The Liberal party has no plans to implement policies to cap or restrict increases to residential rents, with the party's finance spokesperson Michael Ferguson saying any such move would "see people flee the property market".
Since the end of the moratorium on residential rent increases in Tasmania during COVID, some tenants saw their rents increase by more than $100 per week.
From 2017 to 2021, median rents in Launceston increased by 42 per cent for houses and 43 per cent for units. To argue against a rent increase, a tenant must demonstrate to the Tenancy Commissioner that the increase is "unreasonable", but this is determined based on whether it aligns with similar rent prices in the same area.
The Tasmanian Greens have proposed to match rent control laws in the ACT which restrict increases to the benchmark housing CPI, plus 10 per cent, since the last increase. The onus is on the landlord to prove this is reasonable if it's appealed.
Mr Ferguson said any attempt to restrict rent increases, beyond Tasmania's current laws, could harm the housing market.
"As you know, lease payments and rent amounts is a treaty that's struck between a landlord and a tenant. And that's a market-based operation which exists for very good reason," he said.
"When you see government trying to interfere in that, you will in fact see people flee the property market and not be prepared to put their property out for lease.
"I think that would be a very retrograde step for people looking for a roof over their head."
Mr Ferguson said the government was "building 1500 houses right now" and that would ease housing supply issues, while "growing the economy" would help "people in vulnerable situations". The government introduced measures during COVID to provide financial relief for tenants and landlords, as well as an eviction and rent increase moratorium.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Labor will announce its proposal for tighter regulation of the short-stay accommodation sector on Friday, involving a pause on permits for entire dwellings in areas of "high rental stress". They will also announce a policy of a five per cent home deposit scheme and expanded HomeShare scheme.
The party did not state whether it would introduce policies to restrict rental increases, apart from stating that its land tax policy would place "downward pressure on rents". They have promised to build 2000 additional new social houses over the next six years "in addition to what is already funded in the budget".
Tasmanian housing advocacy groups have been urging the government to build 10,000 new social dwellings over the next 10 years.
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, the number of people renting in Tasmania has increased by 18 per cent every five years from 2006.