Wednesday, April 21, 2010

News: 'Rent levels too high for single parents, students' for The Courier-Mail Online

 For the Courier online.

Rent levels too high for single parents, students in southeast Queensland - study  

Anna Angel

THERE are no affordable rentals in Brisbane and surrounding council areas for single parents and students on benefits, according to a new study.

The Anglican Community Services Commission surveyed all properties listed over the weekend of April 11 and 12 and found only 3 per cent would be viable for those living off benefits.

Some household specifications turned up no results, with no properties found to be affordable for singles on Austudy and Youth Allowance or single parent benefits.

Almost 80 per cent of the properties deemed affordable for other benefit receivers - that is, lower than 30 per cent of the renter’s total income - were in shared accommodation.

ACSC executive director Don Luke said that the hunt for reasonable shared accommodation was harder for some low-income earners than others.

“Share house ads, understandably, often specify the characteristics the advertisers would prefer in their new housemate,” Mr Luke said.

“Usually they are looking for a younger person with a job rather than a single age pensioner or disability support pensioner, yet often rents in share houses are the only ones low enough to be affordable on a single benefit."

The ACSC “snapshot” research, which included online and print rental listings, suggests Queensland housing has become some of the most expensive in the world.

Researcher Dr Joanne Copp said further research was being done on the issue, but that the findings so far had brought up some important questions.

“For me, it’s an issue of seeing what is out there for shared accommodation, and what the quality actually is, and the appropriateness,” she said.

“It may be that we need to look at the level of benefits they are receiving and, even if nothing can be done in the short term, it’s a matter of just knowing how much of their income is actually going on rent, and thinking about how to improve the situation in the medium-to-long term.”

Original story here.

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