by Karen Appleby – Policy and Campaigns Manager – COTA NSW

There has been a lot in the media recently about the challenges that some renters are facing in New South Wales, including large rent increases and very low availability of places to lease.

Whilst most people over the age of 50 are homeowners or in the process of paying off a mortgage – there are growing numbers of older people renting into old age and must not be left out of the conversation.

Growing housing insecurity

The most recent census indicated that 11.2 % of people aged 55+ rent, and of these renters 26% were on low incomes of less than $40,000 a year [1].

As property prices and rents continue to rise across the state, many older renters on fixed incomes find it increasingly difficult to afford housing that meets their needs. This can force them to live in substandard or overcrowded conditions, or to move frequently, which can negatively impact their health and wellbeing.

Housing affordability, access and discrimination

Another challenge for older renters is the limited availability of accessible housing. Many older adults have mobility or other health issues that require modifications to their homes or the availability of accessible housing features such as ramps or elevators. However, such modifications are often not available in rental properties, or are prohibitively expensive.

Discrimination based on age can also be a significant issue for older renters in NSW. Landlords may refuse to rent to older adults due to ageist attitudes, or may impose unfair rental conditions, such as requiring larger security deposits or refusing to allow modifications to the property. Such discrimination can prevent older adults from accessing safe and affordable housing options.

Finally, older renters in NSW may face limited legal protections compared to other groups. While there are laws in place to protect tenants from discrimination and unfair treatment, these protections may be weaker or less well-enforced for older renters. Compounding this, some older renters may be unaware of their legal rights or lack the resources to pursue legal action if their rights are violated.

Older renters in NSW - COTA NSW media
Image source: Centre for Ageing Better

COTA NSW supports a number of campaigns that seek to address some of the issues mentioned.

Ageing on the edge

COTA NSW is a member of the Ageing on the Edge (NSW) Forum.  This group of organisations and individuals who have experienced homelessness continues to advocate for policy changes and investment in social housing to provide greater housing options for older people on low incomes.

We also support the Better Renting campaign that seeks minimum standards for rental properties such as improved energy efficiency measures.

Lastly, we will continue to call for the NSW Government to adopt minimum accessibility standards for new housing buildings in this state to increase the number of properties that will allow an older person to age in place if they so choose.

To add your voice to these campaigns, click on the links below:

Building Better Homes
Healthy Homes for Renters

Want to Know More?

If you want to find out more about Ageing on the Edge, the facts and what is being done visit

Ageing on the Edge Reports | Housing For The Aged Action Group.

Need help with Housing and Support?

Call us on 1800 449 102 and we can provide you with Information and Guidance on where to go and who to call for help.

Get Involved

There are lots of ways to get involved to address the housing crisis in NSW.

Join: Become a member of COTA NSW now. Our membership base gives us access to people and communities enabling us to amplify the diverse voices across NSW

Ambassador: Seeking people who have lived experienced of housing stress and a personal understanding of the challenges of attaining a safe and secure home

Donate: Your donation helps us conduct further research hold events and take the voice of older people directly to decision makers. Click here.

If you are concerned about becoming homeless, the Department of Communities and Justice provide a number of services:

Housing and homelessness


[1] Power, Reynolds, Stone, Verooja, Perugia, James (2022) Decades of Housing Decline: 2011 & 2021 Census Analysis. Housing for Aged Action Group.