The Queensland government’s decision to freeze residential evictions for six months and cancel rent arrears has been criticised by the CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland for placing the burden on property owners.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the new measures don’t offer a balance between tenants and property owners.
The government has also put a moratorium on renters amassing rental debt during the period of their rent reduction arrangement. However, property owners don’t have the same relief on their payments.
Former Liberal Queensland premier and current chair of property company Arcana Capital, Campbell Newman, lashed out at the Palaszczuk Labour government’s measures in a post on Twitter.
He said the housing minister’s “Code of Conduct is bad policy, one sided, poorly thought through & would sit comfortably in Venezuela.”
Impact on InvestorsQueensland landlord Sally said she would never want to evict someone and made an agreement with a tenant who had asked for a rent reduction from $240 to $150 (US$152 to $95) per week.
“We feel a bit like we don’t really know what’s there for us because those announcements are made to protect the tenants,” she told The Epoch Times.
The indication from Sally’s bank—Westpac—was that should she put a hold on her repayments, the bank would capitalize on the interest and add it to the principal (total balance).
“But we can’t afford to not pay the mortgages because we can’t afford to capitalise on the interest on those properties,” she said.
REIQ said that while rental tenants should not be left without a place to live during the fight against COVID-19, property owners are being made to pick up the tab under the state government’s proposals.
Rent MeasuresThe measures set out by the Department of Housing and Public Works required a mandatory conciliation between tenants and landlords who can’t come to a rent reduction agreement on their own.
Housing Minister Mick de Brenni has been empowered to set out principles for working out a new payable rent that is fair and reasonable and in proportion to what the tenant can afford.
That means that if a tenant has lost 75 percent of their income, their rent should be reduced a proportionate 75 percent. But while tenants have their debts canceled by the government, landlords don’t receive the same waivers for repayments from their banks.
“So while the banks are sort of saying, ‘Yes we’ll help,’ and the government is saying, ‘You can’t evict, you can’t do this, you can’t that’ ... It’ll be things like the body corporate and the [local council] rates that will probably get set aside and not paid for a while,” said Sally.
Amendments will be introduced to Queensland’s Parliament after Easter.