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Crackdown on rental black market: REIQ urges for swift action against illegal practices


The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) has called for urgent action to address the emergence of a rental black market, where properties such as backyards, garages, and storage spaces are being inappropriately advertised for people to live in. Amidst the ongoing rental crisis in Queensland, the REIQ’s focus is on the welfare and safety of the community.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella expressed her concerns about such practices, noting that “it is highly disturbing to see reports that backyards, garages and storage spaces are being advertised for rent for people to reside in.” Mercorella highlighted the need to see “the full force of the law coming down on these opportunistic people” and stressed the importance of stopping these “grossly substandard ‘sites for rent’.”

A large majority, around 87.6%, of rental properties are managed by professional property managers. However, Mercorella marked the existence of a minor self-managed group of lessors and raised concerns about many others who may not be adhering to regulations. Addressing the professional standards required by law, Mercorella revealed that “real estate professionals are required by law to understand and comply with a raft of ever-changing and complex legislation and they take this responsibility very seriously.” These professionals are well versed in the tenancy agreements and housing standards, a knowledge gap that might be all the more apparent among those unlawfully renting out inadequate spaces.

In light of this issue, Mercoreella insisted it was “also a timely opportunity for the Government to raise the bar for qualifications to be a real estate professional” and to overhaul the sector’s education providers. She criticized the mass production of real estate diplomas by certain education providers and called for “urgent action to stop diploma factories.”

Beyond education, Mercorella underscored the necessity for ongoing education of real estate professionals, stating that “it’s also important that the ongoing education of real estate professionals is addressed with the long-overdue introduction of quality mandatory continuing professional development (CPD).”

Finally, she alarmingly pointed out the social housing crisis reflected by the situation, where desperate Queenslanders are resorting to private backyards for shelter. “The chronic social housing underspend over the past decade is being laid bare – none of us wants to see people living in tents or sleeping in cars but that is the harsh reality before us,” Mercorella said.

Mercorella’s last remark highlighted the severity of the issue: “Only 270 social houses were completed in our state last year, compared to a growing social housing waitlist of more than 43,000 Queenslanders. Vulnerable people who are desperate for shelter, safety and security have been left to make impossible choices.”

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