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Survey: Rent is easier to pay, but renters see a grim future

Renters are finding it easier to make their rental payments than they did in March, but feel like the future is less certain than it was back at the start of the pandemic.

That’s the key takeaway from Rent.com.au’s COVID-19, Renting and You survey, in which 800 renters provided insight into the continued impact of the pandemic on their ability to pay rent, how they felt governments have supported renters, and their plans and outlook for the future.

“We understood pretty early on that renters might be in trouble because of COVID-19,” Rent.com.au Chief Executive Officer, Greg Bader said.

“This is a market that has been heavily impacted by economic disruption and a lot of uncertainty.

“Soon after we ran our first survey, we hit the peak of the lockdown period for most of Australia, and – to no surprise – the number of renters looking for properties dropped right off.

“Towards the end of March and April, we started to see the real impact of those lockdowns impacting our own customer activities.

“But as restrictions have slowly relaxed across most of Australia (except in places like Victoria), more renters are starting to re-enter the market, and more have returned to employment, which is making rental payments easier for much of the market.”

“While we did see some 55 per cent of renters refused a reduction in August, we know they would have been required to demonstrate any impact on their income and affordability to qualify for a reduction,” Mr Bader said.

Renters might be back on track financially, but emotionally it is a different story.

“Despite the improvements we’ve seen in this six-month update, the key downward shift has been in general sentiment and outlook to the future,” Mr Bader said.

“Interestingly, renters indicated they are generally feeling less positive about life post-COVID-19 than they were in March.”

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