Age pensioners' housing woes worsen

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Australia’s housing affordability crisis worsens each year, and the latest damning report on rental affordability reveals how shockingly few affordable homes are available for age pensioners and low-income earners.

The Anglicare 2018 Rental Affordability Index takes a snapshot of thousands of properties listed for rent around Australia. It then measures this against the 14 types of households on low incomes. These include single parents, people receiving Disability Support Pensions, Newstart, the Age Pension and those earning minimum wage.

Of the 67,365 properties listed for rent across Australia, just over 1 per cent were affordable for a single person receiving the Age Pension and, perhaps more disturbingly, only three were affordable for a single person receiving Newstart.

Currently, there are around 250,000 Australians on a full Age Pension renting their home.

YourLifeChoices research shows that the largest source of income for 40 per cent of the 5500 respondents the Age Pension, and just under 10 per cent of them rent privately, with many saying they often run out of money prior to each pension payment.

The Anglicare report states: “The paucity of properties affordable and suitable for single people on the Aged Pension is cause for alarm. It reflects the flaws in the system, where the Aged Pension is now really only viable to live on if you are living in and have paid off your own home. Concerns about the sharp rise in the number of older women experiencing homelessness correlate with this finding.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of homeless people between 2011 and 2016 rose from 102,000 to over 116,000.

Low-income earners and age pensioners are not only competing with each other for scarce accommodation, but also with the one in three Australians currently renting, many of whom are on much higher incomes.

“Australia’s housing market is a catastrophe so dire that it has become an international joke,” writes Executive Director of Anglicare, Kasy Chambers.

“Sydney and Melbourne now outstrip London, New York and Los Angeles for expensive housing.”

Rent prices have increased on average by 3.3 per cent across the country.

Anglicare puts the onus for this crisis on the Government’s policies that have, so far, only served to benefit housing investors.

According to the report snapshot: “The idea was that supporting people to invest in houses and rent them out through the private market would provide more homes more efficiently than governments directly building or subsidising low-cost public or other forms of affordable housing.

“But these policies haven’t worked. The result is that thousands of Australians have been priced out of either renting or buying.”

This too, is reflected in the rapidly rising number of elderly homeless people.

“People on the lowest incomes, who only have the option to rent, are the hardest hit. The Federal Government spends billions more on subsidising wealth accumulation for property investors than it does on public housing and homelessness services. We need to reverse this situation, and act now to create enough affordable and secure homes for people on low incomes, including those who are already homeless,” the report said.

How does this affect you? What proportion of your income do you pay in rent?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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165 Comments

Total Comments: 165
  1. 0
    0

    just me and adult disabled daughter now, rent takes up nearly all my carer payment living on daughters disability is a struggle with disability expenses on top of everything else. now my health issues means I am trapped in the house if I cant drive. we have 50.00 to much for govt housing. not a nice neighbourhood we were broken into. I fear the future so much I feel sick

    • 0
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      tisme…I am sorry to hear of your terrible plight but at least your are living in public housing…many low income Australians are on long waiting lists for public housing.

      Australia needs to STOP spending tax payer money on useless causes such as $50 million on a Captain Cook statue. Such money could go toward building more public housing for the poor not the rich.

    • 0
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      A young person, acquaintance of mine, got a public housing property amazingly quickly. She even got an option of 2 places (one of which was pretty central!). She now lives in an almost new property. I think some ‘conditions’ get you up the queue quicker. This young person suffers from depression.

    • 0
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      Tisme Sorry to hear of your plight At leats you have public housing.. Have you tried for a transfer?

    • 0
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      tisme,
      approach Anglicare or the Salvation Army in your area one of them should be able to put you in touch with a local organisation that may be able to help you with transport for both you and your daughter.
      We are rural but I still have someone come and pick me up to take me to doctors appointments etc. it does cost money but far less than a taxi.
      I am very sorry to hear you are in this predicament through no fault of your own and I feel the governments, both state and federal, have allowed too many people who desperately need help to fall through the cracks.

    • 0
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      I know a girl who has been faking disability for 30 years. She has a lifetime right to public housing in NSW despite having inherited more than $1 million recently. No wonder there is a housing crisis?

    • 0
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      Rainey didn’t your parents warn you about bad company. You know some dodgy people.

    • 0
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      Rainey I have to say I’ve never met anyone who has been on disability for 30 years with a million dollars it must be just you and your friends. Perhaps you should call the police? Unless of course she knows something about you you would rather not share with the police?

    • 0
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      OnlyGenuineRainey…..I doubt your friend has been faking their illness. Many people with mental illnesses do look normal and healthy.

      If they did inherit $I mill recently advise them to move out and buy their own property. Maybe you can help them because mentally they may not be coping.

    • 0
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      No Jackie. Nothing wrong with this very cunning criminal. She has it all sewn up. What she has managed to achieve, by cheating a lot of people, is mind boggling. Her only ‘mental’ illness is an aversion to work.

      Tib, I’m an orphan – so had no parents to teach me anything, but I don’t keep bad company. This one disgusting individual happens to be a distant relative sadly, and I have as little to do with her as possible, but I have very detailed knowledge of how she lives

  2. 0
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    I am paying 48% of my income (pension) to rent a flat. The heating has never worked. I have mentioned this many times, only after a year has anything been done, an electrician came and said it needs to be replaced. Nothing since. I feel I’m only one rent rise from homelessness which is a scary prospect.

    • 0
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      good luck with getting any response from the owner / landlord.

      New units nowadays do not have any screens to prevent flies and insects. Therefore you are unable to open a window for a cool breeze.

      No eaves means that the sun is always beating down and hitting the windows.

    • 0
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      Why haven’t you followed up on the issue with the agent? How long has it been since the electrician attended your home?

      It’s the owner’s responsibility to provide you with working heating & cooling in the first place. If the appliance doesn’t work, they are responsible for the repair.

      Write a letter to the agent, saying that if the situation hasn’t been resolved in say 4 weeks, you’ll have no hesitation in taking the issue to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal (CTTT in New South Wales).

      Then they may get off their backsides and fix it for you. The tribunal will make an order that the problem be rectified within a certain time. Certainly hope it’s fixed before winter takes a hold.

      Writing a letter should not be any reason for the owner to give you notice to quit your property.

    • 0
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      The owner probably has no idea. Agents can be a pain for tenants and landlords. I’d certainly have another word to the agent. They my have just paid the electrician and put it out of mind. Mention the CTTT if you get no set date for a replacement heater. Landlords have to replace broken appliances that are available at the time of tenancy.

    • 0
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      Give agent 7 days to fix and tell them if not fixed you will lodge a complaint with the tribunal. Agents hate going to the tribunal and will do whatever it takes to not go.

  3. 0
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    Overall government (lack of directional) policy thrusts, that rely on ever-increasing population numbers to keep up demand and upward pressure on housing prices are to blame. Governments do this at the behest of their mates in banking and the ‘housing’ industries, and because they themselves have a huge vested interest in continuing the upward disaster that is housing these days.

    It’s time for this nation to stop and draw breath, take a damned good look around, and for its ‘leaders’ to actually come up with some real future directions and not just more of their endless self-serving garbage.

    A good first step would be to loosen their control over revenue and expenditure – put them on a fixed budget per department of around half what they currently dip from ‘consolidated revenue’ – and force them to come up with some real ideas for a change.

    • 0
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      … and that’s just me being nice, Paddy….

    • 0
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      Why anyone though neoliberalism( neo classical) economics would work this time when it’s been tried over and over and always ends up the same way. A few filthy rich and lots of poverty.

      The Treasury is empty unfortunately.

      I suggest share house arrangements for those unable to afford accomodation alone and frugality because it’s not over yet and it’s not going to be fixed anytime soon.

    • 0
      0

      The ex was watching a show on TV last night – about the effects of Reaganism on many in the US economy – it seems that General Motors was laying off workers to cut costs so as to continue giving a dividend to shareholders.

      Say what?

      Neo-liberalism is what is currently destroying this nation’s economy and its people – it’s just another word for The Return Of The Robber Barons.

  4. 0
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    It does make me kind of angry when there are so many “newcomers” living around me get dept of housing homes. One family (single mother) arrived with six children and was given a four bedroomed house and now they have two lovely cars etc and kids go to private schools.
    How do they do it? I know they have to live somewhere.

    • 0
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      And that will probably happen even more when Labor get in and bring in more ‘newcomers’. We know that’s what they’ll do, whatever they say.

    • 0
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      Hi Nan Norma I feel same way as you. See it here all the time and fed up with it all. So many of us elderly-the same people that helped make Australia the great country she once was. Cannot seeing it getting better in my lifetime. I am thankful my husband and I have a nice little rental unit that our pensions allows us to have for life. He served his country in the Forces for years but today so many of our service men and women suffer the same way Enjoy your day

  5. 0
    0

    Any further delays will push so many Aussies over the edge that this lucky country we used to know will be gone forever.

    When will you see that this Government just makes pleasing noises and then continue with their policy of widening the rich and poor gap? Step one – get rid of the Liberals forever. Step two – pressure the others to make Governments more accountable. Demand policies that benefit people in need. Either a politician serves the people or he is out.

    • 0
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      BrianP. It doesn’t matter which government is in nothing will change.
      They can promise the earth when campaigning but as soon as either party gets in, suddenly all their promises get put in the ‘too hard’ basket.
      Main excuse being the mess left by the last government – which is usually a load of codswallop. As long as they get their pay each fortnight very few of them care about anyone else.

    • 0
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      BrianP….Our Parliament of the very near future will be full of Asian and Indian descent senators…Let’s hope they will do a better job than the lazy and stupid cockroaches we have now.

    • 0
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      …. wake up and smell the roses/coffee! There is NO Lucky Country anymore! Done n dusted many years ago!!

  6. 0
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    Some of the subsidized government housing is not the answer either, at least for aged pensioners.

    1. Some of the government housing offices (this is Queensland) refuse to rent a small two bedroom flat to a single age pensioner. Two bedroom places must be rented to more than one person.
    The fact that some two bedroom flats are cheaper than some one bedroom flats, is not taken into account. Furthermore there are very few one bedroom flats.

    2. As far as housing is concerned, age pensioners get lumped together with other homeless people who live a completely different live style to the aged.
    Older people end up living in housing areas with rowdy desperate families, where they can be bullied, have their peace disturbed or have things stolen from them.

    • 0
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      This always annoys me!
      Are they saying that just because you are a pensioner that you are not allowed to have family visit and stay overnight.
      Or in the case of family living interstate / overseas that they can’t come and stay for a couple of weeks.
      There should be NO single bedroom flats/units they should ALL have at least 2 bedrooms and it should not matter if it is one or two people staying in them.
      Everyone should be entitled to have visitors stay with them at least part of the time.

    • 0
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      Everyone is entitled to do that jaycee1 but unfortunately they have to pay for it themselves. It’s not fair but then not much is anymore.

    • 0
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      The same here in NSW – I’m on the housing list, but am only eligible for a single bedroom unit. I currently privately rent a 2 bedroom unit with a storage shed, for so much less than what housing want to charge me for a single bedroom unit.

      I cannot live in anything less than 2 bedrooms. Where would my 30 year old disabled son stay when he visits me (on a monthly basis for a week at a time)? In the second room, of course! I also use the second room as an office. Where would I put m son, or my office if I was in a single bedroom unit? Housing just don’t take this into account at all.

      BTW I’m on a DSP, just waiting to receive the Age Pension in around 4 years and 8 months.

  7. 0
    0

    My husband and I pay 45% or our pension in rent. This includes a recent rise of $10 per week. We have our fingers crossed that the rent doesn’t rise again the next time the landlord can raise the rent. We have been here 3 years and have reported a jet on the stove not working when we moved in and every inspection since and it is still not fixed.

    • 0
      0

      Annick, it took us just over 7 years to get a broken window fixed after the back door slammed due to the wind. [Huge window but only bottom bit broke]
      When it was reported they said they would send someone out so my husband made a temporary wooden fix that was still there 7 years later.
      Like with you, it was put on a list of faults and reported regularly, but nothing was done for years.

  8. 0
    0

    we have a really excellent landlord who has not put the rent up for 5 years,but i lose sleep at night wondering what will happen when he decides to sell,can’t go bush cos wife doesn’t drive,and would wanna be near our granddaughter,certainly couldn’t live with her,rents around 3201 are $350 week plus,and we would never get a housing commission place,unless we live to 100!!what are we to do,od on prescription drugs?come on turnbull,do something constructive for the 250000 of us renting

  9. 0
    0

    Public housing is a State not Federal responsibility. Take it up with the State and Territory Governments and local councils.

    • 0
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      The Federal Government does allocate State Governments with funds towards public housing, just like it does towards other needs.

      The way land has been over inflated here. It would be a wise move for all Governments to invest in land and build more public housing.

    • 0
      0

      Hang ten a week of the recalcitrants until the rest get the message…

    • 0
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      So jackie, what do the States and Territories do with the money? And as you say the Federal Government pays ‘towards’ public housing, the rest comes from where? As I said take it to the State and Territory Governments.

    • 0
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      I honestly dont know why people buy houses and rent them out these days. It is Russian roulette as to what type of tenants you get. I know of two lots of couples who have had their homes trashed, useless property managers and it has cost them more in repairs than they ever got in rent.

      They cannot wait to get rid of this property and invest their money elsewhere. They cannot stand the stress.

      If there are less and less investors all the burden falls on state housing.

  10. 0
    0

    I live in thailand as i can not afford to live in Australia,here rent,electicity,water,internet,costs me around $75 a week depending on the exchange rates and love the food,i do not live in the holiday resort towns but can travel 2-3 hours to some of the best and quietest beaches,

    • 0
      0

      grego…good for you…it looks like many Australians will be forced to do the same soon.

    • 0
      0

      I’m a self funded retiree, retiring overseas may be a good plan. I hear it’s getting harder to retire to Thailand , is that true?

    • 0
      0

      I’m looking at a quiet European retreat….. as long as the Muslim hordes aren’t permitted to over-run the place first.

      Maybe Vlad Tepes had it right……

    • 0
      0

      Trebor me too but might be a bit expensive.
      Allahu Akbar ….yep just kidding.

    • 0
      0

      Don’t like heat and humidity… might have to do a bit of reno work… trouble with some is you have to employ Uncle Luigi to re-do your roof at ten times the going rate….

    • 0
      0

      I don’t like the heat either but all the cooler climates are a bit expensive.

    • 0
      0

      Look around – a few Brits are finding spots here and there. Need to choose your time of year to spend there, though. I know a couple who have it sorted – he has a home here, she one in Canada and they spend six months in each hemisphere.

    • 0
      0

      English couple in our probus club spend 6 months in the UK in a flat and the other six months here in Oz in a four x 2 bed house.

      They would dearly love to settle here permanently but no go. This is the best they can do.

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