Families left out in rental cold

STRUGGLING Tasmanian families are having to live in caravan parks and hotels and be moved around every few months because private landlords aren't letting them rent their properties.

The state government announced earlier this month that it would soon offer landlords up to $1500, on top of normal rental bonds, to take on struggling families as tenants.

The new program, expected to start in October, aims to make it easier for struggling families to access private rental accommodation.

It will be funded by $2.7 million of federal money and landlords could use the $1500 to cover property damage or rental arrears.

Colony 47 chief executive Therese Taylor said the incentive would help with the public housing shortage.

"We need the extra houses to house people and this is the only way we can do it," Ms Taylor said.

She said the organisation supported about 18,000 Tasmanians, with many needing accommodation assistance.

"We end up putting a roof over people's heads, but it may be a caravan or in a hotel," Ms Taylor said.

"You just put them in whatever accommodation you can use and you end up with housing that is not permanent and then you're moving children around."

Ms Taylor said if private landlords opened up their homes for struggling families, the organisation could stop housing people in caravan parks.

"One of the things that landlords forget is that if someone registers with us ... they're usually supported," Ms Taylor said.

"So the irony is you'll probably have less chance of any damage."

A Real Estate Institute of Tasmania spokeswoman said the organisation supported the $1500 initiative, but said damage could far exceed that amount.

"The concern of the REIT is that these funds, with all good intentions, may not fix the problem," the spokeswoman said.

Tenants Union of Tasmania acting principal solicitor Tim Walter said he hoped the incentive would translate into secure long-term accommodation for low-income Tasmanians.

People willing to let low-income families rent their homes, can register with Colony 47 or Anglicare.


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