Rental prices for houses have increased by up to 50 per cent over five years in some parts of Tasmania with renewed calls for ACT-style rent caps to be introduced to address affordability issues.
The latest Domain rental report - for September 2021 - showed house rents in George Town have increased by 55 per cent since 2016, 48 per cent in Longford, and between 25 and 40 per cent for most Launceston suburbs.
On the North-West Coast, rent costs have risen fastest in Ulverstone while Wynyard and Devonport have seen slower rises.
The average cost for units has also increased significantly across the board, albeit usually slower than for houses.
The Domain data showed that, in the past 12 months, the rate of rent rises is becoming increasingly rapid for most parts of the state.
The Tenants' Union of Tasmania is continuing to advocate for greater regulation for rent rises, with repeated studies showing the state has the least affordable rental market comparative with average incomes.
In Tasmania, rents can increase in line with the general increase for the surrounding area. But in the ACT, rent rises are capped to the consumer price index, and landlords must provide a case for increases beyond that.
Tenants' Union principal solicitor Ben Bartl said similar measures should be introduced in Tasmania, particularly given the lower average incomes compared with Canberra.
"In a city with higher wages, the government has recognised that rents should be sustainable, whereas in a state like Tasmania which has the lowest incomes of any state, rents are only regulated by the market rate, and that's not working," he said.
At the last state election, the Liberal party rejected introducing rent control measures. At the time, Michael Ferguson - now the Housing Minister - said a market-based rental system "exists for a very good reason".
The government recently passed changes to its fast-tracked housing rezoning scheme which allows the laws to be applied to newly-acquired land.
The Greens committed to following the ACT model, while Labor promised a full review of the Residential Tenancy Act.
Housing affordability will likely be a federal election issue in Tasmania as independent senator Jacqui Lambie continues to raise concerns about the pace of social housing construction, and Labor highlighting worsening figures.
Labor senator Helen Polley said the housing availability issues had made home ownership "out of the question" for many Tasmanians, and the party planned to introduce a Housing Australia Future Fund.
Bass Liberal MHR Bridget Archer said housing affordability issues needed to be "worked on", provided governments kept an eye on inflation.
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