The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) is calling out a questionable and concerning move by the State Government to treat rent control separately to stage two rental reforms, without the transparent legislative process that is reasonably expected.
The government has passed legislative amendments to limit rent increases to once-yearly will apply from 1 July 2023 onwards – but the transition arrangements will mean that contractually agreed rent increases after this date will also no longer be valid.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said it was absurd and questioned the legality of the retrospective nature of the new laws.
“As a property investor, you may have negotiated a rent increase that you have banked on and budgeted for and now this has been stripped away,” Ms Mercorella said.
“It’s one thing to introduce rent control from a certain date onwards, but it’s a whole other proposition to retrospectively create laws that override previously agreed contractual arrangements.”
Meanwhile, with the second stage of rental law reforms now open for public consultation, the REIQ cautioned the State Government against being heavy handed.
Ms Mercorella said that contextually this reform comes after repetitious and far-reaching rental reform, and it’s dangerous to underestimate the cumulative impact of that.
“This is not rental reform in isolation, it’s a steady stream of legislative changes – a death by a thousand cuts – that could kill off investment in Queensland,” Ms Mercorella said.
“We’ve already been through COVID-19 eviction moratoriums, and a raft of extensive stage one rental reforms that were centred around strengthening tenant’s rights.
“Then we’ve also seen rent control being sped through Parliament in the form of a cap on the frequency of rent increases, and now they’re launching into stage two rental reforms.
“This constant onslaught of legislative intervention has a cumulative effect because it’s continually watering down property investor rights along with their confidence.”
Ms Mercorella said this approach was dangerous because it fails to recognise that private investors are the group that we all heavily rely on to provide the vast majority of housing for the 1.5m people who rent their homes in Queensland.
“Our state has always had a higher rental population than the rest of the country and so maintaining adequate levels of property investment is vital to housing Queenslanders,” she said.
“As these investors decide to call it a day and either sell or withdraw their properties from our state’s rental pool, the rental crisis here will only get worse.
“When it comes to tenancy legislation, we need to achieve balance and be careful about gradually tipping the scales too far in favour of either party, so that we can provide adequate protections for tenants while keeping investors in Queensland.”
The Stage 2 Rental Law Reform Options Paper can be found here.
Public feedback is also being sought by the government here.
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Source: REIQ – Direct link here.