Mikayla Haupt

Bundy's older renters are up Struggle St

BUNDABERG has been named one of the top areas for renters over the age of 65 struggling to pay their rent by the Tenants Queensland and City Futures Research Centre.

The result comes after the release of the Rental Vulnerability Index (RVI) highlighting rental vulnerability relative to social and economic pressures affecting Queensland renters.

According to RVI data, Bundaberg, along with Gympie, Moreton Bay and the Fraser Coast, have had increasing numbers of elderly renters struggling to pay their rent.

The RVI puts availability of rental housing that is affordable on local incomes, social housing and marginal tenures such as boarding houses, as well as personal indicators including unemployment, low education, disability, single-parent households and both young and elderly renters under the microscope.

Tenants Queensland CEO Penny Carr said the data showed that regional and remote parts of Queensland continue to indicate areas of highest rental vulnerability.

"This index is a timely reminder at the beginning of a new year that the elderly and low income families in regional areas are struggling to pay their rent,” Ms Carr said.

"The data is telling us that regional areas have a pressing need for services - such as tenant advice services - that give vulnerable households material assistance in dealing with housing problems.

"These places have high rates of unemployment, disability, low education and older people in rental housing.

"They also have high incidence of rental stress - even though median rents are low compared to Brisbane.”

University of New South Wales City Futures Research Centre chief investigator Dr Laurence Troy said there was a large body of research on the 'suburbanisation of disadvantage'.

"This is the phenomenon of high housing costs pushing out and shutting out low income and otherwise disadvantaged households from city centres,” Dr Troy said.

"The RVI indicates that in Queensland this process is extending into a 'regionalisation of disadvantage'.

"We need to build up the economic and social capital of these places - so that they offer greater opportunities for the vulnerable households who are concentrated there - just as we need policies to increase affordable housing opportunities in our cities and regions.”

Low education is the most common indicator of rental vulnerability for those tenants facing rent stress in the regions.

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