New, efficient rental model needed, says Scape chairman Craig Carracher

Craig Carracher

Craig Carracher is the executive director of Scape, a purpose-built student accommodation provider.

More than 2.1 million Australians are renting from a private landlord under a “fractured model” which is inefficient and stops them saving for their own home, argues Scape executive chairman Craig Carracher.

Mr Carracher believes the nation needs a new institutional-grade rental product that facilitates faster entry into home ownership.

He is calling for a system that uses data and takes a streamlined approach to payments and utilities bills.

“It is no surprise that this is a political hot potato and last election’s negative gearing mess has resulted in both sides treating rental affordability as toxic,” he said. “We don’t even have reliable data on rental affordability. The Australian rental market is dysfunctional and uneconomic.”

Mr Carracher said Scape’s purpose-built student accommodation model showed how an institutional-grade rental product could work.

Scape used leading services and tech insights to regularly improve its rental product, he said.

For most Australian families, rent is their second-largest cost. And without a streamlined product, bills and other costs were often passed on to the renter, Mr Carracher said.

“This is not just economic theory. We have proved this at Scape,” he said.

“The same structural changes that have changed the face and affordability of student rental accommodation is a model for the build-to-rent industry which will improve quality of life, residential experience and affordability.”

Mr Carracher said build-to-rent models allowed for programs that could lift people out of ­financial hardship through scholarships.

“Our 16,000 bed portfolio allows us to commit to programs like our $26m scholarship fund over four years and offering 5 per cent of our inventory to crisis accommodation in our purpose-built student environments,” he said.

“The category was supported through tax and planning structures that enticed capital investment.”