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Older Renters need Affordable Appropriate and Secure Housing

Each year COTA Victoria conducts a survey asking older people what issues concern them the most. In 2016 – 44.25% of respondents  (the majority) said that access to affordable, secure and appropriate housing was the most important issue for older people. And the facts say it all:

The fastest growing group in the rental housing market are those aged over 55 years of age. If you don’t own a home at 50 you are unlikely to ever move into home ownership.  In Australia 336,174 people over the age of 55 rent privately (2011 Australian Census),

There has been a 30% increase in the number of  older people in the private rental market since the 2006 Australian Census.

And it is worse in Victoria where there has been a 44% increase in older people renting between 2006 and 2011. The numbers of Older Victorians in the private rental market have increased from 52 309 to 75 470. This number is rising with rising numbers of older people homeless, in particular older women.

We know that private rentals in Australia are mostly insecure, unaffordable, unsafe and unadaptable for older people

What are the specific Housing Issues for Older People?

  1. Affordability – An average aged pensioner pays 63% plus of their income in rent for a one-bedroom flat in Melbourne
  2. There is a lack of ‘age-friendly’ rentals. We know the evidence of landlords not allowing modifications to homes  to allow for changing mobility and other needs. Or the unreasonable request to remove all modifications when they are asked to leave or their lease is terminated.
  3. Lack of long term leases cause incredible insecurity. The trauma of moving for an older person is not understood by many. Lack of security stops people from exercising their rights as they fear repercussions.
  4. Older, frailer Victorians need the support of organisations such as Housing for the Aged Action Group to help find affordable secure and appropriate accommodation – so they don’t end up in hospital, on the street and in care.

There are limited housing options to support older people ageing in place in Victoria. The rental market is not accessible to many older

people and current restrictions in modifying homes further exacerbates a limited supply of appropriate housing.

The provision of affordable, secure and appropriate senior housing is vital for all of us as we age.

The Tenants Union of Victoria founded the Make Renting Fair Campaign to make renting fair for everyone and to prevent it becoming an option of last resort for people on low and middle incomes.

Click here to ask Premier Daniel Andrews to improve safety, security of tenure and privacy for low and middle income tenants in Victoria. 

Contact us at for more information.

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2 Responses to Older Renters need Affordable Appropriate and Secure Housing

  1. Paul OSullivan says:

    I agree with everything that is written and the 4 points that need to change for older people to have secure and affordable housing in their later years
    I am of pension age myself and presently working with over 55 year olds who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
    I am shocked at the numbers of people in the older age group who are now in this category
    Some have never been in the social security system before but because of high private rental and insecurity of tenure are in desperate need for Governments to take positive action to protect them.
    Importantly the lack of affordable and safe Public Housing has made things only worse
    Governments especially at the federal Level have a responsibility to act in the interests of older people.
    Also many of these people are suffering ill health

  2. Hi Paul,
    Thank you your comment and please stay connected.
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    COTA Victoria Team