cannot solve this rental crisis without hearing the stories and the solutions of those most immediately affected.

"People who are trying to keep a roof over their head, who are simply wanting somewhere affordable, dignified, and secure to live."

Shelter SA executive director Alice Clark said the forum was a sensible approach to bringing the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords to the table.

Meanwhile Real Estate Insitute of SA acting chief executive Cain Cooke said the best outcomes would be achieved through positive, pragmatic collaboration and consultation.

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