Young people and the rental crisis

Renters are younger, move more often, and are more likely to have lower incomes and lower wealth. This makes them vulnerable to rising rents and cost-of-living pressures.1 Access to safe and secure housing is a fundamental human right providing young people with the foundation to live independent and fulfilling lives. And without access to safe and secure housing options, we know many young people fall into homelessness.2 

Key hanging in a lock on a door, with greenery in the background

Housing in Victoria

Young people are finding it increasingly difficult to access safe and secure housing. This is because: 

  • The market’s competitive. There’s limited rentals available, with a record low vacancy rate of 1.0% in Victoria. This creates an increasingly competitive rental market.3 

  • There’s housing insecurity. Victoria has the highest rate of month-by-month leases, with 22% of renters facing tenure insecurity. Young renters are also likely to move more often, with many young people spending on average less than one year in a rental property.4 

  • Living conditions aren’t up to standard. Young people report being too wary of rent increases or evictions to request housing repairs from property managers, meaning many live in unsuitable dwellings.5 

  • Safety concerns. The lack of affordable housing means young people affected by family violence have fewer options for independent living outside their family of origin.

  • Dwellings are overcrowded. Just over half (51%) of young people experiencing homelessness aged 12 to 24 years are living in severely crowded dwellings.7 

  • Rents are rising. Melbourne’s average rental is $526 per week, up 11% from the previous year.8 A single ‘independent’ young person aged 18 will receive $562.80 per fortnight in Youth Allowance(as of March 2023).2 

  • New lettings are unaffordable. In the December quarter of 2022, only 11.9% of all new lettings across Victoria were affordable to low-income households, with just 0.9% of one-bedroom dwellings affordable to singles on a Centrelink income.9 

What can our government do?

YACVic calls on the Victorian government to take immediate action to support young people experiencing housing stress.  

This is a big tall apartment block

What do we want?

  • Outcomes-focused solutions like more investment in affordable housing. 

  • Championing more substantial increases in Commonwealth Rent Assistance, Youth Allowance and Jobseeker that go beyond the 2023 Federal budget announcements

  • A rental income subsidy for social housing providers, to reduce financial barriers when housing young people with lower rental incomes. 

  • Regulate renters application processes to improve renter’s rights and restrict agents and landlords from accepting unsolicited higher bids. 

  • Introduce reforms to cap rent rises; currently rents can only be raised once a year, but there’s no limit to how much they’re raised. 

  • Stricter enforcement of the minimum standards for rental properties, as outlined by Consumer Affairs Victoria, to ensure better quality housing for renters.10 

  • A Victorian Youth Homelessness Strategy, with a youth housing guarantee that ensures all young people have access to safe and secure housing. 

Where can I find out more?

  1. Agarwal, N., Gao, R., & Garner, M. (2023, March). Renters, Rent Inflation and Renter Stress. Reserve Bank of Australia Bulletin.  

  2. Longview and PEXA. (2023, March). Private renting in Australia- a broken system.  

  3. Domain Research. (2023, February). Vacancy rates: January 2023. january-2023-1192737/ 

  4. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2022, July). Housing Mobility and Conditions.  

  5. Yu, A. (2023, March 12). Melbourne renters struggle to secure a suitable place to live as a rental market crisis continues. ABC News. 

  6. Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. (2023, April). What are the real costs of the housing crisis for Australia’s young people? 

  7. Ibid.    

  8. CoreLogic. (2023, April). Quarterly Rental Review Report.  

  9. Department of Families, Fairness and Housing. (2022, December). Rental report statistics- December quarter 2022.  

  10. Consumer Affairs Victoria. (2023, February). Rental properties- minimum standards.