Affordable Housing Shortage

Anglicare Tasmania’s Social Action and Research Centre (SARC) has released its annual Rental Affordability Snapshot outlining recommendations to both State and Federal Government to tackle the Australia-wide shortage of affordable rentals.

Tasmania has the least affordable rental market in the country, due to booming property prices and low average income. The 2022 Rental Affordability Snapshot for Tasmania, released on Thursday 28 April, shows people on low incomes in our State have little hope of securing a private rental.

Of the 714 properties reviewed:

  • 1 was affordable for a person on Youth Allowance
  • 2 were affordable for a single person on JobSeeker
  • 4 were affordable for a family where both parents received a JobSeeker payment
  • 16 were affordable for a single parent family where the parent was working full time on the minimum wage
  • 22 were affordable for a couple on the Age Pension
  • 53 were affordable for a single person on the minimum wage (mostly sharehouses).


Case Studies

The report also presents six case studies that demonstrate the kinds of difficulties different groups of people have with housing in Tasmania today. They are all real people who are either clients of Anglicare’s housing services or participants in Anglicare research. Names and some details have been changed to protect their privacy.

Meet Peter and Mia

Could lose his daughter as well as his home

Peter, age 45, has been living in his current property in Launceston for nearly 10 years. His landlord received incentives under the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) to rent the property at an affordable price, which has until now given Peter a stable home. But the Scheme has a fixed term of 10 years and the landlord intends to sell the property once it expires, forcing Peter to move.

Since Peter is not his daughter Mia’s principal carer, he is not entitled to a higher rate of payment from Centrelink, or other benefits available to parents such as Family Tax Benefit. However, in order to have his daughter stay with him, he needs a property with a second bedroom.

There are only 66 2-bedroom properties advertised in the Launceston area at the moment and the cheapest is $300, which is 76% of income for a person on the single rate of Jobseeker. The only places Peter might afford to live in are rooms in sharehouses, and even these are usually too expensive.

Peter is angry that he has been evicted as soon as the incentives run out, and is afraid he is going to end up homeless again. He was previously homeless before entering the NRAS property, but now he has Mia to think about. Without a place to live, he will be unable to see her regularly and maintain their relationship.

Total affordable and appropriate properties statewide for Peter: 0


Meet Melissa, Chloe and Cooper

Children living in a tent

Melissa’s family has been homeless for months, but it was only when the children went back to school in February that anyone realised they were living in a tent in the bush. Since then they have been put in touch with local services who are assisting them, but the situation clearly cannot continue through winter. Already the family is struggling with damp bedding, which is bad for Cooper’s asthma. They have limited facilities for cooking or storing food, and are grateful for the meals being provided by the local neighbourhood house.

There are only 5 properties currently advertised for rent in this rural area, and only one of them is large enough for Melissa’s family. If they moved to the city (which would mean the children changing schools), they might have more options, but Melissa has seasonal agricultural work and wants to continue working. In town she would be entirely dependent on Centrelink benefits.

The housing worker who alerted us to this story advised that she knows of at least one other family in the same area living in a tent.

Total affordable and appropriate properties statewide for Melissa: 7


Meet Anthony

Too complex for rentals

Anthony, aged 50, has lifelong, complex disability. If he does not follow a careful routine and take care of his health, his condition can deteriorate significantly. He requires complete control over environmental allergens, which is difficult in rented property and would be impossible in a sharehouse. Since he is immune-compromised, Covid-19 presents a real danger.

Rental properties in Launceston which meet Anthony’s requirements are rare at the best of times. His landlord will not permit him to install safety rails in the bathroom and he has already had a fall, resulting in a broken bone. He is paying $340 a week, which is approximately 60% of his income.

He is receiving some financial help from his family, but cannot afford social activities and is suffering loneliness and isolation.

Anthony needs to stay close to his medical specialists, physiotherapy options, and a pharmacy that can handle his complex, non-PBS medications. Anthony would like a cheaper and more accessible rental property, but what he really needs is public or social housing that can be customised for him. He is on the public housing waiting list as a priority case, but he could be waiting more than 12 months in an unsafe environment.

Total affordable and appropriate properties statewide for Anthony: 3


Meet Ethan

Jobs on the line

Ethan, aged 18, left home at 16 due to family problems and is currently living in youth transitional accommodation, after a period of rough sleeping. Despite dealing with a difficult background, he has shown extraordinary resilience and initiative and is currently working two jobs, seven days a week. He says that working has ‘gotten my mind out of everything that I’ve gone through’.

Between his wages and his Centrelink benefits, Ethan can afford to pay $240 per week rent. This puts him in a much better position than many young people, but is dependent on him being able to get enough shifts and maintain a heavy workload. If he becomes homeless again after his period in transitional housing expires, it is unlikely he will be able to maintain his employment.

There are 23 properties in Greater Hobart that Ethan can currently afford, all but one sharehouses. He will need to find one close to his workplaces, but he has previously been rejected when applying for properties due to a lack of rental history.

Total affordable and appropriate properties statewide for Ethan: 74


Meet Patricia

Needs security in old age

Patricia, aged 70, has survived cancer, but she faces lingering health problems and is starting to need help around the house. She currently lives in private rental, but is scared that any day she might have the property sold out from under her, as has happened to her previously. She has been on the public housing waiting list for 4 years.

Patricia raised her children as a stay-at-home mum, and later had casual employment. Although her job provided a decent income at the time, it offered no superannuation, which has left her entirely dependent on the Age Pension.  This is a common situation for women of her age who are widowed or divorced.

A person on the Age Pension would find 24 affordable properties advertised for rent, nearly all of them sharehouses. It is unlikely an older person in declining health would find a sharehouse that can offer a suitable lifestyle for them. Patricia needs the security of a home she can live in for as long as her health allows.

Total affordable and appropriate properties statewide for Patricia: 3


Meet Scott, Lauren and their boys

Home ownership is out of their reach

Scott and Lauren hate renting, but they know they’ll never save enough money for a deposit, no matter how generous the grants and subsidies for first home buyers. They have always been careful with money, and were feeling proud when they managed $2000 in savings, but that was eaten up with their last move. Some weeks they have trouble putting food on the table for their three hungry teenagers. Scott cannot work due to his medical conditions and Lauren is his carer.

Their rental history has featured violent neighbours, difficult landlords, severe maintenance and structural issues, mould, asbestos, and cramped living quarters. Currently they pay $315 a week in rent, which is more than they can  afford and is causing financial hardship.

If they were to lose their current property, they would find only two 4-bedroom properties advertised in the Devonport area, and seven 3-bedrooms. The cheapest is $310, and most are over $350. The scarcity of homes for larger families is a perennial problem in the Tasmanian rental market.

Total affordable and appropriate properties statewide for Scott: 1


The report

You can download the Tasmanian Rental Affordability Snapshot here.



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