REIQ looks forward to the Housing Summit surfacing fresh ideas to solve the state’s crippling housing crisis but says the recent suggestion from Tenants Queensland to establish a public-facing ‘landlord register’ is unjustified.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said they don’t support the establishment of a public landlord register or see how this could help the government address the housing crisis we’re facing.
“Governments, at all levels, are already aware of who and how many property owners are providing housing for Queenslanders – they certainly know how to get in touch with them because they issue relevant tax, rates notices, and other fees directly to them,” Ms Mercorella said.
“While we appreciate there’s benefits to understanding investor behaviour, there are far better ways to gain these insights without forcing lessors to publicly disclose their personal information.
“Given there are already local, state, and federal laws and regulation that govern residential tenancies and ensure people are taxed appropriately, a public landlord register is redundant.
“We’re also concerned that if a landlord register was established under the guise of informing government policy, that the motive of using it to find new ways to punish and strongarm investors into decisions around how they use their property would inevitably become apparent.”
Ms Mercorella said that it was inaccurate to suggest that tenants were in the dark about who their lessor is, and that this put them at a disadvantage.
“Tenants have access to their property owner’s or their appointed representative’s contact details via a
prescribed tenancy agreement which must be used in Queensland when entering into residential tenancy relationships,” she explained.
“This means that everyone in a tenancy relationship has the ability to communicate as and when necessary, and given the ongoing obligations between the parties, it’s in everyone’s interests to keep these lines of communication open.
“The suggestion that property owners’ personal details should be in a publicly available database flies in
the face of privacy laws and is inappropriate – just as it would be if tenants’ details and personal information was disclosed in a public register.”
She said the notion that lessors should disclose various personal details to tenants, given tenants provide information about themselves as part of a tenancy application process, was unfounded.
“We acknowledge that tenants are handing over quite extensive information about themselves securely to the property manager or lessor as part of the tenancy application process,” she said.
“However, there’s a legitimate reason for conducting reasonable due diligence, to ensure that the applicant has the financial ability to pay the rent and meet the financial obligations, and similarly, has a good rental history which speaks to their ability to care for a property.”
Finally in response to the suggestion from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) that the register would “keep rogue owners honest”, Ms Mercorella said this ignored the fact that the state already had strict and comprehensive legislation to govern tenancies.
“In Queensland, we already have a regulatory framework which stipulates the standards of rental premises and inclusions and there are enforceable consequences should these standards be breached,” she explained.