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REIQ opposes Queensland 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.

In practice, this would 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.

“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.”

According to the REIQ, 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,” said Ms Mercorella.

“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.”

Ms Mercorella said the State Government seemed to be repeating the mistakes of Federal Labor in the last election by attacking residential property investors.

“Alarmingly, these reforms go even further than tinkering with negative gearing by directly compromising the viability of property investment in Queensland.”

The REIQ and other stakeholders have expressed concerns about the timing of these reforms, which have been released just before Christmas, with minimal consultation.

“Given the significance of these reforms, we are incredibly disappointed that the Minister is offering a mere six week consultation process after waiting a year to announce these reforms,” Ms Mercorella said.

“These proposed rental reforms represent the most significant changes to tenancy laws in Queensland’s history.

“If enacted, we will see property owners lose control of their investment, incur substantial additional costs and be exposed to higher levels of risk.

“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.”

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