State Government misses the mark on housing crisis
A recent survey conducted by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) showed that 80 per cent of landlords were considering selling their investment properties due to the threat of further rent reforms by the State Labor Government.
In October 2021, the Palaszczuk Government passed Stage 1 of the rental law reforms which introduced a swag of tenant protections. The most significant of the changes included ending without grounds evictions, strengthening renter protections against eviction and rent increases, allowing more renters to have pets and allowing renters experiencing domestic and family violence the right to end their interest in a tenancy without liability for costs. The last of the Stage 1 reforms will be implemented in September 2024.
The next phase of rental reforms, Stage 2, is aimed at allowing tenants greater ability to install modifications and make personalised changes to rental properties, improving tenant privacy while reducing owner access and changes to the rental bond process. Consultation closed on Stage 2 of the rental reforms on 29 May 2023.
Kody Dart, of Belle Property Townsville, said his agency was definitely hearing a lot of noise from current owners and investors that have decided owning a rental property may not be in their best interest in the future.
“Off the back of covid, rate rises in both councils and banks, and the loss of decision making on their own properties people are no longer feeling confident investing in properties,” he said.
“Whilst our agency agrees that there needs to be better protection for tenants in terms of living standards and maintenance, some of the significant changes mentioned above will undoubtedly see mum and dad investors leave the market and sell their homes putting greater pressure on the rental housing market.
“Even on a personal level, it gives me doubts to invest in properties knowing that this legislation will take the ability away to manage my own property, which can ultimately affect its value.
“At the moment we are seeing 20-30 applications on a single property in all rental ranges, not just low income. This pressure will only increase as more investors are forced out of the market due to legislation they deem is taking away their control as a homeowner for the comfort and security of a person renting.”
REIQ CEO, Antonia Mercorella, said Queensland’s rental housing supply had considerably diminished, and whilst the reasons for this were varied, it was evident that legislative reform has had a material impact.
“As shown by a recent Property Investor Survey conducted by the REIQ, lessors are concerned by the ongoing erosion of their contractual and statutory rights and they are, in the majority of cases, opposed to Stage 2 rental reforms,” Ms Mercorella said.
“The gradual erosion of lessor rights and asset control increases the risk of withdrawal of investment housing from the property market – and that means even less homes for Queenslanders who rent.”
Hinchinbrook MP and KAP Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto said the Government had simply missed the mark when it came to alleviating pressure in the housing and rental markets.
“Pushing forward with the next stage of rental reforms demonstrates just how out of touch the Government is with the housing crisis,” he said.
“I see announcements from the State Government almost on the daily about new social housing projects but once again they have missed the point and are focused solely on low-income earners.
“Do they honestly think that only low-income earners are at risk of homelessness? They really need to read the room.
“There is nothing in the Federal Budget to assist working-class Australians and sadly it looks to be going the same way when the State budget is revealed in the next few weeks.
“Middle-income earners are also struggling with the rising costs of living, specifically sky rocketing electricity prices, insurance costs and interest rates, yet they are expected to absorb all of that with no assistance.
“People are stuck on the rental merry-go-round unable to get into their first home and struggling mum and dad investors are considering selling their rental properties. The housing crisis would ease significantly if those people were given a leg up for once.”
KAP has repeatedly called on the State Government to expand the First Home Buyers Grant to apply to existing homes, including those that are not brand new or significantly renovated, that are outside of metropolitan areas.
“If the Government can’t deliver a broader First Home Buyers Grant in this year’s budget, then hitting the pause button on the next wave of rental reforms is a cheap way for the Government to ensure more properties remain in the rental pool,” Mr Dametto said.
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