“APA” SUBMISSIONS – RE: RENTAL LAW REFORM IN QLD
Dear Premier Palaszczuk, Deputy Premier Trad & Minister for Housing & Public Works Mick de Brenni,
On behalf of Australian Proprietors Alliance Incorporated-”APA”, an organization representing business owners, investors, entrepreneurs, property owners and landlords formed since January 2018, we would like to express our opposition to the State Government’s proposed reforms to Queensland’s rental laws, announced by the Minister for Housing and Public Works, Mick de Brenni, on Saturday, 16 November, 2019.
While APA is not against that a reform to Queensland's rental laws is needed to ensure a minimum living standards for rental properties and provide a stable rental market, APA
strongly oppose the reforms and urge the State Government to reconsider these reforms, in particular for the following matters:
1. The abolishment of a landlord’s right to not renew a tenancy at the end of an agreed term.
APA holds the same view as REIQ in that this represents the most damaging reform of all. To create a law that effectively creates tenancies for life, making it near impossible for property owners to end a tenancy, is not only a total erosion of landlord rights, but will likely be the catalyst for owners to sell their properties, shift long-term rental properties to short term accommodation and a deterrent for potential investors.
Your law perpetuates the misconception that landlords regularly seek to evict and source new tenants. On the contrary, it is in an investor’s best interest to secure long-term, quality tenants, who pay their rent on time, and look after the property well.
2. The loss of a landlord’s right to refuse pets.
Despite only 48% of the respondents (with 79% being tenants) believing pets should be allowed without needing to ask permission from the landlords, you still proposed to force landlords to consent to pets, with limited exceptions.
In order for a property owner to establish grounds to deny consent to pet requests, a QCAT order would be required, and the threshold required to acquire the order would be almost impossible to overcome. Our member are outraged as this is unreasonable and unfair.
The proposed reforms refer to the landlord having the benefit of pet bonds, however, this is misleading. Your reforms allow an amount of money to be reserved exclusively for carpet cleaning and pest control, not really what we considered to be pet bonds. This is not sufficient to cater for the potential damage that a pet can cause to a property. Your research shows 75% says pet bonds would help landlords and tenants to reach agreement about pets, but failed to inform the respondents that the pet bonds will not cover for the higher risk of damage by pets. Do you have any idea of how to remove cat urine odour from carpets and its underlay? Sometimes the entire carpet needs to be replaced after failing to remove the smells with three professional steam clean.
3. The introduction for a tenant’s right to make modifications to a rental property without the landlord’s consent
This is a violation of property rights, what happens when the tenants fail to restore the property to its original condition and the bond will not cover for the costs? If the tenants make reasonable request for approval for modification, the property owners are generally willing to give consent if it is considered to be an improvement to the property or can be restored to original state at the cost of the tenant. However, we can already see tenants abusing this right if granted. We don’t see why the tenants should have more rights than property owners.
Your proposed reforms are really a slap in the face to everyday ‘mum and dad’ property owners who provide the majority of housing to Queensland’s renters while trying to pay off their own mortgage and provide for their own retirements. You are eroding the fundamental rights for landlords and deter property investment across the state, will negatively impact the real estate industry and the economy.
The reform would see renters struggling to find suitable housing that is already under tight conditions and landlords will pass on any additional costs to the tenants which would result in a rent rise.
The Queensland Government is the largest landlord in the state, why don’t you trial your own reforms with your own social housing and allow pets, modifications and always renew leases for a year and see how much it would cost the state?
While APA is certainly not saying ‘no’ to reforms, and agree with the intention behind modernisation of the rental laws in Queensland, the Palaszczuk Government has failed to offer a fair and balanced solution, that benefits both tenants and property owners.
APA urge your government to reconsider these damaging reforms, in favour of laws that offer safety, security and stability to landlords and tenants alike. We will only support a party that will protect landlords' right and safe guard our assets and investments.
Australian Proprietors Alliance Incorporated (“APA”)