With today's CPI data revealing Adelaide has recorded its largest annual increase in rent prices since December 1990, the South Australian Council of Social Service has renewed its call for a cap on rent increases. Rents in Adelaide have risen by 7.1% since September last year, and by 1.7% in the last three months alone. This annual increase is well above the general inflation rate of 5.4% nationally.
The increases in Adelaide mean that a renter in an average house paying $500 per week last September would now be paying $535.50. However, if rents were capped at national CPI they would be paying $527 per week: a meaningful difference when South Australians are in a cost of living crisis and every dollar counts.
Quotes attributable to SACOSS Director of Policy and Advocacy, Dr Rebecca Tooher
Capping rent increases at CPI would help renters keep a roof over the head, maintain the real value of landlords' income, and help break the cycle of rent increases driving inflation - which in turn leads to higher interest rates and landlords increasing rents.
Such a rent cap is a modest proposal with a big impact. It won't impact on landlords who are already limiting rent increases, but it will stop excessive rent increases which are causing stress and evictions.
High rental prices are already pushing people, particularly those on low incomes, to the brink. People are choosing between paying their rent and paying for food.
The time to act is now. The South Australian government is working on legislation to improve renters' rights under the Residential Tenancies Act. SACOSS and many other organisations look forward to the swift passage of this legislation, but without a cap on rent increases at CPI the issue of rental affordability will go unaddressed.