Private rental from a transitional to a permanent tenure where to

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Forging pathways to private tenancies

                     Robin Zakharov
                     Director Private Housing Programs
                     Department of Communities
                     November 2009

•   Context – why RentConnect was developed
•   How RentConnect works
•   Signs of success
•   Future of RentConnect
Market & Policy context

A private rental market more difficult to access:

         • Increasing rent prices, declining supply = greater competition for properties.
         • Increased demand for housing assistance, especially social housing.

One Social Housing System policy introduced in Queensland in 2005 to:

         • prioritise social housing assistance to those most in need
         • provide appropriate responses to individual needs
         • develop a broader range of products and services to address housing needs
         • greater consistency and efficiency across service delivery.
RentConnect – A new form of private rental assistance

•   Many clients were seeking social housing because of barriers to accessing the private
    rental market.

•   RentConnect was developed as a low cost option to assist people to obtain a private
    rental property.

•   RentConnect was developed to assist ‘rent ready’ people who would be able to live in
    private rental housing, to find and secure a private rental property.
RentConnect – Another private rental initiative

•   RentConnect complements existing private rental assistance programs in

     •   Bond Loans
     •   Rental Grants
     •   Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service Queensland
Developing RentConnect

•   Review of internal, interstate and national research, issues and approaches to
    assisting low to moderate income households into the private rental market.

•   Low/moderate income households face a range of barriers in obtaining a private
    rental tenancy. These include:
           • rental costs and affordable supply
           • entry costs (bond, rent in advance, moving costs)
           • poor understanding of how the private rental market works
           • disadvantaged by risk management practices in industry – certain
             households not favoured – e.g. lacking tenancy history, household type
           • competing for limited supply of lower cost stock
           • affected by tenancy blacklisting.
RentConnect – Helping “rent ready” clients

   Helps overcome barriers to private market:

   •   financial barriers
   •   information barriers
   •   competition
   •   exclusionary tenant selection practices
RentConnect – Target group

•   Broad target group – those able to manage a tenancy in the private rental market, but
    facing access barriers
•   Could include:
     – younger people
     – older people
     – new arrivals
     – indigenous and culturally diverse households
     – people leaving institutional accommodation
     – families with children
     – people leaving home ownership
     – people with tenancy listings
RentConnect – Service delivery model

1. Private Rental Fact Sheets – topics include finding a suitable property, documents
   you need, the application process.
2. A specialist RentConnect Officer who assists clients with information and advice.
3. Connect Point – public access computer.
RentConnect – What does the client receive?

•   Information and education about seeking a tenancy
     − Advice and coaching on the application process
     − Assistance with finding suitable properties
     − Assistance with assembling documents for application
     − Referrals to real estate agents
     − Referrals to community assistance
RentConnect – How does it work?

•   Clients are referred by department officers, community services, real estate agents, or
    may self-refer.
•   RentConnect officers sit down with each client and work out what barriers they are
•   RentConnect officers provide information, advice, coaching, help with application
•   May assist with property searches and inspections, liaising with real estate agents,
    linking with community supports
•   RentConnect officers receive information from real estate agents on available
RentConnect – How is it going?

•   Over 23,000 downloads of Private Rental fact sheets.
•   447 households assisted through RentConnect interviews at the two trial sites.
•   148 known tenancies secured.
•   Of those assisted:
     – 63% families with children
     – 23% single people
     – 14% Indigenous households
     – 9% people listed on tenancy databases
     – 36% people without a rental history
     – 22% young people
     – 19% people with disabilities.

•   Based on program data at end of October
RentConnect – Local partners are vital to success

•   RentConnect was developed in close consultation with the Real Estate Institute of
    Queensland (REIQ).
•   REIQ has provided advice on promotional activities and supported implementation.
•   Local REIQ representatives involved in promotion of the initiative to local agents.
•   RentConnect Officers focus on building effective local relationships – with real estate
    industry and local community agencies.
RentConnect – Stories
Case Study 1:
• Family with medical needs, leaving transitional accommodation, rent arrears.

Case Study 2:
• Single parent – three children, current tenancy ending due to sale of property.

Case Study 3:
• Single person with need for accessible rental housing.

Case Study 4:
• Single parent – three children, exiting crisis accommodation, former community
   housing tenant from interstate, old tenancy database listing.
RentConnect – Where to from here?

•   Expansion – State-wide.
•   RentConnect loan – financial assistance – under trial.
•   RentConnect tenancy guarantee – lessor incentive – under trial.
•   RentConnect tenancy assistance – an enhanced role.
RentConnect – Loan

   •   Assistance with establishment costs of a private tenancy.
   •   An interest free loan with a negotiated repayment schedule.

RentConnect – Tenancy guarantee

   •   An offer to pay compensation above and beyond the rental bond for rent arrears
       and/or property damage, under certain circumstances.
   •   Designed to encourage lessors to house clients that would otherwise be denied
       access to the private rental market.
Thank you

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