REIQ: Latest law reforms could lead to Qld investor exodus

By Kyle Robbins 08 July 2022 | 1 minute read

New Queensland rental legislative reforms could have a damaging impact on the industry, according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).

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The Housing Legislation Amendment Act 2021 will implement a string of changes to the way the sector is run and managed. 

The reforms, which come into effect from 1 October 2022, include the removal of the right for property owners to end a periodic tenancy simply by providing notice, a move that could result in the extinction of these tenancy types, according to REIQ chief executive officer Antonia Mercorella.

“When these laws were passed, we warned they could effectively spell the end of periodic tenancies in Queensland,” Ms Mercorella outlined.

“We wouldn’t be surprised if periodic leases become extremely rare if not extinct in Queensland, which is a shame given the flexibility it offers both tenants and lessors.”

As part of a push from the REIQ to prepare property managers for these reforms, Ms Mercorella has advised property managers “to start talking to their clients now about the risk of a ‘never-ending tenancy’ if they don’t transition periodic tenancies to fixed-term tenancies ahead of the new laws”.

She has also warned property managers to plan for an increase in the number of tenants seeking approval for pets, given the legislative changes have restricted owners to only denying pets if they can establish prescribed grounds.

While she acknowledges that pets can at times be an extension of the family, Ms Mercorella stated that “not all property owners feel comfortable with the potential risk of pet damage to their property and its value”.

“Previously, property owners could choose to simply say ‘no’ to pets in their property, but with these new laws, property owners will have limited grounds to refuse a pet request,” she said.

Despite the silver lining of these changes, which afford property owners “the ability to impose certain conditions in relation to the approval of a pet in their property, and be able to seek compensation for damage caused”, she is alert to the potential shrinking of the rental pool should investors tap out due to these new rules.

“The unfortunate reality is that for some, this will take the shine out of investing in Queensland property,” she said, adding that despite the appeal Queensland presents investors, the more property owners’ choices were restricted, the less attractive the SunshineSunshine, NSW Sunshine, VIC State becomes. 

“While some property investors may have made the decision to sell in anticipation of the new laws being introduced, it’s concerning to think what the aftermath could be once the laws are in operation.”

Ms Mercorella hopes the Palaszczuk government has identified how heavy-handed legislative reform “disrupts the delicate balance of contractual rights between tenants and property owners”, which, in turn, “can have unintended consequences for the entire rental market”.

“We can only hope the state government is paying close attention to the impacts of these new laws, before they launch into the controversial phase two of rental reforms flagged for this year,” she said.

She concluded by expressing that while there does need to be protection available to tenants, “finding the right balance is important, because we do heavily rely on private investors when it comes to housing Queenslanders”.

The new legislation will also introduce provisions that remove the ability for property owners to end tenancies without grounds and implement protections for tenants experiencing domestic and family violence, providing them streamline termination rights as well as establishing additional approved reasons for lessors and tenants to end a tenancy.

In response to the Queensland government’s rental reforms, the REIQ has indicated that it will be providing comprehensive and practical training centred around the new tenancy laws to property managers and principals across the state.

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REIQ: Latest law reforms could lead to Qld investor exodus
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