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Tenure Security and its Impact on Private Renters in Queensland (Positioning Paper). Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), Queensland Research Centre

By Barbara A. Adkins, Diane Guthrie, Elspeth J. Mead and Jennifer A. Summerville


A policy shift in the last decade or so has led to an emphasis on demand side\ud subsidies in the form of rent assistance and decreasing importance placed on the\ud supply of public housing for low-income people. This initiative has led to an\ud increased need for low-income people to rely on the private rental market for longterm\ud accommodation. This Positioning Paper presents a framework for examining the\ud impact of "security of tenure" on low- and moderate-income renters in the private\ud rental sector in Queensland. While various researchers have applied the term\ud "security of tenure" to interpret findings and located the principle within varying\ud frameworks, usage of the term encompasses a common core of meanings that all\ud refer to the provision for continued occupation of a dwelling. In this context, it has\ud become identified with specific initiatives (such as enhancing access to longer-term\ud leases or reforms oriented to just-cause eviction) aimed at promoting key housing\ud policy outcomes such as stability, independence and choice.\ud The project informed by this paper specifically examines the current demand for\ud various measures associated with legal provisions for security of tenure on the part of\ud low- and moderate-income renters in Queensland. An important context for this\ud examination is the very high levels of mobility displayed by this group in the private\ud rental sector. A key question for policy makers is the extent to which this mobility is\ud due to issues associated with insecurity of tenure, and the strategies that could be\ud employed to provide greater choice with respect to mobility through intervention.\ud Aim Of The Project\ud This study is to investigate the extent to which low- to moderate-income households\ud actively choose to move between dwellings, and what level of importance these\ud households attach to security of tenure. The objectives of the study are to better\ud understand:\ud · The experiences and expectations of security of tenure among low-income and\ud other groups of private renters;\ud · The extent to which security of tenure is regarded as important by private renters\ud vis-à-vis housing flexibility in the private rental market;\ud · For whom, and in what circumstances, increased security of tenure in the private\ud rental market would be attractive; andHow increased security of tenure might alter the housing careers of private\ud renters, including demand for housing assistance. (Housing assistance to include\ud public housing private rental (bond loans) and homeownership assistance).\ud Policy Context\ud The capacity of the private rental market to meet the needs of consumers requiring\ud longer-term accommodation in the sector is a critical policy question. Private renters\ud currently display very high levels of mobility. For those seeking to move to public\ud housing, insecurity of tenure is often cited along with problems of affordability as a\ud motivating factor. In seeking to address the research questions listed above, the\ud study will fill an important knowledge gap by:\ud · Providing data on access - and priorities attached to - security of tenure in\ud selected Queensland regions;\ud · Identifying commonalities and differences in needs of different segments of the\ud private rental market with respect to security of tenure;\ud · Providing information on how renters balance and trade off different aspects of\ud private rental housing (for example, balancing security with affordability); and\ud · Providing indicators that can be used as a benchmark of housing security with a\ud specific focus on the private rental market, including appropriate measures and\ud methodologies.\ud Methodology\ud The major source of data for this study will be gathered through a telephone survey\ud of 1,000 private rental tenants from inner Brisbane and the city of Ipswich. The\ud current research will build on earlier survey work that has tapped similar concepts\ud (for example, mobility, housing decision compromises) but extend the scope of the\ud survey consistent with the proposed conceptual framework. Interviewees for the\ud current study will be drawn from Queensland’s Rental Tenancy Authority’s bond\ud lodgement database.\ud To inform the construction of the survey instrument, two focus groups were\ud conducted to generate possible meanings of security of tenure amongst low- to\ud moderate-income renters. Combined with the findings from the literature review, the\ud focus group material helps identify the scope of the questions required in the survey\ud so that the complexity of the meanings, value and influence of security of tenure\ud considerations in housing decision-making can be thoroughly canvassed.To enhance the robustness of the researchers’ interpretation of the survey data, a\ud second set of focus group discussions will be undertaken. Focus group participants\ud will be asked to clarify any significant patterns of convergence and divergence, which\ud emerge from the preliminary analysis of the survey responses.\ud Conclusion\ud The research informed by this paper will identify the importance of tenure security in\ud the private rental sector in the context of renters’ needs for flexibility due to labour\ud market, family, income and other constraints. The study will provide information on\ud the expectations and experiences of tenure security on the part of different low- and\ud middle- income renters. It will identify the categories of renters for whom tenure\ud security is a critical issue and explore the likely impact of greater tenure security on\ud their housing careers

Topics: 120504 Land Use and Environmental Planning, tenure security, private rental, mobility, ontological security
Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.qut.edu.au:2462
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