The Queensland Government has announced plans to “ensure safety and fairness” in the state’s rental market, in response to community consultation.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the response to the consultation had been massive. “It’s a sign of how strongly the community feels about renting that we’ve seen over 135,000 responses to our request for feedback through Open Doors to Renting Reform,” Minister de Brenni said.
“Through that process, we’ve identified three key areas for reform:
- Safety and security;
- Protection against domestic violence; and
- Protections if renting with pets
“We have considered evidence of some truly harrowing stories of safety issues in rental properties.”
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Member for South Brisbane Jackie Trad said that the Palaszczuk Government was looking at a comprehensive makeover of tenancy laws that will set the rules that provide certainty for tenants, landlords and property managers.
“Across Queensland, more than one in every three households rent, but in some areas like the inner city, that figure rises to three in every five,” Ms Trad said. “Tenants in my community and across Queensland are entitled to feel safe in their home, regardless of whether they own or rent.
“At the same time, we know that rental property owners need safeguards to protect their investment that provides much-needed housing for an increasing number of Queenslanders.”
Minister de Brenni said the experience of Lyn and Ken Diefenbach who have advocated for prescribed minimum housing standards after the tragic death of their granddaughter Bella, was a driving factor for reforms to Queensland’s legislation.
“No parent should have to lose their child,” Minister de Brenni said. “Regardless of where you live, every Queenslander deserves a safe, secure and sustainable place to call home. “The Palaszczuk Government will deliver lifesaving reforms that see minimum standards adhered to, that keep Queenslanders safe, healthy and happy in their homes.”
Mr de Brenni announced that the Palaszczuk Government was releasing a roadmap detailing its staged approach to ensure that the proposed laws are fair for everyone. The Government will be seeking input into a Regulatory Impact Statement over the next 6 weeks.
REIQ opposes Queensland’s rental reforms
The Real Estate Institute of Queensland has strongly opposed the state’s proposed new rental reform laws, claiming they are a “slap in the face to every day mum and dad property owners” and would “significantly damage” the Queensland rental market.
The REIQ claimed stage one of the proposal, announced last Friday by Housing Minister Mick de Brenni, would see renters struggling to find suitable housing under already tight conditions.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the reform would likely increase weekly rent from an average of $360 per week to $378, representing a 5 per cent rise.
“Under the reforms, landlords will see their fundamental rights eroded, making property investment far less appealing, and as a result, we’ll almost certainly see investment levels drop,” Ms Mercorella said.
She said the most controversial and damaging reform was the proposed abolishment of a landlord’s right to not renew a tenancy agreement at the end of its agreed term.
“This reform has been cleverly disguised by the Palaszczuk Government as the abolishment of ‘without grounds terminations or evictions’,” Ms Mercorella said.
“That description is inaccurate and misleading. Under current rental laws, landlords cannot end a fixed-term tenancy agreement before it ends unless a breach has occurred.”
In practice, this will allow a tenant to remain in a tenancy indefinitely and for as long as they want unless the landlord can establish a reason prescribed by law.
Other proposed reforms include:
• the loss of a landlord’s right to refuse pets;
• the introduction of a tenant right to make modifications to a rental property without the landlord’s consent; and
• the introduction of minimum housing standards requiring the rental property and its inclusions to meet prescribed standards and to be in a certain state of repair.
The REIQ is disappointed that landlords have been totally overlooked in this rental law review.
Queensland has one of the highest proportions of renters in Australia with more than 34 per cent of Queensland households in the rental market.
The vast majority of rental housing is provided by everyday Queenslanders, and many of those are already making a loss on their investments.
Given the significance of these reforms, we are disappointed that the Minister is offering a mere six week consultation process after waiting a year to announce these reforms.
On its face, the Government may think it is protecting tenants but in reality, we are likely to see housing supply reduce.
There will be no winners.
As a community, it’s time for us to unite and fight against these damaging and disingenuous reforms, which will negatively impact both landlords and renters.
The REIQ will be actively campaigning against the reforms via a range of avenues, including social media and other shareable channels.
For success, the campaign will rely on the active support of real estate professionals and the community at large.
In the meantime, if you disagree with these proposed rule changes make your voices heard and object to the changes by clicking here .
How you can help:
1) Visit www.rentalreforms.com.au to download shareable social media tiles, and to send an email to the Premier.
2) Read the Regulatory Impact Statement here.
3) Watch and share this video of REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella outlining her concerns about the proposed rental reforms.