journalism / news

Star Newspaper: Concern over rent hikes

Labor MP Cesar Melhem warns public housing rent could be increased by more than $2000 per year

Labor MP Cesar Melhem warns public housing rent could be increased by more than $2000 per year

Star Newspaper: Concern over rent hikes

By SHANNON POWER

PUBLIC housing tenants in the western suburbs are facing a hike in rental prices of more than $2000 a year according to Labor MP Cesar Melhem.

The market value of dwellings is assessed twice a year, with previous increases capped at $35 a week.

The State Government has removed the cap: there is no limit to how much rent can go up with the next change set to happen in August.

Mr Melhem said public housing tenants living in an area with expensive properties are being punished.

Mr Melhem said: “The cap is in place to protect the most vulnerable in our community and ensure they are no worse off because of the location of the housing available.

“This government simply has no heart when it comes to the most vulnerable in our society,” Mr Melhem said.

The Public Tenants Association of Victoria manager Mark Feenane said the valuations are generous and probably lower than real market rates.

A spokesperson for Premier Denis Napthine said the removal of rent caps only applies to tenants who either no longer qualify to live in public housing because they earn too much, who do not disclose their income to the Department, or live in areas with low market rent rates.

Tenants pay 25 per cent of the combined household income in rent.

Mr Feenane said those most affected will be people living with others who have a higher income.

“If you have a son or daughter over 18 earning a certain amount, it boosts your income and adds to your combined total. But if your child moves out of home then you can’t afford the higher rent.”

The Government said that those living in dwellings whose rent will increase are eligible to apply for rebated rent.

In the West, the rent cap is being removed for approximately 170 properties.

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