Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Affordable rental housing: current policies and options

Affordable rental housing: current policies and options

Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion.
Briefing Paper No. 11/2015 by Andrew Haylen
Stable and affordable housing, with access to jobs and services, is fundamental to support employment and wellbeing by enabling social and economic participation in society. However, as pointed out by the Affordable Housing Taskforce, “by a range of indicators, there is a housing affordability issue facing NSW which is particularly acute in Sydney and other large regional centres.”

Low-to-moderate income earners are especially vulnerable to housing affordability stress. Even after Commonwealth Rent Assistance is taken into account, many find themselves in rental “no-man’s land” – that is, they don’t have access to social housing and in many cases are unable to compete effectively in the private rental market. For these people, affordable rental housing – provided by community housing and non-for-profit organisations - is the only realistic alternative accommodation.

However, there is a chronic undersupply of affordable housing for lower to middle income earners in NSW. This shortage has been the result of a combination of market based and policy factors – which are discussed in the paper Affordable rental housing: the problem and its cause.

Following on from that discussion, this briefing paper outlines, in detail, the current legislative and policy framework related to affordable housing provision in NSW and more broadly in Australia. This provides the basis for a discussion of future policy options – with a focus on the supply-side planning and financing mechanisms available to government to facilitate affordable housing supply growth.

Housing is a particularly complex area of intergovernmental policies and relations. The purpose of this paper is not to try to resolve the issues at hand; rather, it tries to bring the variety of options together for comparative purposes.