Perth's high rents and low vacancy rates have been identified as a Senate election campaign issue, with the Greens pledging to strengthen tenants' rights.
WA senator and Greens housing spokesman Scott Ludlam also wants empty commercial buildings converted into low-cost accommodation, citing that in the City of Perth alone potentially hundreds of new apartments could be provided.
The Greens' push coincides with Housing Industry Association figures showing affordability in Perth fell 2.5 per cent in the last quarter of 2013, while across regional WA it fell 6.8 per cent.
It was driven by a fall in earnings for ordinary workers and a 1.7 per cent increase in Perth's median dwelling price.
Senator Ludlam said with the high cost of housing in WA pricing many out of the market, people facing a lifetime of renting needed to have their rights strengthened.
"We have now got a generation of people who will never be able to own their own home," he said. "We need to stop thinking of renters as someone who has less rights than someone who owns their own home."
Among the Greens' proposals are a national body to set standards for "renters rights" covering security of tenure and limiting landlords' powers to push up rents.