Reluctant regulators? Rent regulation in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic

Publication Name

International Journal of Housing Policy


Rents in the Australian private rental sector (PRS) have long been determined by the market, but during the public health and economic crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, state and territory governments implemented emergency measures to prevent evictions and regulate rents. This article reviews the rent measures implemented and their outcomes, using survey data and other quantitative evidence, and interviews with PRS stakeholders. We find the rent measures, which relied on negotiations between individual landlords and tenants, had a modest effect–just 8–16% of tenants got a rent variation–and tenants, landlords and agents struggled in unfamiliar roles. The emergency period holds lessons and prompts questions about future directions in policy-making for rental affordability and PRS relations.

Open Access Status

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