Rising rents, decreasing vacancies and an increase in no-grounds terminations across Central Western NSW are a huge cause for concern, with the potential to impact housing stability for many vulnerable people in Bathurst and Orange.
According to statistics from VERTO’s Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service (TAAS), the current rental market volatility in the Central West is leading to a rise in issues for tenants.
From the previous year, TAAS has seen an increase of 228 per cent of Orange tenants and a 550 per cent increase of Bathurst tenants contacting VERTO’s TAAS due to the impact on affordability through rent increases.
“These increases are simply not manageable or sustainable for many tenants,” VERTO CEO Ron Maxwell said.
“Many are still feeling the financial impacts of COVID-19 and may already be in rental arrears. The consequences of being unable to afford housing are significant, and include ongoing housing instability and/or homelessness.”
The Bathurst and Orange regions are also experiencing rapidly decreasing rental vacancy rates, with vacancies as low as 0.6 per cent in some areas.
“When you have a situation where rents are rising, and it’s incredibly difficult to find new housing, you, unfortunately, have a perfect storm for many tenants,” Mr. Maxwell said.
No-Grounds Termination Notices, whereby a lease is terminated without reason, are also on the rise across the Central West, with a 200 per cent increase in Bathurst and a 144 per cent increase in Orange. In the last 12 months, one in three tenants who sought assistance from VERTO’s TAAS had received one of these notices.
“Anecdotally, our team are reporting increased anxiety amongst tenants when it comes to requesting maintenance or repairs, worried that the request may lead to a no-grounds termination. This is a concern as we approach the winter months, and heating becomes a necessity,” Mr. Maxwell said.
VERTO’s TAAS is continuing to support growing numbers of tenants facing difficulties, many of whom face additional challenges, such as financial hardship or domestic violence.
“Housing instability, or fear of it, can have a raft of social impacts, particularly for some of the most vulnerable in our community. For those experiencing domestic violence, it may lead to a difficult choice – staying with a perpetrator or sleeping rough; a choice no one should have to make,” Mr. Maxwell said.
VERTO’s TAAS is a free service that provides advice and support to tenants facing rental challenges, helping them understand their rights and responsibilities and explore their options.