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Rental crisis: 2.7 million Aussies at risk

A sign out the front of a home that was for rent but has a sticker on it to indicate it has been leased and the roofs of houses and the CBD in the background.
Millions of Aussies are facing rental stress. (Source: Getty)

Rent prices are skyrocketing and, combined with higher food and petrol prices, millions of Aussies are facing rental stress.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, households or individuals are considered under rental stress if they are spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.

The total number of Australians spending 30 per cent or more of their income on rent is around 2,719,000 individuals nationwide, according to new research from Savvy.


With inflation still at 5.1 per cent and wage growth at 2.3 per cent, there’s still a big gap between cost of living and affordability.

Young Australians have reported they are significantly worried about rent or potential rent increases in the months and years ahead.

Half of 18-to-24-year-olds surveyed by Savvy said rent was on their minds as a big stress point – 40 per cent of 25-to-34-year-olds and 33 per cent of 33-to-44-year-olds said the same.

Savvy CEO Bill Tsouvalas said as the number of young people stressing about rent increased, the further and further away home ownership became.

“Rental stress isn’t just being a bit worried about a lack of money for luxuries, it’s a real and persistent financial pressure that affects your ability to pay for necessities,” Tsouvalas said.

“It can take a toll on your well-being, and never really goes away.

“Renters may be on edge already due to rising costs of living. A sudden excess payment, repair bill, or urgent appliance replacement could set them on the edge of real financial hardship, or put them in that position almost overnight.”

What to do if you’re in rental stress

Beyond trying to find a cheaper property, or speaking to your landlord or agent to get a better deal, there aren’t a lot of resources available to help Aussies struggling to pay rent.

Those already on Centrelink or welfare payments can be eligible for rent assistance payments if they also pay:

  • rent

  • fees in a retirement village

  • lodging

  • board and lodging

  • site or mooring fees - if your main home is a caravan, relocatable home or boat

You don’t need to apply for Rent Assistance. You will be automatically assessed when you claim one of the relevant payments.

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