• 21 Jan 2020
  • 4 min read
  • By Antonia Mercorella

REIQ's rental reforms campaign proves there is power in numbers

Rental Reforms, Advocacy, Owner Rights

Just after Christmas, the REIQ submitted its response to the Consultation Regulatory Statement ("RIS") - Review of the Residential Tenancies Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (Qld) ("RTRA Act") regarding the proposed rental reforms, announced in November last year.

The submission was the culmination of weeks of dedicated advocacy work by the REIQ, that received an overwhelming level of support from the real estate and broader community, who collectively sent almost 8000 letters of opposition to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

The REIQ's own survey regarding landlord views on the reforms was completed by more than 8000 property owners - an unprecedented number of respondents - who overwhelmingly agreed that many of the reforms would force them to reconsider their investment.

The response to our campaign has been unbelievable. Since the announcement, we have expressed grave concerns about the impact the proposed legislative changes would have on the stability of the rental market.

The reforms, if introduced, would in our view, erode fundamental owner rights, increase owner risk and cost, and negatively impact the appeal of property investment.

In its submission, the REIQ outlined the critical importance of any future changes to the RTRA Act striking an appropriate balance between the rights of the tenant and property owner.

The REIQ also called on the State Government to conduct a review of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) ("QCAT Act") alongside its review of residential tenancies laws.

Our position on the five key proposed reforms in the RIS, detailed within the submission, is outlined below:

1. We absolutely reject the proposed abolishment of an owner's right to terminate a tenancy on a without grounds basis.

2. We reject the proposed recommendation requiring owners to consent to pets unless they can establish reasonable grounds. We support the introduction of risk mitigation measures and incentives to encourage owners pet ownership in rental properties. For example, the introduction of pet bonds and higher rents.

3. We do not support the minor modification reforms proposed in the RIS. We support the introduction of changes relating to minor modifications requests pertaining only to safety, health, accessibility and basic telecommunications subject to the development of an appropriate definition of minor modifications and the implementation of an owner approval process.

4. We do not support the minimum housing standards reforms proposed in the RIS. We support the introduction of minimum housing standards for matters related relating to health, safety and security subject to the development of the scope and nature of the standards.

5. We do not support the domestic and family violence reforms proposed in the RIS. We do however, support the introduction of additional security and safety measures for domestic and family violence victims and the introduction of a more streamlined system to allow them to end a tenancy early.

The support of the REIQ's members and affiliates was instrumental in the success of the campaign.

We were overwhelmed by the response of the real estate community, who helped the REIQ make a real impact, prompting the Minister of Housing and Public Works to attend a town hall meeting hosted by us.

Your voices have been heard and we will continue to advocate for fair and balanced rental reforms.

Of course, this level of success would not be possible without the collective efforts of the REIQ's membership base.

It is during times like these that the importance of an industry peak body becomes apparent. Our rental reforms campaign demonstrates that there is power in numbers.

So if you know a real estate professional who isn't a member of the REIQ, we urge you to encourage them to join our membership, and be part of an organisation that seeks to make a real difference to the real estate sector.

To our current members, we thank you for your support on this critically important issue.

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