In the past, renting a home was a short-term solution, particularly among young people who were studying or saving to buy a home.

Australians are renting in growing numbers, and for longer. Around one third of private tenants in Australia have rented continuously for over ten years. And renting is no longer the domain of young people. An increasing number of long-term tenants are older people on fixed incomes, or families who need stability.

Characteristics and demographics

The number of people renting a home in Victoria is growing.

The 2021 Census found that almost one in three households were renting.

In the 20 years to 2016, the number of households renting rose by more than 60 per cent. By comparison, over the same period the number of all Victorian households - those renting plus homeowners - increased by just over 40 per cent. In the five years between 2016 and 2021, the number of households renting increased by a further 16 percent.

The rental sector in Victoria is comprised of:

  • community housing, which is provided by non-profit organisations and include both temporary and long-term rental housing,
  • public housing, which is owned by the Victorian government and provides long-term subsidised rental accommodation for disadvantaged Victorians, and 
  • the private rental market, which is rented housing provided by private owners or operators. More than 80 percent of private owners use a real estate agent to manage their rented housing and the remaining private owners self-manage. It includes rooming houses, caravan parks, residential parks, and some specialist disability accommodation as well as privately owned houses and units.

Around 9 in 10 households rent privately-owned housing while 1 in 10 live in social housing. Only a small number of households (about 1 in 50) that rent live in community housing.

Services to support renters in Victoria

There are many government and community agencies that provide support services for renters including:

  • information and advice to help people independently resolve disputes.
  • third party conciliation, mediation, and negotiation services.
  • inspections and advice to help in the resolution of disputes, or to support legal actions.
  • legal advice and representation at hearings.
  • alternative dispute resolution and hearings which make binding orders and decisions.
  • financial help to vulnerable and disadvantaged renters to support their participation in the private rental sector.

If you need help with your renting situation please click here to see our list of services that can help you.

The private rental sector

Renters in the private rental market are typically:

  • living with other renters, either as a couple, in a family or a group household
  • aged between 25 to 34 years – although younger renters outnumber older renters, the fastest growing group of renters are those aged 55 and over.
  • living in a house with two or more bedrooms
  • more likely to have moved in the last year than homeowners.
  • paying increasingly more of their income towards rent
  • living in a rental property managed by a real estate agent.

Annual private rental sector snapshot

Each year the Commissioner reviews the characteristics and trends in the rental sector and publishes an annual statistical snapshot. The Snapshot is intended to inform government and community decision-makers and the Victorian public.

Read Snapshot 2022

Read Snapshot 2021

Read Snapshot 2020

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