Property Buzz


The latest legislative reforms proposed by the Queensland State Government have sparked remarks from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ), which argues that these changes fail to address the underlying issues in the rental market. The state government detailed plans for a range of new measures, including rent relief through financial aid, a portable bond scheme, a rental sector code of conduct, scope for making modifications to rental properties, banning of rental offers above the listed price, and capping annual rent increases to the property, not the tenancy.

Antonia Mercorella, the CEO of REIQ, expressed concern that the state government’s consistent approach of imposing legislative changes is misdirected, pointing instead to fundamental supply shortages in the property market. “For the fifth time in four years, the State Government has decided to tighten rental legislation in a way that is squeezing the life out of investing in real estate in Queensland,” she said, highlighting the administrative complexities and potential adverse consequences these reforms could introduce.

She emphasized the adequate existing laws on property modifications, suggesting that a tenant-driven ‘free-for-all’ in making such changes could result in costly implications for property owners. “Our position is that current laws governing modifications are appropriate – tenants require the consent of the property owner and the owner cannot act unreasonably – but by introducing a ‘free-for-all’, there could be costly consequences for property owners,” Mercorella mentioned, denoting that the REIQ has been collaborating with the Queensland Disability Network on a suitable framework for modifications required for accessibility purposes.

Mercorella further critiqued some legislative reforms as being superficial and inefficient. She underscored that existing laws already regulate rent bidding effectively, and these reforms might ultimately be useless if supply issues were resolved. “What this reform proposes to do, is to prevent rental applicants from offering more for a property to create a competitive edge,” she explained, advocating for a focus on supply to naturally maintain affordability.

The CEO affirmed the REIQ’s willingness to support the development of a Code of Conduct, provided it is created in close consultation with the REIQ and pulls from their Best Practice Guidelines. She also highlighted the lack of state government funding for real estate professional training as a missed opportunity for improving the sector.

Despite the critique of some reforms, Mercorella did voice strong support for the rental relief financial aid measures being put forward. She asserted that providing support to the most vulnerable in the community is crucial for housing security. “We’ve always said the focus needs to be on supporting the most vulnerable in our community and financial aid is important to ensure they are able to have a roof over their heads,” she confirmed.

Lastly, Mercorella pointed out the pressing need for increased social housing, citing a substantial waitlist and Queensland’s comparatively low spend in this area. “The Productivity Commission highlighted last year that Queensland has the lowest level of spend on social housing in the country,” she concluded, drawing attention to the social housing register’s waitlist that has surged to over 40,000.

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