Is this the answer to Melbourne’s lack of affordable housing?

According to the 2011 Census, more than 105,000 people are currently experiencing homelessness in Australia (data from the 2016 census is due to be released in 2018). We know from our research that a lack of affordable housing is the number one cause of homelessness. Latest figures (as of September 2017) from the Victorian State Government also show that just six in every 100 properties in metropolitan Melbourne is affordable to someone on income support. So what’s the answer?

HomeGround Real Estate is Launch Housing’s social enterprise. In many ways we operate just like any other real estate agency, with one (huge) exception. While we provide a high quality, professional property management service to our landlords, we also give them the option to offer low-income households a discount on the market rent and in doing so, help create more affordable housing in Melbourne and help us achieve our mission to end homelessness.

Beth Phillips is a landlord who rents out two properties at a subsidised rent through HomeGround Real Estate. We sat down with her to find out what her experience has been.

Why did you decide to rent out your properties through HomeGround Real Estate instead of a traditional real estate agency?
Because it feels like the right thing to do. There are thousands of people in need of a secure and appropriate place to live and I own properties that can meet that need.

What benefits do you get from renting your properties through HomeGround Real Estate?
For a start the service is terrific. Knowing I’m supporting people who are doing it tough and that in a small way I’m helping to reduce homelessness in Melbourne is great too. On top of all that, there are also financial benefits. I still get the capital growth from my properties, which is the main reason most investors purchase residential property and in my case the loss of income is tax deductable.

Have there been any downsides to renting your properties out through HomeGRound Real Estate?
None at all.

Are there any differences in the service you’ve received from HomeGround Real Estate and a for- profit real estate agency?
Yes, I get the impression that the people at HomeGround Real Estate feel as if they are part of something important (and they are!). As such I get the impression they are more connected to their work – of course that connection means better service.

What’s been your experience of renting out a property to low income tenants?
Great. My tenants are fab! There’s often a huge misconception that people who are on a low income or who are experiencing homelessness can be problem tenants. Far from it. The people who rent from me are just like everyone else…good, hard working individuals and families who are going through a tough time.

What would you say to someone thinking about renting out their property through HomeGround Real Estate?
Please do it! The gap between rich and poor is widening every day and by renting your property through HomeGround Real Estate you are helping to change this. Give them a chance.

If you would like to find out more about, or rent out a property through HomeGround Real Estate, please visit our website.