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MUST BE FAIR - Rental Law Reform 2021 in Queensland

Committee Secretary Community Support and Services Committee Parliament House George Street Brisbane Qld 4000 Dear Committee, On behalf of Australian Proprietors Alliance Incorporated-”APA”, an organization representing business owners, investors, entrepreneurs, property owners and landlords formed since January 2018, we write to the Committee regarding the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (Tenants' Rights) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 and the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021. While we are not against that a reform to Queensland's rental laws is needed to ensure a minimum living standard for rental properties and provide a stable rental market, any changes to the current legislation must be fair not only to tenants but also to mum and dad property investors who are investing for their own retirement while providing accommodation for those who need to rent. The property market is driven by supply and demand, private sector investments to provide more rental properties is crucial to add to the supply and stabilise rental market. Going too far with the changes will discourage investment and reduce supply while the demand for properties in Queensland continued to roar since the pandemic. We are strongly opposing the following changes proposed by the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (Tenants' Rights) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021: 1. Limit rent increases to once every 24 months and by no more than CPI per year, including if there is a period for which the property is not rented or if current tenants move out and new tenants enter on a new lease. Regulating rental increases is only going to push investors to invest in other free markets, the limiting of rental increases to once every 24 months and only by CPI is ridiculous. The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act (RTRA Act) already has provisions in place for rent increases during existing fixed term tenancy contracts, plus periodic tenancies. The tenant has ability to act and if need, apply to Tribunal (QCAT) to decide if a rent increase is excessive. (Sections 91 and 92). Section 94 allows for rent to be increased in a six month period only. For fixed term tenancy agreement contracts that are renewed and effectively enter into another fixed term contract (known as lease renewals), section 71 adequately allows for tenants to seek assistance if they believe any rent increase is excessive. There are already adequate provisions in place in the legislation without need for further regulation. 2. Remove the lessor or lessors’ agent’s ability to accept rent bids from prospective tenants. Rent bidding is an emotive, unjust, misused and unfair word. There is no evidence rent bidding occurs in the industry. The use of the word rent bidding alludes to the thought that there is a form of ‘auction’ occurring which is not the case. The RTRA Act requires rent be advertised at a fixed amount (section 57). Words such as negotiable and price ranging are prohibited. Property managers cannot encourage or solicit offers from prospective tenants. Section 57 is already a penalty unit provision. 3. Allow tenants to make minor modifications to a rental property without first obtaining the landlord’s consent. Based on our experience, any reasonable minor modifications to a rental property proposed by tenants will get landlord consent. However poor quality modifications would damage the landlord’s property and tenants may not be able to rectify the damages and return the property to original state. 4. Give tenants the right to keep a pet unless the lessor applies successfully to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“the Tribunal”) for an order refusing the pet on reasonable grounds. The provisions in the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 regarding pets are by far more practicable and reasonable than this Bill. So many additional factors must be considered for this matter such as what is included in the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill including relevant laws including local and body corporate laws. 5. Improve lease security by removing the ability for “no grounds” evictions or evictions for sale contract by the lessor, and replacing these provisions with two new grounds for a notice to leave, being: - Occupation by the property owner or the owner’s close relative - Major renovations to be made to the property - Vary minimum notice periods for a notice to leave, including: - 6 months’ notice for owner/ relative occupation and major renovations An unintended consequence which appears to not have been considered is Landlord insurance and risk. Most landlord insurance policies provide no, or limited coverage for periodic tenancies. Common practice of industry since the notice to leave without grounds provision was increased to two months in 2009 is for lessors to be contacted by their agents around 2.5 to 3 months prior to a fixed term agreement contract expiring. The only reason this best practice procedure occurs is in the event the lessor wishes for the tenancy contract to end at the end of the fixed term agreement, and the two months’ notice can be provided to the tenant. The Regulatory Impact Statement (part of the 2018/209 review) notes Queensland has some of the highest fixed term tenancy contracts in Australia. The reason this would long be the case is due to security of all parties, best practice and particularly, landlord insurance. If a tenant is offered a new agreement contract (lease renewal), and refuses to enter into a lease renewal, the tenancy reverts to a periodic. This leaves the investor in a serious position of risk due to reasons noted above; most lessor insurance policies provide limited and no coverage in the event of loss if a tenancy contract is periodic. Due to insurance and management of risk and security, tenants may be given a notice to leave without grounds if they do not wish to enter into a new tenancy agreement (leaser renewal). We have concerns in the following areas of the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021: 1. Lessors will be prevented from terminating a tenancy without grounds and required to rely on an expanded suite of specific stated grounds in the legislation to end the tenancy. While the inclusion of ‘a fixed-term tenancy agreement is due to expire’ as additional grounds to end a tenancy available to lessors is welcomed, it was always a contractual right that should be protected. Any calls to remove this basic right should be opposed by the committee. My concern is about the ending of periodic leases that were automatically reverted from fixed term leases, rather than not allowing lessors to end periodic lease without grounds, and the tenant not willing to switch back to a fixed term lease as a result, the legislation should allow the lessor to end the periodic lease without grounds with say three months notice to encourage fixed term tenancy to give certainty for both parties. Most tenants are good people, as are most investor lessors and agents. The proposed legislation is already restricting ‘retaliatory and revenge eviction’, giving an extended period of notice of three months to move should be allowed and not considered as ‘retaliatory and revenge eviction’. There are also cases where tenants are abusive and aggressive towards property managers or property owners, the ability to end the lease peacefully with sufficient notice is better than continuous and elevated dispute through the RTA and QCAT processes. Investors should always have the right to lawfully terminate a tenancy without reason. If investors comply with legislation, a lessor should have the right of possession without having to state a reason. Tenants are protected if lessors act outside the legislation. This is fair and balanced for all parties. 2. Ensure certain inclusions in regulations made regarding minimum standards for rental homes. While it is agreed that we need to ensure properties continue to be safe and fit to live in, consideration must also be given to the financial status of investors, costs, availability of contractors if and as needed. There must be more clear definition of minimum standards, for example, Section 17A (3) k, energy efficiency – will this require investors to pay thousands of dollars to make the property energy efficient? 3. Support parties to residential leases reach agreement about renting with pets. Damages by pets are of great concerns to investors, pet odour can be very costly and difficult to remove. A pet bond in addition to the standard 4 weeks rental bond should be allowed to cover the potential damages and costs from pets as sometimes a complete carpet change may be required. Having a pet bond will make the pet owning tenants more responsible as well. 4. Tenant authorised emergency repairs The cost of emergency repairs that can be authorised by the tenant will be increased from the equivalent of two weeks’ rent to the equivalent of four weeks’ rent, and property managers can arrange repairs to an amount agreed in writing with the owners. There should also be measures that allow the landlords to dispute any excessive expenditures that is more than market costs, the tenants should first attempt to use the repairers recommended by the landlords/agents rather than forcing the landlords to pay more than they have to. As a conclusion, I would prefer the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 over the ridiculous Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (Tenants' Rights) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021. However, even the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 should offer more protections and encouragements to the property investors and agents so that it is fair for both parties. Yours sincerely Committee of Australian Proprietors Alliance Incorporated (“APA”)

Published: 2021-07-10 17:27:51

"Be a good proprietor, not be a lamb"

Speakers : John Mahoney, Paul Shih, Scott Lai, Michael Choi, Ben Liu, Bill LI Topics will include, but is not limited to: Have you ever been mistreated, taken advantage of or “ripped off” like a “lamb” in Australia? What does it take to be a good proprietor here in Australia? Remember the following "three disciplines, eight attentions": (1) comply with all legal requirements; (2) ensure you have adequate insurance coverage; (3)ensure the minimum expectations of clients are always met/ achieved, learning when and how to retaliate. Following eight points to pay attention to: Maintain a healthy market and social circle, watch out for liars & swindlers & the blind & traps, bullies, dishonest people and rascals. This will be explained in the following areas: 1) Community caretaking and letting management , and management rights to buy and sell, major cases analysis; 2) Rental property management; 3) Management rights and landlord insurance; 4) Property Lab Ai; 5) Special problems during the covid-19 pandemic

Published: 2020-09-09 21:31:12

Oppose Unfair COVID 19 Renter Protection Package Urgently !

Australian Proprietors Alliance Incorporated (APA) appeals that all property owners and real estate workers stand united to oppose unfair Queensland Labor government’s proposed COVID-19 Protections for Residential Tenants and Owners (“Renter Protection Package”), safeguard our legal interest and social equity Urgently ! Our intention is to “Advance Australia Fair “, give landlords a fair go so landlords can give tenants a fair go during this coronavirus pandemic. We support the need for tenant protection during COVID-19, however, we are fundamentally opposed to some of the proposed measures. You should be too. As a landlord, you will ultimately foot the bill if the following proposals are introduced: • Your tenant/s will NOT have to pay back any rent. Put simply, a rent reduction negotiated with your tenant/s is a permanent rent waiver meaning you, as the landlord, will be out of pocket, with no means of recovering any unpaid rent in the future post COVID-19. • You CANNOT ask your tenant/s for any proof of financial hardship. Your tenant/s can request reduced rent due to COVID-19 without any proof. This potentially exposes you to false claims and exploitation of the proposed protections for those who genuinely need it. • Your Landlord Insurance will NOT cover you for rent in arrears*. The normal terms of your policy won’t cover the rent reduction as this is a mutual agreement between you, as the landlord, and your tenant and you cannot follow the necessary rent default process as this is prohibited. (*Please contact your relevant insurer for individual policy conditions) • Your tenancy agreement WILL immediately extend by 6 months if it expires during the 6 month. More than 70% of property investors owns only one investment property, and will only be required to pay land tax if the site value exceeds $600k per person or $350k per trust/company. With Brisbane median house price of less than $580k, most of the vulnerable landlords will not get a single cent from the “generous land tax waiver for 3 months and deferment if 3 months”. Only the mega wealthy landlords will get some benefits out of the whole deal. While we support the protection of tenants who are in financial distress due to this pandemic, the scope of the Renter Protection Package is too broad in its application. We are calling on Queensland Labor Government to amend the following aspects of the Renter Protection Package: • Introduce rent deferrals rather than permanent rent waiver rights for tenants. This aligns with the Federal Government model and framework adopted/being adopted in other jurisdictions; • Introduce a minimum income reduction threshold for tenants to meet before they qualify for the protection measures. In New South Wales, a 25% income reduction requirement applies; • Introduce a standard requirement for tenants to substantiate a rent reduction request to allow landlords to make properly informed and fair decisions about rent reductions; • Introduce clear guidelines on property entry requirements, and broaden the range of activities allowed to continue, subject to applicable safety and hygiene protocols; • Remove the proposed break lease right that allows tenants to simply walk away from tenancy agreements with only 1 weeks’ notice notwithstanding that those tenants are afforded all the other protections provided under the Renter Protection Package; and, APA Appeal Oppose Unfair COVID 19 Renter Protection Package Urgently ! • Remove the proposed automatic right to a 6-month tenancy agreement extension which in effect introduces a 12-month moratorium in Queensland with the consequential imposition of permanent rent waivers that would be extended over this additional period. • The state government should use some of the LandTax collected on helping the more vulnerable small landlords. • Give interest-free loan to tenants and ways for tenants to pay back at the end of the day and not let them run away. • The government should stop the banks charging higher interest rates for investors. If the rates could be the same as home loans, all investors should be happy. Now you understand how the Palaszczuk Government’s proposed Special COVID-19 Protections favour tenants at the expense of landlords. You may have more detail information please click the link REIQ CEO Explain Together we can make a difference and achieve a more balanced outcome for landlords. Whether you’re a landlord or real estate supporter, all it takes is a few simple steps for change to take place: STEP ONE: Sign our Appeal Oppose Unfair COVID 19 Renter Protection STEP TWO: Copy paste the appropriate template letter in the links provided below into an email. Template letter for landlords Template letter for real estate supporters STEP THREE: Insert your name at the end of the letter in your email. STEP FOUR: Copy and paste the following subject header into your email: Urgent Review of Special COVID-19 Residential Property Protections STEP FIVE: Copy and paste Premier Palaszczuk’s and Deputy Premier Trad’s email address into the recipient area in your email: thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au, Deputy.premier@ministerial.qld.gov.au STEP FIVE: Press send. It’s never been so simple to have your voice be heard. And because everyone matters in real estate, spread the word and encourage others to have their say and let’s all be heard together as one. Now is the time to speak up before Parliament sits on Wednesday, 22 April 2020 to introduce amendments. When we stand together, we are stronger . APA belongs to all proprietors. Your input will make APA stronger. Please Join US

Published: 2020-04-18 18:25:31

Landlord-Cover: Save Landlords From COVID-19 Urgently !

Dear Prime Minister Hon. Scott Morrison, State Premiers: 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 submit this petition – Landlord-Cover: Save Landlords From COVID-19 Urgently ! Our intention is to “Advance Australia Fair “, give landlords a fair go so landlords can give tenants a fair go during this coronavirus pandemic. We would like to address the issues landlords are facing and matters we are concerning, the issues and matters are as follows : 1. In the time of crisis, the challenges and mental stress landlords are facing is much greater than what tenants are facing. Landlords have bills - land tax, council rate, strata fee, insurance, mortgage repayments, water fee, repairs/maintenance , management fee. Just as tenants have been impacted by COVID-19 , landlords have also been affected by it and lost income, jobs, and businesses. Furthermore, many of landlords have rental properties where the rent does not cover all outgoings and negatively geared properties. 2. Many mum and dad investors can barely cover the various costs associated with owning an investment property even with rent coming in. Consideration also needs to be given to those self-funder retirees whose only source of income is derived from an investment property. So, if they don’t have rent income, they may not have any other choice but to sell their properties. It puts many at risk of bankruptcy. 3. The six-month “moratorium” on evictions where tenants are facing “financial distress” is now in place. Unfortunately, “financial distress” was not clearly defined in the package and as a result problems are rapidly emerging that have the potential to make a bad situation worse. As an economist might put it, the market has been “distorted” – and when this happens, uncertainty takes over. If rent cannot be collected then real estate agents cannot make money through commissions, which can render their job pointless. No rent means landlord cannot pay loan repayments and if loan payment cannot be paid then property owner will have no choice but to put their property on sale. If there are too many mortgage sales, the property market would collapse immediately which will cause Financial Crisis and Economic Recession. 4. Among the ideas “JobKeeper” being pushed by property representatives is a “TenantKeeper” -style package – the logic behind is that if businesses are being paid to keep employees then property owners should be paid to keep tenants. The question is why not make it fair that if tenants cannot paid their rent, the landlord should be paid by the government to keep the tenants. 5. In the commercial tenancy, government indicated retailers and landlords ‘must share the pain’ , this is causing dog-eat-dog property war, how come government not share pain with retailers and landlords ? OUR PROPOSAL We would like to propose a “Landlord-Cover: Save Landlords From COVID-19 Urgently !” scheme to the government, our proposal is as follows: 1. Fairly enough, six-month “50% discount” on council rate, six-month “holiday” on mortgage repayment, six-month “live allowance” to landlords who are facing “financial distress” 2. “rent relief package” should be paid by the government directly to landlords/agents whose tenant are unable to meet their rental obligations because of COVID-19. 3. Give interest-free loan to tenants and ways for tenants to pay back at the end of the day and not let them run away. 4. The Government should stop the banks charging higher interest rates for investors. If the rates could be the same as home loans, all investors should be happy. 5. As a landlord most rental losses should be covered by the government, and most landlords should have full support and compensation by the government because we are all in this together. 6. The government should consider a range of tax relief measures including land tax and negative gearing. APA urges the government to consider about our concerns and proposal, to protect landlords' right and safe guard landlords’ assets and investments. Yours faithfully Committee of Australian Proprietors Alliance Incorporated (“APA”)

Published: 2020-04-11 21:57:18

“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. Yours faithfully Committee of Australian Proprietors Alliance Incorporated (“APA”)

Published: 2019-12-22 11:46:49

Website Maintenance

APA website will be out of service for 12 hours on 01st of Decembers from 6.00pm.

Published: 2019-11-30 20:28:47

APA Christmas

All members and non-members are invited to the APA Christmas party which is to be held in Brisbane (Time and venue will be announced soon.

Published: 2019-11-30 20:20:34

APA Website Launch

New version of the APA website will be launched in mid December with a host of new features added to server our members and customers even better.

Published: 2019-11-30 10:27:17


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