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Call to put accessible housing on national database


Landlords and home owners should be required to report if their property is accessible according to report which calls for a nationwide inventory and the creation of an Airbnb-style platform to help people with disability find housing.

The Potential of new technologies to disrupt housing policy report recommends mandatory reporting of all accessible properties, in particular those modified as part of the CHSP and HCP programs and by transport accident agencies, to help establish a national data base.

Andrea Sharam

Dr Andrea Sharam

Accessible housing was one of five Australian housing markets that the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) report said could be made more efficient by using online technology to match supply and demand.

Up to 120,000 people registered for the NDIS aren’t able to find affordable or suitably equipped housing, according to the report, which was carried out for AHURI by Researchers from RMIT University and Swinburne University of Technology.

The report says a platform like the one used by the online rental and short stay market place Airbnb could match landlords and owners of accessible housing with people with disability who are looking to rent or buy.

Mandatory reporting

“Government could promote the discoverability of accessible housing through mandating reporting of accessible properties,” the November 22 report says.

“This would be a vital step in the creation of a national inventory of accessible housing, which in turn, is necessary for understanding how much accessible housing there is and the effectiveness of measures to increase the stock.”

The inventory could form the basis of a national register, which would provide information about whether a property is being rented or is on the market. People with disability, meanwhile, could become members of the scheme and provide information about their needs and preferences.

The report says a similar system is already being using in Victoria via the Housing Hub. The service, established by the Summer Foundation, matches accessible properties to people with disability, and could be a blueprint for a national service.

Hard to find accessible housing

Lead researcher Dr Andrea Sharam from RMIT says the accessible housing market is suffering because accessible housing isn’t registered and it’s hard for people with disability to find what’s available.

“Further, home owners often remove accessible features prior to selling or letting, as they are seen to lower the property’s value,” she says.

“However for some buyers and tenants, these features are just the things they are looking for.”

She says mandatory disclosure of accessibility by owners is essential for the proposed inventory, which would underpin the creation of a registry or “hub”, to work. “Governments would need to regulate for this,” she says.

The report recommends that the government softens any impact for mandatory reporting by funding the gap between the modified and market value of properties and covering costs resulting from delays in lettings or sales.

It also says financial incentives should be provided to advertise on a registry in the absence of mandatory reporting.

The report is available here.

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