Peak tenants body says it’s time for Nine Network’s The Block to give back to the community

Tenants Victoria is concerned that the popular Nine Network show is contributing to the housing affordability crisis in Melbourne’s inner suburbs, after the five properties transformed by this year’s contestants sell for upwards of $2 million each.

Located in the sought-after inner suburb of Elsternwick, the luxury homes fetched a combined total of $14.12 million when they went under the hammer last weekend.

“The amount that these five properties sold for could pay one year’s worth of rent for 835 households at Victoria’s median rent,” says Tenants Victoria spokeswoman Devon LaSalle.

“Even if those properties ultimately end up in the rental market, they would probably fetch in excess of $1,000 per week – over two and half times Elsternwick’s median rent.”  She says the properties will likely be provided as high-rent executive housing, possibly with the benefit of negative gearing for the owners.

Tenants Victoria suggests that the popular television program uses next year’s planned renovation of St Kilda’s infamous Gatwick Hotel to provide affordable apartment-style housing to the wider community.

Over 60% of households in St Kilda were rented according to the 2016 Census, which has increased by 10.2% over the past decade.  The suburb’s rental prices have also followed, with the median rent increasing by a staggering 61.3% since 2006.

LaSalle stresses that it is important to have affordable housing available in the inner-suburbs.

“When the demand so high and many Victorian families are struggling to secure housing located within a reasonable distance from work, transport, study, medical facilities, etc., creating more multi-million dollar homes that only the wealthiest can enjoy is a clear waste of valuable infrastructure.”

LaSalle says this is The Block’s opportunity to turn The Gatwick’s unsavoury past into a bright new future.

“Even if the property ends up with one-third of the current capacity, that still means that 22 average Victorian families will benefit from having access to affordable housing in a sought-after area of Melbourne.”

“I struggle to think of a better legacy that The Block could leave behind.”

Tenants Victoria acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.