\n Sydney, Melbourne rent costs third of tenant's income \n Housing still out of reach for many even as rents fall in post-boom WA \n What to do when you can't pay the rent \n Some companies have ball pits, buffet lunches and a never-ending supply of holiday leave. Others are offering a simpler perk to help employees get by - helping to pay the rent. The US-based audiobook subscription company Audible recently made headlines when it introduced housing benefits for its employees, in the form of a housing lottery. The lottery was set up in January to lure staff to Newark in New Jersey, where Audible is based. The lottery winners would win a year's worth of free rent, provided they signed a two-year lease in a nearby housing development. In March of this year they extended the offer, promising $250 a month in rent assistance to any employees who moved to the city. They aren't the only ones. It's a tactic spearheaded overseas, particularly in the USA, with companies providing housing assistance to their employees. It can be seen at both ends of the market - in cities with high living costs, and also from companies based in "undesirable" locations. Addepar, an investment management platform, offers $300 a month in assistance for employees who live close to its offices in Mountain View, California, or Mid Town in Manhattan. Similarly Facebook, dealing with skyrocketing housing costs in California's Bay area, made headlines when in 2015 they offered employees over $US10,000 to buy or rent a house within 16 kilometres of their One Hacker Way location in Palo Alto. This approach is supported by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who earlier in 2017 called on the city's employers to help out their workers with rental deposits. Transport for London, which falls under the City Hall group, is leading by example, offering employees support via a season ticket loan scheme, an intranet service for employees looking for housing and financial support, including the Tenancy Loan Deposit Scheme. The scheme gives employees access to an interest free loan to pay for the deposit for their new rental home, with repayments deducted from their salaries, often over a 12 month period. The American coffee chain Starbucks also announced a Home Sweet Loan program for employees, which made it the first private company to bring in the Tenancy Deposit Loan Scheme. Despite cities in Australia becoming less affordable - Sydney's median price is now $1,151,565, according to Domain Group Data - these types of perks don't seem to have made it to our shores. Dr John Shields, professor of human resource management and organisational studies at the University of Sydney, said Australian employers were not particularly imaginative when it came to employee benefits. "We tend in Australia not to offer the breadth and depth of prerequisites or benefits that US organisations offer" he said, "But then we generally have higher rates of pay, and there are generally regulations about minimum rates of pay that are much more robust here than in the US." He identified Australian tax provisions - specifically fringe benefits tax, which is levied on the employer rather than the employee - as one of the main reasons employees don't tend to offer extensive employee support, such as housing. He said that benefits here were often targeted at specific demographics - young female professionals at law or accounting firms, older workers looking for pathways to retirement, or travel concessions or discounts for young millennials. In the US they are often tied into the employer's health insurance or pension packages. But working for a bank in Australia can have its advantages. Most of the big four banks have perks on offer to their employees - which can include home loans. "Westpac employees and their families are eligible for a home loan discount ranging from 0.25% to 1.55% depending on their home loan," A Westpac spokesperson said. ANZ offers its employees discounts on home loans and other forms of lending, and NAB also offers discounted financial services.